If the Dallas Mavericks could have selected a team to oppose as they attempt to end a three-game losing streak, they might have chosen the San Antonio Spurs, their host in a Wednesday night contest.
But the Spurs — even though they already are eliminated from postseason consideration — have been playing better of late, winning four of their past seven games. Included in that stretch was a victory over the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.
Dallas’ skid includes back-to-back losses to the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies in an away-home series on Saturday and Monday. The latest setback, 104-88, came with the Mavericks missing Kyrie Irving (right foot soreness), Luka Doncic (left thigh strain) and Christian Wood (right foot soreness).
Jaden Hardy led the Mavericks with 28 points while Josh Green had 23.
Doncic already was ruled out for Wednesday’s game, while Irving, Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. (left calf contusion) were listed as questionable.
“Our health, this is what we have,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “This is the cards we’re dealt, just like anybody in this league. We got to play with the cards we have. We’ll continue to keep fighting, continue to keep working.
“If we can get healthy, it puts us in a position to have success.”
The Mavericks are in a three-way tie for eighth place in the Western Conference, two games out of sixth place, the last position that avoids the play-in tournament.
The Spurs will play the second of a home back-to-back that began with a rousing 132-114 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.
Jeremy Sochan led the way with 29 points and 11 rebounds, but the real story was that San Antonio, which came into the game ranked 26th in the league in 3-point-shooting percentage, hit a franchise-record 22 treys on 41 attempts.
Zach Collins added 25 points for San Antonio, with Doug McDermott and Devonte’ Graham hitting for 15 each.
The Spurs had a season-high 39 assists, nine of them from Graham, and won for the second time in three games despite playing without starters Keldon Johnson (left foot soreness) and Tre Jones (illness).
“We had a lot of guys play well,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “If you make 22 threes, you’re gonna have a pretty damn good night. That’s just the way the rules are. We don’t do that very often, but it was fun to watch.”
The Spurs led 98-89 heading into the fourth quarter after shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 58.6 percent from 3-point range through the first three periods. Orlando got within six points with 6:28 to play before San Antonio scored the next seven points to clinch the win.
“I think it’s a little bit of good karma,” Collins said of the victory. “It’s a little bit of us continuing to stay in a gym to work and shoot. There’s a lot of not being afraid to shoot. You know, we’ve had a lot of games where we got the same looks we got tonight and we weren’t able to knock them down.”
The Mavericks won the first two games in the season series, 126-125 in San Antonio on Dec. 31 and 142-116 in Dallas on Feb. 23. The teams will face off in their regular-season finale at Dallas on April 9.
–Field Level Media