The 39-26 Dallas Mavericks and 26-36 San Antonio Spurs are great examples of how the NBA can sometimes be so tough to predict. The two squads will square off in San Antonio tonight (8 p.m. ET Tuesday).
Dallas was supposed to push maybe a .500 record this season, but the Mavs’ youth and reliance on Kristaps Porzingis coming back from a major injury made people doubt them. The Spurs were adding back starting point guard Dejounte Murray to a 48-win team and figured to contend for one of the final playoff spots.
The Mavs have been a pleasant surprise on the strength of sophomore sensation Luka Doncic’s superstar play and big contributions from the team’s depth pieces. The Spurs have had several key rotation players regress from last year and now they are all but eliminated from playoff contention.
Both teams have several injury concerns leading into the game. Key players like Dejounte Murray, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl are all likely out for the Spurs, and Willie Cauley-Stein, Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson are out for the Mavs. Dallas superstar Luka Doncic is also questionable.
This preview will take a look at how things will turn out today as two banged-up teams face each other and conclude with Dallas Mavericks vs San Antonio Spurs predictions.
Will Any Spur Perimeter Player Not Named DeRozan Match Tim Hardaway Jr?
For most of his career, Hardaway of the Mavericks was the type of player who would appear in this sort of question for a different reason. Because he was so inconsistent as a scorer, his ability to perform was a major X-factor for his team.
This season, and especially recently, though, Hardaway has been extremely reliable on the offensive end for Dallas. In his last 15 games, THJ has averaged 21.4 points per game on a 47.4/44.4/84.2. His worst scoring game in that span was 14 points.
San Antonio’s perimeter defense in this game will be compromised without Dejounte Murray, so it is likely Hardaway drops at least 20 points again. The question for San Antonio will be whether one of its backcourt guys can surprise
Bryn Forbes, Derrick White and Patty Mills all average 10 to 12 points per game as important members of the team. With Murray out, though, and against a great offensive team like Dallas, at least one of those three guys will need to get hot and step up with a big performance. If none of those three cracks 20 points in this contest, San Antonio will find it very difficult to win.
Could This Be a Big Boban Game?
The Mavericks’ Boban Marjanovic doesn’t play very much, but when he does get extended minutes, he usually makes a big impact. Dallas’ 7’4” center is a monster inside scorer and rebounder who averages 23.9 points and 16.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Marjanovic plays a small role because he is painfully slow, he doesn’t have much stamina and his outside shooting stroke is lacking. Modern NBA teams can exploit his weaknesses by playing a high tempo and packing the paint.
San Antonio is in an interesting spot with all of its injuries. Without LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl, the team plays small most of the game with either Drew Eubanks, Trey Lyles or Rudy Gay at center. However, especially without Murray, it also doesn’t have a ton of speed or shooting that could take advantage of Marjanovic’s weaknesses.
It seems to me that Marjanovic could come in for 15 minutes in this game and absolutely crush his former team’s undersized frontcourt for around 15 points and 10 rebounds. Will Mavs coach Rick Carlisle give him the opportunity to do so?
Will Kristaps Porzingis Continue to Show His Passing Development?
One of the consistent knocks on Porzingis throughout the first few years of his career is his lack of playmaking ability. In his first three years in New York, he averaged just 1.3, 1.5 and 1.2 assists per game despite being a key part of the Knicks’ offensive attack each year.
This year in Dallas, his average is up just a bit to 1.7 assists per game, but recent performances have displayed improvement from the 7’3” Latvian. In the Mavs’ last seven victories, he has dished out an average of 3.7 assists per contest
The Spurs have one of the league’s weaker defenses as it is, and they are also missing arguably their two most impactful defenders (Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl).
Our Preview’s Dallas Mavericks vs San Antonio Spurs Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
There are a lot of moving parts in this game with all the player injuries. We don’t yet know who will play, and the chemistry between both teams could be compromised as the squads accustom themselves to playing unfamiliar lineups and rotations.
I do think the Mavericks’ seeding situation will be the deciding factor in this game. Dallas is the No. 7 seed, but there are five other teams clumped directly above the Mavs that are separated by only five games. Regardless of who plays for each team, motivation to keep pace in the standings definitely favors the Mavs. So these are the Dallas Mavericks vs San Antonio Spurs predictions for this preview:
- The Mavs are favored in this matchup by 3.5 points with the first-rate offshore American-friendly sports betting companies. I advise betting on Dallas -3.5pts @ -110 with Bovada.
- I see the Spurs trying to up the pace on the bigger Mavericks, but I think Dallas will have too easy of a time scoring on San Antonio to make this a low-scoring game. There aren’t enough total points odds out yet to advise a specific line, but we expect it to go over.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.