Shootaround report: Mavs look to avenge December losses to Spurs
Shootaround report: Spurs (34-11) at Mavericks (18-24)
Mavs look to avenge December losses to Spurs
After two double-digit losses to the Spurs back in December, the Mavericks (18-24) will try to feast on the streaking and short-handed Spurs (34-11) with both Duncan (sore left knee) and Popovich (sickness) back in San Antonio. And after seeing the Spurs’ role players go for big nights in each of the first two meetings, Carlisle stressed to his team the importance of not taking the visiting team lightly if the Mavs are to end San Antonio’s six-game winning streak.
“It’s hard no matter what,” Carlisle said after the Mavs’ Friday morning shootaround. “You know, they’re a great team and they thrive on having situations were guys sit out games with injuries, people have letdowns and they come out and kick [tail]. I mean, it’s happened to us multiple times over the years and we’ve got to have an awful lot of respect for whoever they put on the court, because they always play.”
The Spurs lit the nets on fire back on Dec. 23 while setting a franchise record with 20 made 3-pointers against the Mavs in a 129-91 home rout, before traveling to Dallas one week later and sprinting to a 111-86 blowout. But after winning five of their last six games, the Mavericks are a much different team, according to four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion. And with the Spurs minus their ageless veteran big man and long-time playcaller, the Mavericks will try to showcase their improved play in front of a nationally-televised audience after taking four days away from game action following Sunday’s 111-105 victory in Orlando.
“Right now, you know, I think we’re definitely playing a little better basketball than we were at the time,” Marion explained while looking back to those two December losses. “Everybody is getting more comfortable in certain areas and we’re recognizing things at both ends of the floor. With that recognition, I think we’ll be able to go out here and we’ve got to take them out of the things they want to do. They’re gonna have to beat us tonight.”
“Right now, that’s in the past. You know, we’ve got to look at tonight,” Carlisle added. “We’ve had some days to work on some things. It’s been a long break, so we’ve got to be ready to have an edge when we step out on the court tonight. Every game is huge for us. You know, every game is an opportunity to keep climbing out of the hole that we’ve been in and each minute is going to be critical.”
Note: The Mavericks will return to action Friday night at home against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs lead the season series 2-0 after two double-digit wins back in December. The game will air locally at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.