DALLAS – When the Dallas Mavericks met the Spurs in San Antonio back on Nov. 21, they were neck-and-neck with the defending Southwest Division champions for most of the game.
Then the Spurs upped the ante, turned on the juice, displayed their veteran savvy and eked out a 96-91 victory. It was one of those lessons learned kind of game for the Mavs, who committed eight of their 17 turnovers in the critical fourth quarter of that loss to the Spurs.
Thus, when the Mavs entertain the Spurs on Wednesday night at 7:30 at American Airlines Center, they’re hoping they’ll be able to execute much better when the game is on the line.
"The turnovers were a big factor in the fourth quarter and that’s the possession aspect of NBA basketball,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’ve got to keep the turnovers down the entire game.
"You’ve got to do the simple things extremely well, put the ball in the basket, and we’ve got to rebound better. The other night we had too many situations where we didn’t have enough guys pursuing the ball. It comes down to doing a lot of basic things very well and then we’re going to have to play real hard and at a real high level.’’
In last week’s game against the Mavs, the Spurs played without forward LaMarcus Aldridge and point guard Tony Parker, who sat out so they could rest. And with the Spurs hosting Orlando on Tuesday night, the Mavs aren’t sure which San Antonio players will suit up on Wednesday.
"Who knows who they’re going to bring tomorrow,’’ Carlisle said. "They may not bring anybody, they may bring everybody.
"Whatever the case we’ve got to be able to play, we’ve got to prepare for a lot of difficult situations, we’ve got to prepare for their zone.’’
And prepare for the grit the Spurs normally brings to the court.
"We almost got them at their place, so we have to make sure we have that confidence and take that going into playing them tomorrow,’’ forward Justin Anderson said. "But at the same time we’ve got to show up and do our game plan.
"We know what they do, we know what they like to get to. We just need to make sure we do a good job of executing our game plan and I think we’ll always give ourselves a chance.’’