Spurs-Mavericks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 29, 2012
As good as the San Antonio Spurs have been offensively, that success has not carried to the road recently. The Spurs are seeking their third five-game winning streak of the season but also looking to avoid a fifth straight road loss when they try to beat the slumping Dallas Mavericks for the second consecutive Sunday night. After a strong defensive effort led to a 100-80 win over Toronto two days earlier, San Antonio (23-6) showed it could run with high-scoring Houston in a 122-116 victory Friday night. That capped a 4-0 homestand during which the Spurs averaged 112.5 points and hit 53.2 percent from the field. They haven't played nearly as well in losing their last four on the road, averaging 96.3 points on 43.2 percent shooting. The Spurs had lost just five of their previous 36 regular-season road games. Now they'll try to match a season high with a fifth straight win overall by beating Dallas for the seventh time in nine tries. The first matchup this season wasn't much of a contest, with San Antonio outscoring the Mavericks by 22 in the third quarter in a 129-91 victory at Dallas last Sunday. "We know they are going to play with a lot of energy with them being at home," said Tony Parker, whose Spurs lost both visits to Dallas last season. "We beat them pretty good here so we have to make sure to match their energy." Danny Green scored a career-high 25 in the first meeting, hitting 7 of 8 from beyond the arc, and had another solid game Friday with five 3-pointers and 17 points. However, he's totaled 13 points over the last three road games, going 3 for 16 from beyond the arc. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were able to sit out the fourth quarter of the Dallas win but are coming off big games. Parker had 31 points and 10 assists against the Rockets while Duncan added 30 points, marking the first time two Spurs scored 30 in a game since Feb. 2, 2009, when Duncan and Manu Ginobili both had 32. "Those guys have been great all season," said Ginobili, who had a season-high 23 points. "I kind of joined in on the scoring. The main thing is that we beat another great team that has been rolling." The Spurs, leading the Western Conference in field-goal shooting (48.3 percent), are averaging 109.1 points in December and facing a Dallas team that has allowed 109.6 during its five-game losing streak. A night after playing defending West champion Oklahoma City tough in a 111-105 overtime loss, the Mavericks (12-18) dropped their eighth in nine games Friday with a 106-85 defeat to Denver. Dirk Nowitzki had five points in 17 minutes, continuing to ease his way back after missing the first 27 games following knee surgery late in the preseason. The perennial All-Star forward, averaging 7.3 points in three games since returning, missed his last six shots Friday and didn't play in the fourth quarter. "Really, these are my first games in a long time," Nowitzki said. "So it's ugly. I've got to keep fighting, keep working hard in practice days and eventually I'll be able to come back." O.J. Mayo showed some signs of breaking out of his slump with a team-high 15 points, but he went 1 of 5 from 3-point range. While he leads the team at 18.7 points per game, Mayo has averaged 8.8 points on 30.2 percent shooting during the team's losing streak. The Mavericks are hoping to find some rhythm after shooting 5 of 25 from 3-point range against the Nuggets to fall to 32.2 percent from beyond the arc in December - among the worst in the NBA.
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