The defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs will open the regular season October 28th against in-state rivals Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs are likely to open the season with reigning Finals MVP Kwahi Leonard on the bench along with center Tiago Splitter who is nursing a calf injury.
The Dallas Mavericks know they are lucky to have walked away with a victory in Game three of the Western Conference Playoffs. Forward/Center Dirk Nowitzki for one is still calling the Spurs the “heavy favorite.” Now whether that is gamesmanship or reality for Dirk, it is apparent that the Mavericks seem to want this a little more than the scorned Spurs.
“We definitely don’t want to get comfortable now,” Nowitzki said. “Yeah, it was a big game, but if we lose tomorrow, we’re tied going to their place with two home games for them. We want to keep the same mentality we’ve had this whole time. Play hard.”
Head Coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t think his team are taking the Mavericks lightly after them in regular season, but at the same time, would like to see more from his veteran squad.
“I don’t think the guys are disrespecting Dallas because we beat them in the season four times. They know it’s the playoffs. But at the same time, I’d like to see a little bit more nastiness, a little bit more physicality, a little bit more fire from people.”
The Dallas Mavericks came into the AT&T Center with something to prove and walked away with a 113-92 pasting of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs missed 11 free throws in the game while the Mavericks took nearly 30 more shots than the silver and black.
“They got almost 30 more shots than we did (92 shot attempts by Dallas and 64 for San Antonio),” Forward Tim Duncan said. “We shot ourselves in the foot and didn’t play well. For whatever reason, they just played harder than we did.”
The loss was the third worst home playoff loss for the Spurs who turned the ball over a season high 22 times.
“We are mixing things up a lot,” Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “and doing a lot of things we really don’t want to do because they are such a potent team. It is a monumental task.”