Monday, May 20, 2024
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NBA Preview: Dallas Mavericks (39-29) at San Antonio Spurs (15-53)

The Dallas Mavericks are in the hunt to avoid the NBA play-in tournament, and they carry plenty of momentum toward that goal when they square off against the host San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

It’s the final of four meetings this season between the Lone Star State rivals, with the Mavericks having won the first three by an average of 18.3 points per game. For San Antonio, it will be the fifth game of a season-high eight-game homestand.

With 14 games left to play, Dallas (39-29) is in a virtual tie with Sacramento and Phoenix for the sixth spot in the Western Conference. Those three teams entered Monday 2 1/2 games behind fifth-place New Orleans and 3 1/2 back of the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers for a home playoff berth.

That means there will be plenty on the line when the Mavericks face the Spurs (15-53), the worst team in the West.

Dallas’ most recent outing was a 107-105 win at home over West-leading Denver on Sunday afternoon, with Kyrie Irving hitting a running, left-handed hook across the lane as time expired to produce the victory.

The Mavericks were up by 13 in the fourth quarter before needing a long Luka Doncic 3-pointer with 25 seconds left and then a defensive stop to set the stage for Irving’s heroics.

Doncic scored 37 points (23 of those in the first half) to pace Dallas, which has won five of its past six games to rocket up the standings. Irving finished with 24 points, Dereck Lively II added 14 points and P.J. Washington grabbed 11 rebounds in Sunday’s win.

The Mavericks played without forward Josh Green, who is expected to miss multiple weeks with a right ankle sprain suffered in Thursday’s loss in Oklahoma City.

San Antonio clashes with the Mavericks after beating Brooklyn 122-115 on Sunday in overtime in Austin, Texas, the Spurs’ home away from home. Victor Wembanyama was again the catalyst for San Antonio, racking up 33 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocked shots, one of the latter a key stop in the extra period.

The Spurs were down 115-112 two minutes into overtime but then rang up the game’s final 10 points, highlighted by back-to-back baskets by Wembanyama.

Wembanyama then blocked Dennis Schroder’s layup attempt with 25 seconds left and Keldon Johnson hit a layup with 20.8 seconds remaining to stoke San Antonio’s lead to three points. Johnson added a pair of free throws to help seal the win.

Devin Vassell added 25 points for the Spurs while Johnson had 24 points as San Antonio snapped a three-game losing streak.

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