Friday, April 12, 2024

NBA Preview: San Antonio Spurs (11-43) at Dallas Mavericks (31-23)

The Dallas Mavericks will look to add to their season-high five-game winning streak when they host Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night in a battle between Lone Star State rivals.

Dallas has put it all together since Kyrie Irving’s return to the lineup, winning five of its six games in the month of February, including the past five contests. The latest was a 112-104 come-from-behind victory at home over the Washington Wizards on Monday.

It was Luka Doncic who led the way Monday, producing 26 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds for his 10th triple-double of the season. Irving matched Doncic with 26 points while Daniel Gafford added 16 points and 17 rebounds as the Mavericks rallied from a 10-point deficit after three quarters.

Doncic, who broke his nose last week, was elbowed in the chin in the win over Washington, opening up a gash that required stitches. He scored nine of his points (on 3-of-3 shooting) and added four assists and four rebounds in the fourth quarter, where Dallas outscored the Wizards 34-16.

Dallas won despite committing 16 turnovers, but only three of the those were in the second half. The Mavericks were without two injured rotational staples as rookie center Dereck Lively II (broken nose) missed his seventh straight game, and guard Dante Exum missed his ninth consecutive contest with right knee bursitis.

The Spurs head to Dallas on the heels of a 122-99 road win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday when Wembanyama continued his impressive rookie campaign with another “wow” performance.

The 20-year-old center/forward from France became the first rookie since 1990 (David Robinson) and only the fourth all time to amass a triple-double that included blocked shots. Wembanyama racked up 27 points, 14 rebounds and a career-best 10 blocks to help San Antonio snap a seven-game losing streak.

Devin Vassell added 25 points for the Spurs, with Jeremy Sochan scoring 16, Keldon Johnson hitting for 12 and Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley tallying 10 apiece. Tre Jones distributed 10 assists. San Antonio led by 17 points at the break and by 28 after three quarters before waltzing through the final period.

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