Pop preaches short memory in lieu of recent blowout
The smoke had barely cleared on one of the most memorable shooting nights in Spurs history last Sunday, and coach Gregg Popovich was already beseeching his team to forget it.
The Spurs made a franchise-record 20 3-pointers in a thorough 129-91 demolition of the Dallas Mavericks, hitting 66 percent from long distance to put together their most lopsided victory of the season.
“That’s not the Dallas Mavericks who we played tonight,” Popovich said after the game. “It will be a whole lot different when we play up there.”
It is a message of short memory Popovich will continue to hammer tonight, when the Spurs again square off with a struggling Dallas team, this time at the American Airlines Center.
Still looking to integrate star forward Dirk Nowitzki into the lineup after he missed the season’s first 27 games recovering from knee surgery, the Mavericks are in the throes of a five-game losing skid.
That slide has left Dallas with a 12-18 record, six games below .500 for the first time since April 2000.
For the Mavs, the third loss in that string also was the most embarrassing.
In addition to the Spurs’ long-range shooting barrage — which included a 7-for-8 3-point night from Danny Green — they also swiped a season-best 17 steals, building a lead that got as high as 46 points.
Not that the Spurs are still counting.
“That game was one of those that happens twice in a whole season,” guard Manu Ginobili said. “We definitely don’t expect anything like that again.”
Spurs forward Stephen Jackson believes the Mavericks might use the memory of last week’s beating as motivation in tonight’s rematch.
“I definitely expect a different game, a different team,” Jackson said. “They won’t want to get beat like they did last time, so I expect a hard-fought game.”
Dealing with Dirk: Tonight’s game will mark the fourth of the season for Nowitzki, an 11-time All-Star and former Most Valuable Player.
The 34-year-old German forward made his debut in the Mavs’ blowout loss in San Antonio and has averaged 7.3 points while shooting 32 percent in about 21 minutes a night off the bench.
Though it might not happen tonight, the Spurs are expecting Nowitzki to eventually return to the starting lineup and to the form that makes him a career 22.8 points-per-game scorer.
“We expect Dirk to get a lot of shots up and more and more of their offense going through him as he starts to get healthy and in condition,” Jackson said.
Neal out: Reserve guard Gary Neal is set to miss his third consecutive game with a right calf strain. He did not travel with the team to Dallas.
Go Spurs Go!
spurs saying all the righ things - just hope they act on that! If so they'l win a much more close game.
Dirk is coming right along. The Mavs are a wounded animal, aware that they need to turn things around quickly to save their season. They'll bring everything they've got tonight, so the Spurs need to be ready. Serious "trap" game.
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