Spurs vs Mavericks Preview and Prediction

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, April 20th, 2014

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The San Antonio Spurs have been fixtures in the NBA playoffs for a very long time now. As the Western Conference’s no. 1 team, they will face the no. 8 seed Dallas Mavericks in an engaging series, which features two of this generation’s most acclaimed superstars in Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.
The San Antonio Spurs are back in the playoffs.  With arguably the best coach currently in the league and guided by a top-rated front office, the Spurs have made it to the postseason for the 17th-straight time – or every year since Tim Duncan arrived in the NBA.
The Spurs attained the league’s best record despite not having a single player who averaged 30 or more minutes per game this season.
The Spurs also finished the campaign among the leaders in many major statistics. They finished the regular season as the leader in assists, dishing out 25.2 per game. They are sixth in scoring (105.4 PPG) and as a mark of their efficiency on offense, shot the league’s no. 2 field goal percentage of 48.7%.
On the other end of the floor, the Spurs are just as good, ending up sixth in scoring defense (97.4 PPG). Tony Parker leads the team with 16.7 PPG, followed by Duncan’s 15.1 PPG in 74 games during the regular season.
The Spurs won and covered the spread in all three contests with Dallas this year, thus suggesting that they haven’t exactly been challenged by the Mavs. Parker has the team-high mark of 23.3 PPG against Dallas this season, while Duncan has a double-double average of 18.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG against Nowitzki and co. Not bad for a 37-year old.
It has been more than three years since San Antonio lost to the Mavericks. The Spurs are 9-0 SU in their last nine contests against their Texas rivals, going 7-2 ATS in those games.
The Dallas Mavericks tried to avoid an early collision with the San Antonio Spurs but failed when they lost to the gritty Memphis Grizzlies in the battle for the Western Conference’s no. 7 seed, 106-105, on Wednesday night. The Mavericks ended the regular season with a 5-2 SU record in their last seven games, which started on a blistering four-game winning streak.
Notwithstanding the loss to the Grizzlies, the Mavericks are not a team to be underestimated. In 2011, they were counted out by fans and experts alike but proceeded to reward Mark Cuban’s franchise its first ever NBA title.
Dirk Nowitzki appeared to be in fine form ahead of the playoff wars when he upped his season averages of 21.7 PPG and 6.2 RPG to 23.4 PPG and 6.8 RPG over the last 10 games. His performance recently, along with Monta Ellis’, has been a large part of the Mavericks’ late season push to make the playoffs.
Ellis has found a home in Dallas, where his role is more defined than when he was with the Warriors or Bucks. The 2007 Most Improved Player awardee is a dangerous scorer who finds a variety of ways to finish. Like Nowitzki, Ellis stepped up when the Mavs was on the brink of missing the playoffs. He put up 23.6 PPG over the Mavs’ last five games, which includes his 37-point explosion that powered Dallas past the Suns for a crucial win on April 12th.
As eight-seeds, the Mavericks won’t have the luxury of home court advantage at any point of the playoffs. However, they are 6-1 SU and ATS in their last seven road games.

Prediction
Both teams are experienced playoff teams but the San Antonio Spurs are more complete from top to bottom. The first game will go to the Spurs but the Mavericks will show how competitive this series will be and cover the +9 point spread.

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