The San Antonio Spurs are in the midst of their best month of the season, can they keep it going tonight as they travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks?
As long as the San Antonio Spurs continue to have an underwhelming season we will keep finding silver linings to focus on. Today we’re highlighting the Spurs month of December, particularly their performance on the road.
The San Antonio Spurs are 5-4 on the month, their best stretch of basketball so far. They’ve also got a very winnable stretch of games to close out the decade. After facing the Dallas Mavericks they take on the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors. They won’t get above .500 before the decade is done but they could be back in the playoff picture.
Last time the Spurs faced Dallas they were flambeed, decimated, Thanos snapped, pick whichever term you like most, by Luka Doncic. Simply put, he was masterful in the first game against San Antonio. His 42 point, 12 assist, 11 rebound triple-double was one of his best performances in a season that has been nothing short of spectacular for the sophomore MVP candidate.
Doncic is working his way back from an ankle injury that has held him out of the past four games and is listed as day to day. He did get a full practice on Christmas Eve and could potentially give it a go tonight.
You never want to see a player get hurt and ankle injuries can be particularly nagging. Holding Luka out another game to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy is probably in the best interest of both the Mavericks and the Spurs.
Regardless of whether Doncic plays or not, the Spurs strategy for beating the Mavericks should be similar to the one they employed on Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies. And by “strategy” I mean “DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge should both have one of their best games of the season.”
DeRozan hit 90 percent of his shots and Aldridge put together his best game of the season the last time we saw the Spurs play. You can’t really ask DeRozan to repeat his performance but Aldridge can go for it. He was very aggressive in the game against the Grizzlies, that’s the kind of Aldridge that the Spurs need to have every night.
The San Antonio Spurs are 7-3 in the 10 games where LaMarcus has put up 17 or more field goal attempts. Even in the games that he’s not making a lot of his shots his aggression and willingness to take go after his own shot are positives for the Spurs.
Even as he ages he’s still a deadly low-post scorer who is more than capable of winning a one on one matchup more often than not. That’s going to force the defense to throw an extra man at Aldridge to force him to pass out of a double team. No worry, Aldridge is a good passer who can find an open shooter for a clear look. Building open three-point looks and cuts off of Aldridge post-ups is something the Spurs should do early and often tonight.
Gameday bets and prediction
Spread: San Antonio Spurs +5.5
All betting information courtesy of The Action Network.
Tonight’s game is largely dependant on whether or not the Dallas Mavericks decide that Doncic is ready to give it a go. If he plays the odds of San Antonio covering the spread, let alone winning the game, decrease significantly.
Even if he does play, the Spurs should be able to find some success by feeding Aldridge early and often. Kristaps Porzingis is a good rim protector but I’d still like to see Aldridge use his strength and deep bag of post moves to go at him. It’ll help set the tone and open up other areas for the Spurs offense as the game goes along.
It’ll be a close one, games with the Mavericks usually are, but the Spurs should feel good coming into this one. They’ve been playing better basketball as of late and have a good chance of coming away with a win tonight.
A win tonight is exactly what the Spurs need to help them come into the next decade on a high note. With their upcoming games against the Pistons and Warriors both taking place in the safe confines of the AT&T Center the Spurs can enter 2020 on a nice little win streak if they’re able to take care of business tonight.