Shorthanded Spurs to face Mavericks on Friday
Tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on KENS
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs locked themselves into the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference when they combined a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers with Golden State's win on Wednesday and will sit most of their starters when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard, center Pau Gasol and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge will rest while others will sit out due to nagging injuries.
The Spurs will likely face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and already started resting up for the playoffs, with Leonard, Gasol and Aldridge each logging 18 minutes or fewer in Wednesday's loss. San Antonio hosts the Los Angeles Clippers in the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday before finishing out the regular season on the road at Portland and Utah.
The Mavericks are already eliminated from postseason contention and dropped six of their last seven games after closing a five-game trip with setbacks at Sacramento and the Clippers. Dallas is missing shooting guard Seth Curry, who sat out the last three games with a shoulder injury and remains day-to-day.
TV: 7:30 p.m. CT, KENS
ABOUT THE SPURS (60-18): San Antonio is also expected to sit shooting guards Manu Ginobili (quad) and Danny Green (quad) along with point guard Dejounte Murray (groin) on Friday. The Spurs' top scorer available is point guard Tony Parker (10.2 points), who managed 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting in just 16 minutes on Wednesday. The 34-year-old missed 18 games this season due to various injuries but is healthy as the playoffs approach.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (32-46): Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki finds himself overseeing a young roster as his career winds down, and he is trying to impart some wisdom to his younger teammates.
“In this league you have to be the aggressor and not the reactor, and that’s how it works," Nowitzki told reporters after Dallas attempted 18 free throws to the Clippers' 31 on Wednesday. "Usually the team that comes out and is aggressive early gets the benefit of the whistle, and I thought that’s what happened tonight as well."
Nowitzki still has plenty to offer on the court as well but managed only nine points in Wednesday's loss after sitting out the previous game to rest his sore Achilles.
1. Mavericks PG J.J. Barea is 7-of-13 from 3-point range in the last three games.
2. Spurs SF Kyle Anderson scored 11 points on Wednesday after failing to reach double figures in his last 11 contests.
3. San Antonio took the first two meetings but dropped a 105-101 decision at home in the most recent matchup on Jan. 29.