San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Preview
In a Southwest Division rivalry game, the Dallas Mavericks host the San Antonio Spurs tonight on national television. All signs are pointing to Luka Doncic returning to the court tonight, which makes a huge impact on this game, considering the way he was playing prior to being sidelined.
The Spurs and Mavs have already squared off once this season, back on November 18. In the game, Dallas won 117-110 as Doncic went off with a triple-double of 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. DeMar DeRozan paced San Antonio with 36 points and four assists, but it wasn’t enough against Luka and Co.
The Mavs are currently fifth in the Western Conference with a 19-10 record. They lost their most recent game, are 6-5 in their last 10 and are 8-7 at home. The Spurs needed a win badly before Christmas and they got it, placing them one full game behind the eighth-place Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference. They are 12-17 on the season, are 6-4 in their last 10 games, but have struggled on the road with a 4-9 record.
Time: 8 PM ET
Arena: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Spurs: No injuries
Mavericks: Luka Doncic (P)
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
The San Antonio Spurs this season have been a display of inconsistency. On some days they look like they can compete with anyone in the West and on others, the effort and fire aren’t there and they drop games to teams you would expect them to blow out. Take for example their record recently.
They lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime, then beat the Phoenix Suns in OT in Mexico City, get within two points of toppling the Houston Rockets, blow out the Brooklyn Nets, lose by 25 to the Los Angeles Clippers and then dominate the Memphis Grizzlies by 30 points.
The effort against the Grizzlies was a welcome sight, but it came against a team they probably should have beat. Still, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich liked the reaction from his team after the Clippers’ loss.
“(LaMarcus) and DeMar led the way. It was great to see the whole team jump in,” Popovich said. “We had a bad game last game. This is the way you react to something like that.”
Aldridge seemed to wake up from whatever slumber he had been in and finished with 40 points against Memphis. DeRozan added 26 points and 10 assists, looking a lot more like the DeRozan of last season. Trey Lyles, who got the start, and Dejounte Murray also reached double figures in scoring with 17 and 14 points apiece.
Tonight against Luke and the rest of the Mavs, the Spurs will need to see more of the same as they saw in their pre-Christmas game.
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
Before being injured, Luke Doncic was on an impressive pace, looking like a legitimate MVP candidate and making SportsCenter highlight plays every night. There was likely some concern that without Doncic, the Mavs would drop a ton of games, but Kristaps Porzingis helped the team stay afloat as they waited for his return.
Now it appears as it’s time for the young guard to return, and although the Mavs haven’t officially given word that he’s playing, it’s looking more and more like that will be the case, and it also is clear Doncic is itching to get back on the court.
“I’m feeling good,” Doncic said. “A lot of things that we have to do, and we’re just taking care of it. We’ll see how it progresses. I just want to go back on the court to play, because I’m competitive. I just wanted it to get better quick, get back as soon as possible.”
In their last game back on December 22, the Mavs seemed on their way to collecting a win against the Toronto Raptors, but the Raptors showed their championship mettle and rallied for a 47-point fourth quarter, outscoring Dallas by 26 in that final stanza to come away with the 110-107 win.
The Mavericks got strong play from their starters, but the second unit struggled to score, while Toronto’s bench went on a scoring spree. Porzingis led Dallas with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jalen Brunson had 21 points and nine assists and Dwight Powell added 17 points.
Key Player Matchups
Luka Doncic vs. Dejounte Murray
Doncic and Murray are both exciting, young players, but they have completely different skillsets. They are both capable of distributing the basketball, although Murray isn’t quite yet the maestro Doncic is. Doncic is the better scorer, but Murray’s value comes on the defensive end and his ability to outrebound players who tower over him. Just as Murray took his matchup with Ja Morant as a challenge, he’ll likely see the same tonight, but Doncic is a different kind of beast altogether.
Kristaps Porzingis vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
Porzingis was steady and consistent and even seemed to come into his own a bit with Luka sidelined. We all know what he’s capable offensively. Aldridge is coming off a big game, but the question will be whether or not he can replicate that performance against a step up in competition.
Luka Doncic and LaMarcus Aldridge are fantasy standouts for tonight’s game. Doncic is available for $10.5k on FanDuel and he has a fantasy points projection of 53.02 points. Aldridge has a salary of $7.4k with a projection of 38.77 points.
If you’re looking for a value player to round out your lineup, Dejounte Murray is available for just $5.9k with a projection of 27.07 points. Dwight Powell is another good option at just $4.4k for 22.76 fantasy points.
Bet on Matchup
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