San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview (2/23/23): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

The injured San Antonio Spurs (14-45) emerge from the All-Star break with a matchup against the revamped Dallas Mavericks (31-29). Devin Vassell and Romeo Langford are out for the Spurs, point guard Tre Jones is doubtful, and Jeremy Sochan remains questionable. On the other side, the Mavericks will only be without bench forwards Maxi Kleber and Davis Bertans.

Can the Spurs keep it remotely close? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks Betting Odds

The Mavericks are rightfully a massive favorite here as the spread is -13.5. For San Antonio’s +700 moneyline to be profitable long-term, the Spurs must win this matchup at least 13% of the time. It’s worth noting that the Spurs are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings, but the talent disparity has never been this large.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks Prediction

Although -13.5 is an exceptionally large number, I’m taking the Mavericks to cover here.

San Antonio currently owns the worst Defensive Rating in NBA history, and they just traded away their best defender Jakob Poeltl at the deadline. Outside of rookie Jeremy Sochan (who is questionable), San Antonio won’t have a single solid defender to throw at Dallas. The Spurs are starting rookie Malaki Branham at point guard, and he’s arguably been the worst defender in the entire league.

He faces a Mavericks backcourt that features two All-Star starters coming off a rejuvenating break – not exactly an ideal situation to say the least. Luka Doncic already dropped 51 points on them earlier this season, and I expect similar dominance from the backcourt duo. Meanwhile, Hardaway Jr and Reggie Bullock will feast on catch and shoot opportunities while Josh Green terrorizes a Spurs defense that ranks 27th in transition defense per ShotQuality. The Spurs don’t have an answer for Christian Wood either with Poeltl gone, so the Mavericks will gain immense self-created production from other outlets besides their backcourt.

On the other end, San Antonio is without their second best scorer (Vassell), their main playmaker (Jones), and their interior scorer (Poeltl). Keldon Johnson is a viable threat, but the only other players who can create their own shots are the wildly inefficient Malaki Branham and Devonte’ Graham.

Doug McDermott is good for a few threes, and Zach Collins and Sochan have their moments, but the offense looks extremely bleak overall. Dallas can rotate Josh Green and Reggie Bullock – two plus defenders – on Keldon Johnson while daring others to beat them across a vast number of possessions.

Finally, there are a number of factors that inspire confidence in Dallas. They hold home-court advantage, desperately need wins to stay above the play-in, and will enter this contest rested. Based on the talent gap and these factors, it’s difficult to envision the Spurs covering.

Betting Trends

  • Spurs are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games overall
  • Over is 14-5 in Spurs last 19 road games
  • Mavericks are 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
  • Over is 5-2 in Mavericks last 7 overall
  • Spurs are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings
  • Under is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Dallas

Key Matchups

Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Keldon Johnson Scoring

If Keldon Johnson (21.8 PPG) doesn’t score 30+ points, then the Spurs have no chance of covering. He’s their only active player that can consistently create his own shot and convert despite tough defense. Considering the opponent features a Doncic-Irving-Wood trio, the Spurs simply won’t have enough points to stay in the same offensive universe should Johnson struggle.

Doug McDermott & Devonte’ Graham 3PT Shooting

San Antonio absolutely needs to win the three-point battle in order to have a chance of covering. McDermott is a career sharpshooter that is currently at a 41.7 3PT% on 4.5 attempts per game. The Spurs must increase that volume here and run plays designed to get him a clean look off of a screen. Meanwhile, Graham has launched without hesitation recently; in his four games with the Spurs, he is 12 for 39 from deep. He doesn’t possess the shooting ability to justifiably take that many attempts (not many do), but San Antonio should encourage him to continue because he occasionally gets hot from three.

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

PG: Malaki Branham
SG: Keita Bates-Diop
SF: Keldon Johnson
PF: Jeremy Sochan
C: Zach Collins

Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup

PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Kyrie Irving
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr
PF: Josh Green
C: Dwight Powell

Key Injuries

San Antonio Spurs Injuries: Devin Vassell (O), Tre Jones (D), Jeremy Sochan (Q), Romeo Langford (O), Isaiah Roby (O), Khem Birch (O)

Dallas Mavericks Injuries: Maxi Kleber (O), Davis Bertans (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2021-22 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs about analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions and NBA Analysis Network.

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