Friday Night Preview of Mavs at San Antonio

It's Mavs at Spurs. For the last decade, this neck-and-neck rivalry has needed no introduction. But we give it one, anyway. (Oh, and tonight's TV treats include me on FS Southwest's "Mavs Insider'' at 6 and then the TXA21 telecast featuring noted Spurs antagonist and staffer Mike Bacsik!)

The Theme: The Theme is The Streak.

The Spurs are 13-1, with a dozen of those wins having come in a row. The Mavs have been down this streak-bustin' road before (remember the undefeated Hornets' roll being stopped in Dallas?) ... but this is a Spurs team that is even more resourceful than New Orleans.

The Quote: "There is something about being on the road that makes us come together, and makes us focus.'' – Mavs center Tyson Chandler, on Dallas' impressive 5-1 road record.

The Spurs' Number: The Spurs – by reputation a methodical offensive team that excels in halfcourt execution -- are suddenly averaging 108 points per game. And somehow they are doing it while Tim Duncan paces himself. He's not a lock to score double-figures in a game anymore and is averaging 13.4 per.

The Mavs' Number: With new center Tyson Chandler as "the heart-and-soul guy'' (coach Rick Carlisle's words) of the Dallas defense, the Mavs allow just 92.4 points per game.

Dallas' defensive total is fourth-best in the NBA.

San Antonio's offensive total is second-best in the NBA.

And there is your "something's-gotta-give'' math.

The Key: Over the course of the last four games, Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 33 points, having scored 34 or more in three of those four. The search for a "Robin'' continues.

Nowitzki enters tonight's action as the NBA's second-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game. He is shooting a career-high 53.6 percent. It is both mind-boggling and frustrating for a Mavs fan to ponder how good this team could be/will be if a consistent "second star'' is located or developed.

The History: The Mavericks (10-4) have no reason to fear their rivals, having established over the last decade that they are on-par or on-their-heels in the Southwest Division. Not lost on appreciative Mavs fans: Dallas has recorded 10 straight 50-win seasons (we call that "10X50'') … but San Antonio has done the same 11 years in a row.

By the way: Those are the second- and third-longest streaks in modern NBA history.

No Fear? This bunch of Mavs have won three straight regular-season games against the Spurs – all lovely if you are willing to forgive last postseason's failure in Round 1 of the playoffs.

The Lineups: Start your evening at 6 as I join Ro Parrish and Ali D on "Mavs Insider'' on FS Southwest. Then you get the game telecast (on TXA21 and featuring's own Mike Bacsik as a studio analyst alongside Gina Miller), and it starts at 7, with the tip at 7:30.

San Antonio Spurs Dallas Mavericks
Tony Parker Jason Kidd
Manu Ginobili DeShawn Stevenson
Richard Jefferson Caron Butler
Tim Duncan Dirk Nowitzki
DeJuan Blair Tyson Chandler

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