Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks – Game #51

The San Antonio Spurs will attempt to stop their five-game slide tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. After three straight wins on the road, the Spurs have followed that up by going 2-10 in their last 12 games.

The Mavericks have been streaking the other way recently. They’ve won six of their last seven games, including notable wins over the Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics.

Before San Antonio’s tumble down the standings, they were the seventh seed and the Mavs were the eighth seed. Now, the Spurs are the ninth seed with a record of 24-26. Dallas, at 29-22, is currently the seventh seed.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

Lonnie Walker IV returned last game after missing a series of contests due to a wrist injury. Walker played well against the Denver Nuggets.

Keita Bates-Diop will be in uniform tonight. He hurt his hamstring about a month ago in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s unlikely that Bates-Diop will be the rotation but he has proven to be someone who can buy minutes when needed.

Gorgui Dieng is still sidelined with the shoulder injury he originally hurt in his Spurs debut. With Dieng out, expect Drew Eubanks to be the team’s backup center.

Trey Lyles hurt his ankle during practice recently and he will miss tonight’s game. With Lyles unavailable, that moves forward Luka Samanic one spot higher in the pecking order.

More Exhaustion Ahead for the Spurs

San Antonio faces yet another difficult stretch in their schedule. Starting tonight, the Spurs have five games in seven nights. To make matters even more difficult, the Spurs will have to travel to a different city for each game.

The only home game during that stretch is Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. However, with three road games before that game and two road games right after that game, the Silver and Black won’t even have time to unpack.

Luka Doncic Improving for the Mavericks

At age 22, Luka Doncic is already a superstar. The scary thing for the rest of the league is he continues to get better.

Heading into this season, Doncic was a sub par three-point shooter. He shot 32.7% from deep as a rookie and 31.6% as a sophomore. This season, however, has been a completely different story, as Doncic is hitting 37.0% from three-point range. Since the All-Star break, he has been shooting a sizzling 39.1% on threes.

For the Spurs to have a shot tonight, they’ll need to limit Doncic’s shots from all over the court. No longer can you give him space from beyond the three-point arc. Expect Derrick White and Dejounte Murray to spend time defending Dallas’ superstar.