Spurs at Mavs Preview: A 'Great Opportunity' To Again Be The 'Big Brother'

Mike Fisher

DALLAS - Some day, maybe the Dallas Mavericks can vault back above the San Antonio Spurs to recapture the elusive "big-brother'' role in the rivalry. Heck, maybe today is that "some day.''

"This is a tough homestand," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said after a Saturday win at the AAC over the defending champion Raptors with a glance ahead to tonight. "It's a great opportunity, certainly, to be home. We'll find out a lot. I don't know exactly what it will tell me or us, but the opportunity to compete at home in front of your fans, it's a big deal and it's a big opportunity."

What can tonight's 7:30 tip against the Spurs tell us? Well, given that Dallas is 7-5 but only 3-3 at home, and given that San Antonio is just 5-8, with five consecutive losses and failures in eight of its last 10?

Tonight can tell us that the Mavs are better than the Spurs. That's your opportunity.

The Mavericks handled the Raptors, 110-102, with Luka Doncic contributing 26 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Kristaps Porzingis was right there with him as the 7-3 star added 20 points and tied a career-best with 15 rebounds. (Game story here.)

"We made some real progress as a team, especially with that first unit,'' said Carlisle, who said that KP can "score 20 in his sleep'' and that Doncic is "a beast.'' (Check out Monday Mavs Donuts for more on "Sleeping Beauty and The Beast.'')

Traditionally speaking, this looks like a challenge tonight, and for the rest of the week. After all, the Spurs, Warriors (Wednesday's visitor) and Cavaliers (Friday's AAC foe) have won five of the past six league NBA titles.

The Spurs, though, are struggling in support of LaMarcus Aldridge. Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan are certainly capable of flicking the switch ... but for the first time in a long time - Dallas' NBA title-contention time - Dallas might actually be better than San Antonio.

That is reason enough. That is opportunity enough.

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