San Antonio at Dallas
Time: 7 PM CST (TNT)
Spread: DAL -6.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The San Antonio Spurs is just 12-17 on the season and it sits in third-place of the Southwest Division, trailing the first-place Houston Rockets by eight full games already. This may be the year the Spurs finally return to the realm of the NBA’s lottery teams.
Looking at the Spurs roster, it is understandable as to why: San Antonio is led by two high-scoring veterans, but this team’s defensive outlook is nowhere near as bright, and it lacks depth unless one is to overrate the talents in it and what they have done so far.
San Antonio is giving up 115.7 points per game while scoring 113 itself.
The Spurs are offensively led by the two veterans DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Both post-PERs of 19, but after that, the depth really thins out on this roster. Bryn Forbes has provided a boost with 12 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, but he is really playing right at “replacement level.” The same applies to Patty Mills, whose defense is partly to blame for teams tallying so many points on the Spurs. Rudy Gay is washed up, and Dejounte Murray has been decent but the Spurs were hoping for even more.
All of this comes together to spell a team that is almost lucky to have won one-third of its games thus far in 2019-20. Without a step-up in defensive intensity, it will not even win that many moving forward.
The Dallas Mavericks have lost four of its last 10 overall, and it is having a tough time without leading scorer and jack-of-all-trades Luka Doncic initiating its offense. There is no date for Doncic’s return, but signs indicate that it could be very soon. He is now practicing again after suffering a sprained ankle.
Dallas most recently fell 107-110 to the Toronto Raptors, but it did sneak a surprise-victory out of its Eastern Conference road trip in knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks 120-116 in the game prior. In the win over Milwaukee, Dallas got 26 points and 12 rebounds from Kristaps Porzingis, along with four other players scoring in double-figures to improve to 10-2 on the road this year. Dallas is the league’s most improved team, and it is now taking the chance to show that Doncic is not really the only reason.
All eyes are now on Porzingis, who turned in another strong game in the loss to Boston. He tallied 23 points on 8 of 19 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and a steal. Now is the time we see whether or not Kristaps still has cornerstone abilities. Seth Curry came off the bench to hit 8 of 13 including 4 of 8 from three for 20 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Curry is the most talented of the remaining backcourt players after Doncic, but Tim Hardaway Jr really should be doing far better in picking up the slack. He shot 4 of 17 from the field for 13 points in the loss to Boston. Dallas is just 8-7 at home this season.
On the season Porzingis is averaging 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, but all suggestions are that he will greatly increase his usage percentage with Doncic unavailable. The Mavericks need to get another guy to stop up, because Doncic left a 29.3 point, 8.9 assist hole when he sprained his ankle. While he is expected to make a full recovery, the Mavs are still in overhaul replacing his production. Dallas looks to be close to contention, but the team is likely still missing a few pieces before it can be heaped into the tier that includes the L.A. Lakers and Clippers. With Doncic doing just about everything, the Mavericks are not worlds away from being mentioned in that breath.