NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 26th
(All times Eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (22-7) at Dallas Mavericks (16-12), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs will try to put a disappointing
Christmas night loss behind them Thursday when they visit American Airlines
Center to meet the Dallas Mavericks.
The Spurs fell to the Houston Rockets, 111-98, at home Wednesday night.
"We just didn't give very good performances," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"You can live with that from time-to-time. Nobody's going to play perfect
every night. But you can't combine poor performances with a lack of
physicality and a lack of discipline. They whipped us. They whipped us good.
That's an embarrassing loss."
The Spurs only shot 40.7 percent from the field on Wednesday and allowed the
Rockets to go 52 percent from the floor. Houston went for 40 points in the
first quarter, and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first
time a Popovich-coached team allowed 40-plus points in the first quarter at
Manu Ginobili was sensational with 22 points off the bench as every San
Antonio player who played on Wednesday, scored. Kawhi Leonard (13) and Tim
Duncan (11) were the only other Spurs in double figures. Duncan grabbed 14
rebounds and recorded six blocks.
Noticeably absent from the scoring leaders was Tony Parker. The former All-
Star guard finished with six points, which was his second single-digit scoring
night in the last four games.
The Spurs will take on a long-time rival and fellow Southwest Division foe.
The Mavs ended a two-game losing streak on Monday with a 111-104 road victory
over those same Rockets.
Dallas used a dominant third quarter (36-21) to take an eight-point lead into
the final frame. The Mavs closed it out and did so on the broad shoulders of
their future Hall of Famer.
Dirk Nowitzki netted 31 points and moved into sole possession of 13th place on
the NBA's all-time scoring list. He passed Alex English when he knocked down a
jumper at the 11:09 mark of the third quarter.
"Alex was an unbelievable player in this league, so it was a tremendous honor,
but I'm actually more happy with this win," Nowitzki said.
Monta Ellis had 18 points, five assists and five rebounds for Dallas, followed
by 16 off the bench for Vince Carter. Jose Calderon managed 15 points and Jae
Crowder added 11 for the Mavs.
The Mavericks hit the road for three straight, starting Saturday night in
The Spurs have won five straight against their Texas rival, including a season
sweep of four games last season. San Antonio has taken two straight and four
of six in Dallas.
12/26 10:27:23 ET