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Mavericks, Grizzlies both motivated to win Wednesday, avoid Spurs in first round

Apr 16, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game One Getty Images

It’s a frying pan or fire choice — would you rather face the relentless precision of the San Antonio Spurs or Kevin Durant and the athleticism of the Thunder in the first round?

Memphis and Dallas would both rather have the Thunder, if you don’t mind. Both teams were swept by the Spurs this season. Not just swept, crushed.

The winner of the Mavericks at Dallas gets the Thunder, the loser gets San Antonio — so both teams are very motivated to win. Jeff Caplan broke down the numbers for us over at NBA.com’s Hang Time blog.

Dallas’ four losses (to San Antonio) came by an average margin of 11.5 points; Memphis by 11.3. At least the Grizzlies can claim they were without big man Marc Gasol for essentially two of those games… However, fully loaded on April 6, Memphis got trounced in San Antonio, 112-92.

For offensive-minded Dallas, San Antonio simply presents an awful matchup. The Spurs’ excellent close-out defense limits the Mavs’ 3-point attempts while their precision offense dissects Dallas’ porous defense. In the four meetings, the Spurs have attempted 31 more 3s and outscored the Mavs from beyond the arc by 54 points. In their final meeting on April 10, Tony Parker didn’t play and Patty Mills did the honors, lighting up Dallas for six 3-pointers and 26 points.

I’m not a big believer in regular season meetings as great indicators of a postseason series, just because teams evolve over the course of the season (not to mention health issues, back-to-backs and other variables). However, when one team routinely crushes another one, it’s a pretty good sign of things to come.

The Spurs would likely prefer the less physical Mavericks. San Antonio will win either series, but they’ll need fewer icepacks after a game against Dallas.

There could well be first round upsets in the West, just don’t expect the Spurs to be the victims. No matter who they play.

  1. freeworld - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    the chains are off now….spursnation

  2. saint1997 - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Hope the Mavs get the Thunder I feel they could really do some damage. I really want the NBA to make a rule change here for the playoffs to make Cinderella stories more likely because that’s something that’s missing (it’s more exciting to see them succeed however lower seeds in the long run always lose out).

  3. apkyletexas - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    I always fear the Grizzlies in a playoff round. You just never know when Randolph is going to go into beast-mode and just completely dominate the paint for a week. First round series especially are too short – a couple of unfocused games against Z-Bo and Gasol and you might as well pack your bags for the summer.

  4. abchome - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    The winner will be rewarded a matchup with the Thunder, how rewarding!

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