Dallas (20-15) at Sacramento (27-08) – 7:00pm
This inter-state battle has been dominated by the Spurs recently as they have won 6 straight. Both teams are in playoff contention although the Spurs are still the class of the West, winning in overtime last night in a thriller against Memphis. The Mavericks meanwhile are looking to re-establish themselves as legit contenders in the West and with the revitalization of Dirk Nowitzki and the reeducation of Monta Ellis. Should be a thriller in Texas tonight as these two go head to head.
Dirk Nowitzki vs Tim Duncan
Is there really another matchup to watch? Two future Hall-of-Famers: one the model of consistency and class, the other an international legend and a innovator of a the game. They will clash head-to-head on both sides of the court as Dirk is coming in at 21.1 ppg along with 5.9 rpg and Duncan is dropping in 14.5 ppg and 9.7 rpg. I shouldn’t have to go into detail about each of their games but in case you weren’t aware, Duncan has a plethora of low-post moves and mid-range, elbow shots and Nowitzki will attack with turn-around jumpers and outside shots to go along with inside moves as well. It should be fun to see them challenge each other tonight. I recommend watching them closely. It is the little things that make them so good, especially their off-ball movements. Enjoy these two legends tonight.
Monta Ellis vs Gregg Popovich and his coaching magic
Monta Ellis is an enigmatic talent who’s offensive skills make coaches salivate and his decision-making and attitude throw-up. He has had a rebound year in Dallas, averaging almost 20 points and playing a much better, much more controlled thanks to Rich Carlisle and the staff in Dallas. But this is a tough matchup because Pop is one of the best coaches of all time. Look for Coach Popovich to put multiple defenders on Ellis. Not only that, look for Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Tony Parker, and others on Ellis offensively as he has lapses defensively. Frustrating Ellis will throw him off his game and give the Spurs another edge.
Spurs over Mavericks – 94 to 90
Two very good teams with multiple legends and future Hall-of-Famers. It should be a great game but the Spurs are at home so look for them to pull out the close one!