Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks – Game #16

The San Antonio Spurs (8-7) will look to rebound from a disappointing performance when they take on the Dallas Mavericks (7-7) tonight in the AT&T Center. The Spurs were blown out by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday by a final count of 121-99. San Antonio trailed early and often and the vast majority of their players underperformed.

Prior to the game against the Warriors, the Spurs had been playing outstanding basketball on the road. With tonight’s game at home, San Antonio will be looking to improve upon their 2-4 record in the AT&T Center.

The Mavericks snapped a three-game losing streak with a win in their last outing, a 124-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Dallas got 27 points, 13 rebounds and four assists from Kristaps Porzingis, while Luka Doncic posted a triple-double of 13 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Mavs are 2-2 at home and 5-5 on the road, so like most teams in the league this year, they’re playing as if homecourt advantage means nothing in these pandemic times.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

The Spurs got some good news on the injury front. Quinndary Weatherspoon, who has been out all season after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason, is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Luka Samanic, who has been out recently with a sore throat, has been removed from the injury report completely.

Samanic isn’t part of the rotation and is unlikely to play for the Spurs in a non-blowout situation, however Weatherspoon could possibly see action. He was in the rotation in the NBA restart bubble in Orlando, so head coach Gregg Popovich should be comfortable with what he brings to the team. Don’t expect Weatherspoon to be in the rotation right away but he could instantly become the team’s 10th or 11th man and step in if, for example, a perimeter player gets in foul trouble.

Three-Point Shooting Update for the Spurs

The story was told often last season about how the Spurs were last in the league in three-pointers attempted per possession. A year ago, they shot 28.0 three-pointers per 100 possessions. They hit 37.6% of their three-point attempts, which was the fourth best mark in the NBA.

This season, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is the Spurs are now shooting 30.5 three-pointers per 100 possessions. San Antonio is no longer in last place in that category, as there are currently four teams in the league who shoot fewer three-pointers than the Spurs on a per-possession basis. Percentage-wise, the Spurs aren’t as accurate as they were last season. They’re hitting 35.3% of their threes, which ranks 19th in the league. Their 4-for-34 showing last game obviously didn’t help matters.

Spurs vs. Mavs – How the Spurs Can Win

Doncic, the Mavericks 21-year-old superstar, is an MVP candidate for a reason. He’s averaging 26.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists in 34.8 minutes per game. For the Spurs to do well, they’ll need to slow him down.

Last year, Derrick White spent a lot of time defending Doncic. But with White still sidelined with a fractured toe, someone else will need to step up. Possible candidates include Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray. Most likely, the Spurs will throw multiple defenders at Doncic, as that’s how they’ve been guarding star players this season.