DALLAS - It's a good thing the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs meet tonight at the AAC in a game that starts early, at 7 p.m. Because the way these two teams are scoring, this game could last all night.
Dallas is averaging 117 points per game, putting the Mavs in the top four in the NBA in that category all year long. The Spurs' offensive numbers aren't quite that impressive, but maybe San Antonio (12-17 but winners of six of their last 10) found a groove in its last outing, Monday's 145-115 rout in Memphis.
Bolstering the Mavs' chances to continue reversing the concept of being the Spurs' "little brother'' is the anticipated return tonight of star Luka Doncic, who has missed four games with an ankle sprain but practiced fully this week in anticipation of his return here.
"I'm feeling good," Doncic said. "A lot of things that we have to do, and we're just taking care of it. We'll see how it progresses. I just want to go back on the court to play, because I'm competitive. I just wanted it to get better quick, get back as soon as possible."
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The Mavericks are not conducting a morning shootaround, so we'll know more about Luka's availability in the 5 p.m. hour, starting with coach Rick Carlisle's media address at 5:15.
"He seems to be doing better every day," Carlisle said earlier this week. "He'll certainly be upgraded. He's doing well. ... Things are looking better and better."
Dallas will be better and better, overall, with Doncic back. The Mavs split their four games without him but maintain a record of 19-10. Luka exited the lineup averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 25 games, and maybe it'll take a little time for him to return back to nightly triple-double territory. But the Doncic threat simplifies things for his supporting cast, featuring Kristaps Porzingis, who has become a consistent 20/10 guy for the Mavs.
“They’ve played good,” Doncic said of KP and his mates in Luka's absence. “We got a great team. We had some tough matchups. And they played great.''
They'll be greater still if Doncic can help Dallas match LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan bucket-for-bucket ... and then some.