In the Weekly Preview, we’ll take a look at the upcoming contests for the San Antonio Spurs. This week, the Spurs take on the Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic.
After a pair of great wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz, the San Antonio Spurs were drubbed by Oklahoma City in the rematch, 131-103. The Rodeo Road Trip is officially over, with the Spurs finishing 2-6 on their annual trip. San Antonio will be home this week for contests against the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic. They remain three and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
Wednesday, February 26, 7:30 PM CT
The Dallas Mavericks had been exceeding expectations this season, thanks largely to the meteoric rise of Luka Doncic. However, they have dropped four of their last eight games, including a controversial 111-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavericks have filed a protest due to a made basket from a botched goal-tending call. Should the NBA call for the final 9.7 seconds to be replayed, it would mark the first NBA replay since 2007 — which, ironically, also featured the Mavs and Hawks.
While the Mavs have been struggling lately, Tim Hardaway Jr. has done his best to remedy the situation. He is averaging 24.8 points in his last five games on 55.8% shooting from the floor. He is also hitting 4.4 threes per game at a 47.8% clip. While he was never known as an accurate three-point shooter during his days with the Knicks, Hardaway seems rejuvenated since joining the Mavs via trade.
The Spurs and Mavs have had a historic rivalry in the last couple of decades. You can always expect a closely contested battle between these two squads, no matter each team’s respective win-loss records. This game shouldn’t be any different.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic
Saturday, February 29, 7:30 PM CT
Last Meeting: Magic 111, Spurs 109
The Spurs will be looking to avenge their narrow loss to the Magic back in November. Orlando is just 3-7 in their last ten games and 9-18 on the road. Despite being eight games under .500, the Magic are still the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Markelle Fultz has been making a good impression in Orlando since being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal that included former Spurs player Jonathon Simmons last year. He is averaging a career-high in points (11.9) and assists (5.0). In their recent game against the Mavericks, Fultz had 14 points and a team-best nine assists. His playmaking has a been a big positive for a team that often struggles to score.
The Magic are dead last in field goal percentage (43.3%) and second from last in pace (97.7). Orlando is chasing the Brooklyn Nets for the seventh seed, as they’d want to avoid the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. To aid their chase, the Magic have the fourth easiest remaining schedule (the Spurs, by the way, have the seventh easiest schedule).
San Antonio got very sloppy in their loss to Orlando, blowing a lead in the final minute. They’ll need to concentrate much more if they want to have any hope of staying in the hunt for the eighth seed. While that chance took a hit with a loss to the Thunder, the Spurs have to bounce back and take care of both home contests this week. Every game from here on out must be played like a playoff game.