National Basketball Association
Dallas at San Antonio
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, April 20, 2014
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
The San Antonio Spurs carry a host of relevant winning streaks into the opener of their best-of-seven first-round series with the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. The Spurs, who are looking to repeat as Western Conference champions and seek their fifth NBA title under coach Gregg Popovich, won their final 15 home games of the regular season and have taken nine straight meetings with their in-state rivals. Included in that run of dominance was a 109-100 win at Dallas on April 10 that helped push the Mavericks to the undesirable eighth seed in the West.
San Antonio's second straight season series sweep came with an average margin of victory of 11.5 points, but despite the seemingly overwhelming odds Dallas - which missed the postseason last spring - is ready to make a series of it. "The standings are zero-zero," guard Monta Ellis told the Dallas Morning News. Ellis missed a potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer in Memphis on Wednesday, which secured the last playoff spot in the West for the 2011 NBA champs.TV:
1 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Southwest (Dallas, San Antonio)ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (49-33):
Forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion are the only remaining members of the 2011 title team but combined with the steady hand of point guard Jose Calderon and Ellis, who averaged 19 points and 5.7 assists, to coalesce into a dangerous team in the second half. Beginning Jan. 31, they went 23-12 (with two of the losses coming against San Antonio) and won 12 of their final 17 games on the road. "We won some big games on the road and that should help us going into Game 1 and Game 2," Nowitzki said Thursday.ABOUT THE SPURS (62-20):
San Antonio tied for the second-most wins in franchise history with a squad that led the NBA in point differential (+7.8), 3-point shooting (39.7 percent) and assists (25.2). The big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili received plenty of rest down the stretch and the team was buoyed all season by the consistent scoring punch of third-year swingman Kawhi Leonard, who averaged 12.8 points on 52.2 percent shooting and bumped those numbers to 16.1 and 55.3 in seven games this month. San Antonio outrebounded Dallas by an average of nine in their four meetings, as Duncan produced 12.5 boards and Leonard had 9.8 versus the Mavericks.
1. The Spurs have a 16-13 advantage in playoff games between the two teams, winning a first-round series in the last meeting in 2010.
2. Duncan needs five games to tie Shaquille O'Neal (216) for the fifth-most playoff games in NBA history.
3. Mavericks F Brandan Wright averaged 10 points off the bench on 14-of-19 shooting over the final three games of the regular season.PREDICTION:
Spurs 106, Mavericks 98
Stats and Records