Advanced Scouting: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs


Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs 7:00 CST January 14, 2011

Two weeks ago, San Antonio held off the Dallas Mavericks 99-93. Before that game, Dirk Nowitzki was listed as day-to-day, and little has changed in Dirk’s injury status. My write-up discussed strategy if Dirk is unable to play.

Gary Neal nailed five treys on his way to 21 points. For Dallas, Jason Kidd notched yet another triple-double. Overall, Coach Popovich was not impressed with the win, saying “We didn’t show very much. We didn’t improve as a team, that’s for sure.”

Caron Butler led Dallas in scoring with 30 points on 21 shots. However, Butler injured his knee the next game and will miss the remainder of the season. In his absence, DeShawn Stevenson has seen an increase in playing time. Stevenson is a 3-point specialist who scores 75% of his points on 3’s.

In the December 30th matchup, the Mavs ran 23 pick-and-roll plays, resulting in 22 points. Jason Terry ran 10 pick-and-rolls, but Dallas only scored five points out these possessions. The Spurs ran 27 pick-and-rolls themselves, leading to 35 points. Parker was particularly effective with 16 points on 12 possessions (six points by way of passing). Ginobili contributed eight points on nine pick-and-rolls.

Four of Neal’s five 3-pointers were categorized as “spot-up” possessions. Spot-ups are generally created from kick-outs when the defender leaves his man to help on the ball. As great as Neal has been for the Spurs this season, they shouldn’t rely on such a high level of production this time out.

The Spurs were only able to score 10 points on fast breaks, this is down from their average of 16 per game (Not coincidentally, Tony Parker accounted for their only two steals). The Mavs are a mediocre team defending the transition and the Spurs should look to push the ball more in this game.

Key Statistics

SRS ranks:

Dallas: 4.29 (7th)
San Antonio: 7.68 (1st)

Player Statistics (courtesy of (effective January 6, 2011) and (effective January 11, 2011):

PlayerFraction of teams minutesPER minus Counterpart PEROn court +/-per 48 minutesOff court +/-per 48 minutes2 Year Adjusted +/-

Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Kidd, Stevenson, Butler, Nowitzki, Chandler +111 in 257 minutes (+20.7 per 48 minutes)
Kidd, Terry, Butler, Marion, Chandler +11 in 91 minutes (+5.8 per 48)
Kidd, Terry, Stevenson, Marion, Chandler +3 in 77 minutes (+1.9 per 48)


If Dirk is able to go, which seems unlikely at this point, the game could be hotly contested. The Spurs would be favored either way, but if Nowitzki doesn’t play, the Spurs have a great chance to extend their division lead to seven games.

[Update: Dirk is out tonight.]

  • carlos martin

    GO SPURS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Beat the ponies with or without Dirk

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  • Mr. International

    It’s Friday, it’s pay day, and the Spurs are playing on the 4 letter network so I can watch the game…life is good.

    Would only be better if Dirk were playing and I bet Pop feels the same. It’s always good to beat his @$$. But as great a player as Dirk is, losing Caron is a huge blow. His “tough juice” can’t be replaced by anyone on their cupcake squad.

    Get ’em Spurs!!

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    The only way not to chastise the Spurs in this one is to blow out the Mavs. Dallas is already without two of their leading scorers. To make this a close game will make it feel like a crappy win, much more if our guys lose.

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    And by blow out, I mean win by at least 20, and allow the Mavs under 90 points. A 105-82 win will do.

  • doggydogworld

    Amen, I don’t think I can handle another crappy win. The only thing worse would be another 40 crappy wins this season. Or even, horrors of horrors, a crappy championship banner marred by a 4-3 squeaker over a Bynum-less Laker team and a finals against some Eastern Conference weakling that by some fluke managed to knock off the worthy Heat.

  • agutierrez

    I don’t think Pop would let this be a blowout. He wants the Mavs to think that all they need is Dirk back to beat us. Otherwise, with Cuban’s deep pockets, they could go after someone who could in fact tip the balance. Keep the Mavs thinking they’re just a Dirk away from dominating us. That suits our purposes best.

  • Hobson13

    Dirk is definitely out for tonight, but there is a possibility that Tyson Chandler might also be sitting this one out due to an illness. No Dirk, Butler, and Chandler. We should be able to roll the Mavs with all these players out, however, you never can tell with these kind of heated rivalries. Still, the Spurs have this one as long as we show up and respect the Mavs.

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    …and since Chandler is questionnable due to an injury, this SHOULD be a blowout.

  • DorieStreet

    Mavs signed Sasa Pavlovic to a 10-day contract; it seemed he put up better numbers than the 9 & 7.5 ppg with the Cavs during finals run & year after. I expect Coach Carlisle to throw most everybody into the fray tonight–perhaps getting a spark from someone unexpected-especially if Chandler’s out.
    First time in new year on ESPN. Since tonight’s game will be one short of the halfway point in the season, I expect analysis of what this team has accomplished, and opinion of what to expect through and beyond the allstar break, etc. Will it be Tirico/Hubie on the telecast, or John Barry & ____, or Breen/Jackson/Van Gundy. Should be an interesting backdrop to the game action.

  • mk

    Losing Dirk, the team could rally and still win meaningful games. Losing Dirk, Butler, and Chandler (or having a diminished Chandler), this team will only be dangerous if they can hit a high percentage of contested perimeter shots. They just don’t have enough depth at this point.

    I would love to see Pop focus on defense. A 86 to 78 win would be just peachy

  • SpurredOn

    Not having Dirk to prepare for means a possible loss of defensive focus. Plus it’s a rivarly game, meaning Dallas will be pumped and ready to make a statement amid their losing streak, while our guys are playing a third game in four nights. I hope the energy from the crowd mixed with wanting to play better than the last game against Dallas (along with not allowing the Mavs to go 2-0 in SA this season) pushes our guys into a frenetic pace on defense. Control the game on that end and a big point spread win should follow.

  • JTEX

    After medicore games against mediocre teams, I have a feeling the Spurs are going to run and rain 3 pointers all over the Mavs tonight. The only big the Mavs now have is Dirk and even if he plays, he’s bound to be a little rusty. 110-90 Spurs! It’s approaching the half way point of the season and I know Pop could really care less about the division title but he does care about the seedings, as long as they have home court advantage come playoff time but the number one seed would be SWEET!
    Go Spurs Go!

  • betsyduncan

    No let up, boys! Wreck the Mavwrecks!

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