The Mavs continue their long nightmare against winning teams tonight, still looking for that elusive first meaningful win with Jason Kidd in town. If they can beat one team that would lift their spirits, it's this one. The Spurs are a major Mavs rival, and a win here would not only put the Mavs on a better mental plane, it would move them very close to jumping over the Spurs into the six-seed spot.
Mixed results lately
After losing four straight, the Spurs have bounced back a little bit by winning two straight games. Of course, those wins were against the Bulls and Kings, so it's possible that the Spurs are still in a funk. Statistically, the Spurs are a much better team at home than on the road, so if the Mavs can capitalize on the Spurs' current slump, they could come away with the win.
Thomas starting experiment appears finished
Recently acquired center Kurt Thomas came into San Antonio looking to battle starting center Fabricio Oberto for playing time in the post. Evidently the Spurs liked what they saw and started Thomas for nine games. During that stretch, the Spurs went 4-5, so, seeing the writing on the wall, they put Oberto back into the starting lineup and have brought Thomas off the bench for the last three games. They are 2-1 in those games, so they likely will stick with that for now.
Deny the assists
I know this is easier said than done with an aging point guard who can't move laterally to guard Tony Parker, but the key to stopping the Spurs is to deny Parker entrance to the lane. When the Spurs have more assists than their opponent in a game, the Spurs are 38-6 this season. Much of that starts with the action of Tony Parker, and if the Mavs can find a way to slow him down, they'll do much better for themselves.
Can this crusty bunch of veterans finally run through the playoffs in an even year and win back-to-back championships?
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd