Even though they're missing a big piece, the San Antonio Spurs might be able to stay unbeaten at home as long as Kawhi Leonard keeps playing like an MVP.
While its uncertain whether LaMarcus Aldridge will return, the Spurs seek their 17th straight regular-season win at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Aldridge, averaging 15.3 points and a team-high 9.9 rebounds, is questionable after missing the first two of this three-game homestand with a sprained left ankle. The forward's 21.9 scoring average against Dallas is his highest against any West opponent.
While David West has replaced Aldridge in the lineup, Leonard and Tony Parker have stepped up to help the Spurs improve to 7-0 at home. Parker has totaled 38 points on 16-of-23 shooting in the last two games after averaging 12.6 over his previous 12.
Leonard finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds in Monday's 98-84 win over Phoenix. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year also starred at the other end with four of the team's season-high 18 steals as San Antonio forced 28 turnovers.
"We're a defensive-minded squad - that's what (coach Gregg Popovich) preaches from day one," veteran forward Tim Duncan said. "We have a lot of returning guys and we had the concept in place, it's just about guys buying in and doing it over and over again."
The Spurs (11-3) are allowing a league-low 85.1 points per game at home while winning by an average of 14.9. They've run off the NBA's second-longest active regular-season home winning streak since a 128-125 overtime loss to Cleveland on March 12.
The Mavericks (9-6) have dropped their last nine regular-season trips to the AT&T Center, losing by an average of 15.2 points. They shot 37.8 percent and committed 18 turnovers in a 94-76 loss March 27 in their most recent meeting there.
After a six-game winning streak, Dallas has stumbled in the first two of this three-game trip. Following a 117-114 setback Sunday at Oklahoma City, the Mavericks shot 39.0 percent and committed a season high-tying 19 turnovers in Tuesday's 110-96 loss at Memphis.
''We did a poor job of ball protection in the first half,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ''Twelve turnovers for a bunch of points. We did better in the second half, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole.''
J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton had 16 points apiece off the bench, but starters Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews scored a combined 41 on 14-of-40 (35.0 percent) shooting. Nowitzki also has struggled against the Spurs, averaging 11.7 points on 33.3 percent shooting in his last three meetings.
Since allowing 92.2 points per game and a 40.0 field-goal percentage over a five-game stretch, Dallas has given up an average of 113.5 points on 47.7 percent shooting in its last two. The club has surrendered 48 points in the paint in each of those contests.
The Spurs, however, aren't exactly lighting things up offensively. They've averaged just 93.3 points in their last three games and turned the ball over 39 times in the past two.
''We are coming around,'' Duncan insisted. ''I think defensively, we are a lot further along than offensively. We're still being unselfish and moving the ball around (but) people are still trying to figure out when and where their shots are."