The Dallas Mavericks will look to expand on a five-game winning streak when they travel south to square off against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in this season’s first battle between the Lone Star State rivals.
The Mavericks have been rolling over the past two weeks, riding otherworldly play from superstar Luka Doncic and a solid contribution from the team’s role players to their most successful stint of the campaign.
Dallas heads to the Alamo City after a 129-114 win at home over Houston on Thursday in which Doncic racked up his second straight triple-double, amassing 35 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. It was his eighth triple-double of the season.
The Mavericks’ supporting cast was up to the task, too, on Thursday. Christian Wood added 21 points, Dwight Powell went 8 of 8 from the floor and tallied a season-high 19 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 18 points and Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 15.
“I did ask a couple of players that we needed to step up and not wait for Luka, and they responded,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “We talked about it before the game and they understand the time or the stress we put on Luka. So we needed some guys to be able to get some easy baskets and take that stress off of him, and they did that tonight.”
The Mavericks, who rely mostly on execution in half-court sets, had a season-best 25 fast-break points in Thursday’s win. It’s taken awhile but Dallas is finally coming together and look capable of making a repeat run deep into the playoffs.
The win moved Dallas to four games above .500 for the first time this season.
“We’ve been trusting each other,” Powell said. “There’s obviously been ups and downs. Clearly there have been some games that some people counted us out during the game, but we stuck together. That’s one of the biggest things for us is staying together regardless of the situation and having that next-man-up mentality.”
Doncic is dealing with left ankle soreness but is listed as probable.
The Spurs have won two of their past three games, including a 122-115 home victory over New York on Thursday. Keldon Johnson scored 30 points and Romeo Langford added a career-high 23 as San Antonio Spurs built a 17-point lead in the third quarter and had all the answers late to send the Knicks to a fifth consecutive loss.
“We played a really solid game,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We looked more like a veteran team (against the Knicks). Execution was good. Pace was good. A lot of guys played well and our defense was pretty good.”
Tre Jones scored 13, Jeremy Sochan had 12 and Jakob Poeltl took 12 rebounds for the Spurs, The win was without Devin Vassell, who missed the game with a sore left knee.
With Vassell, the Spurs’ second-leading scorer this season (19.6 points per game), listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game, San Antonio will need to rely on Langford to pick up the slack. He was more than up to the task in Thursday’s win.
“I guess it was just one of those all-around games,” Langford said. “I was letting the game come to me and just playing basketball, honestly. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
–Field Level Media