- All-Star forward Tim Duncan stayed home in San Antonio and will miss his second straight game with a sore left knee. Second-year forward Kawhi Leonard is available, however, after missing Wednesday’s 106-102 victory against New Orleans with a lacerated left knee. The Spurs have won three straight and seven of the last nine meetings against the Mavericks.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not travel with the team due to an illness. His return to the bench tomorrow against Phoenix is up in the air. “He got hit pretty hard by this and he’s very cautious about exposing the team to it,” said assistant coach Mike Budenholzer. “He’ll make a decision for what’s best for him or the team, but he’s not well.”
- The Mavericks lost the first two meetings with the Spurs this season by a combined 63 points, but have been playing some of their best basketball lately with wins in five of their last six games. Balanced, unselfish offense has been the key during that stretch, with at least six players scoring in double figures for Dallas in five straight games. It’s only the second time in franchise history the club has had a streak that long (April 5-13, 1986).
- The Mavericks haven’t played since Sunday’s 111-105 victory in Orlando. Coach Rick Carlisle said they used the four-day break to improve existing conditions, rather than add any new wrinkles. “Each day was a little different in how we approached it,” he said. “We had to clean some things up. We had to get better at some things, revisit some of our slippages we’ve had in our foundation stuff, and work on a lot of different situations.”