Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks – Game #82

The San Antonio Spurs have reached the final game of the 2022-23 season with a record of 21-60. In their last contest of the campaign, the Spurs travel to Dallas to take on a tanking Mavericks squad. Like the Spurs, the Mavs missed the playoffs this season.

Coming into this season, it was widely expected that the Spurs would struggle. The Mavs failing to make the postseason was a surprise, though. Last season, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals. At 38-43, the Mavs weren’t even able to advance to the play-in tournament this season.

San Antonio Spurs Draft Positioning

The Spurs and the Houston Rockets enter the last day of the regular season with identical records. The best case scenario for San Antonio is that the Rockets beat the Washington Wizards and the Mavericks beat the Spurs. If that happens, the Spurs will draft no lower than sixth overall in the first round. In the second round, the Spurs would have the 32nd overall selection.

The Rockets are going against a Wizards team that is sitting all of their main players. For that reason, Houston is actually favored to beat Washington.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

It’s safe to predict that the Spurs will sit a bunch of players. Last night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Spurs were without Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Devonte’ Graham and Doug McDermott. Expect all of those players to sit again versus the Mavericks.

Considering that the Spurs will have had less than 24 hours to rest since the end of the Timberwolves game, head coach Gregg Popovich may even opt to sit Tre Jones.

Dallas Mavericks Injury Update

The Mavs aren’t being shy about their intention to tank the final few regular season games. In fact, they may actually be in trouble for blatantly tanking.

Versus the Spurs, the Mavs will sit Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the team’s top two players. Also sitting will be Tim Hardway Jr, Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber and Josh Green. For draft-related reasons, the Mavs want to lose to the Spurs — and that is clear as day when looking at which of their players will be sidelined.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

Against the Timberwolves, the Spurs started Tre Jones at point guard, Malaki Branham at shooting guard, Julian Champagnie at small forward, Keita Bates-Diop at power forward and Sandro Mamukelashvili at center. Expect head coach Gregg Popovich to start a similar lineup in the matchup versus the Mavs.

If Jones sits, as speculated above, don’t be surprised if Blake Wesley is elevated to the starting point guard role. The other option to fill in for Jones would be Romeo Langford. In that situation, Branham would shift to point guard.

Betting Guide: Spurs at Mavericks

The Mavericks are actually favored by four points despite Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and company sitting out this game. That’s because the Spurs are also short-handed and the fact that Dallas will be playing in front of their home fans.

Considering that the Mavs have been so blatant about trying to tank, the smart money is on the Spurs. San Antonio doesn’t have a lot of healthy talent but they can beat a team that is actively trying to lose.