The Battle of Texas resumes this Wednesday when the Dallas Mavericks host the San Antonio Spurs. Are the Spurs healthy enough to beat the NBA odds?
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 – 8:30 PM ET at American Airlines Center
The Southwest Division wasn’t supposed to be this bad. They only have two winning teams coming out of the All-Star break: the San Antonio Spurs (18-14 SU and ATS) and the Dallas Mavericks (18-16 SU, 15-19 ATS). And as you can tell by those ATS records, it was a disappointing first half for the Mavericks. Aside from Luka Doncic, they’ve been average at best – and average won’t cut it in the Western Conference.
The Spurs, on the other hand, have been a pleasant surprise after missing the playoffs last year for the first time since the Clinton Administration. They’ll be eager to get back on the court and open up some more room between themselves and Dallas in the Western standings – but who will suit up for them on Wednesday? COVID-19 protocols could keep three of San Antonio’s players on the shelf. Things look promising enough to put an early lean on the Spurs in this matchup.
The White Zone
The three Spurs in question are Derrick White (plus-0.2 VORP), Rudy Gay (plus-0.1 VORP) and Devin Vassel (plus-0.3 VORP). They’ve been in protocol since mid-February; San Antonio had several other players out of commission, so they had to pause their schedule for 10 days until they had enough warm bodies to put on the court. Once they did, the Spurs went 2-3 SU and ATS before the All-Star break, although that included a competitive 124-113 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets as 4-point road dogs.
Given how long it’s been, there’s a good chance White, Gay, and Vassel will all be back on Wednesday. It will probably take a game or two for them to shake off the rust, but getting White back in uniform is key. The Spurs went 4-0 SU and ATS after promoting their oft-injured point guard to the starting lineup, following his return from a fractured toe. Gay is a stop-gap measure at age 34, but he’s still a useful veteran, and a steadying presence for rookies like Vassel, San Antonio’s first-round pick (No. 11 overall) in 2020. Vassel’s defense has been impressive enough to earn him regular minutes in head coach Gregg Popovich’s rotation.
The Mavericks could use some of those defensive chops. Doncic (plus-2.7 VORP) is good at both ends of the court, but far better with the ball in his hands. Kristaps Porzingis (plus-0.4 VORP), on the other hand, has regressed on defense, becoming a one-way player in the same vein as Tim Hardaway Jr (plus-0.4 VORP). Josh Richardson (minus-0.2 VORP) can’t seem to do anything right at either end. Dallas may be the healthier team coming out of the break, but given their performance thus far, the Spurs look like they’ll be the right choice for your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Spurs +5.5 (-110) at BetMGM