Mavs ready to answer critics against Spurs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Michael Finley finally seems comfortable with the San Antonio Spurs, and that could present a big problem for his old team. The Dallas Mavericks will get a close look at their former captain Thursday night in a matchup of clubs with the best records in the Western Conference. Dallas, winners of 19 of 20, are 45-11 this season. The Spurs are 44-12.

Finley has struggled with his shooting much of the season, but on Monday he made all eight of his attempts, including five 3-pointers, in a 121-93 rout of the New York Knicks. Since the All-Star break he has gone 10-for-17 behind the arc.

“I don’t really worry about how many shots I’ve made or missed,” he said after his 22-point performance, one short of his season high. “I was just taking good shots. It just felt good leaving my hands.”

Dallas guard Jason Terry said the Mavericks will be OK on Thursday if they don’t let the Spurs dictate the tempo.

“I like our chances,” said Terry, who scored 24 in Monday’s 104-92 win over Philadelphia. “It’s going to be a hostile environment. They are the champions, so it is on us to go in there and play with energy and play our game.”

The Mavericks and Spurs have split the two games played in Dallas this season. They meet for the fourth time April 7 in San Antonio.

Dallas got a brief scare against the 76ers when Dirk Nowitzki limped off the court in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, but he came back in the fourth and is expected to play Thursday. Also expected back are guard Josh Howard, who missed Monday’s game with a sprained ankle, and forward Keith Van Horn, who sat out with an upset stomach.

San Antonio has won all four of its outings since the All-Star Game despite Tim Duncan’s scoring lull.

Leave a Reply