The San Antonio Spurs and host Dallas Mavericks will be playing for nothing but pride on Sunday when they conclude their 2022-23 seasons with a low-key Lone Star State rivalry game
Neither team will participate in the playoffs. With Houston also on the bottom of the Western Conference standings, it's the first time that all three Texas teams will miss the postseason since the Mavericks became a franchise in 1980
The Mavericks (38-43) were eliminated from postseason consideration with a 115-112 loss at home to the Chicago Bulls on Friday. That game has sparked an investigation by the NBA because Dallas opted to sit out several key players in a game that ultimately eliminated it from play-in contention
Luka Doncic, who played just 13 minutes, scored 13 points to match the output of McKinley Wright IV and Markieff Morris for the Mavericks' high scorers in the loss
Wright's bucket with 39.2 seconds to play capped a late run that got Dallas to within a point. Wright missed two 3-point attempts in the final seconds while attempting to force overtime.
The Mavericks fell from sixth place in the West to 11th in the final three weeks and will miss the postseason for the first time since 2018-19
"I think understanding our record, being eliminated (from the play-in) isn't something that we want to be at," coach Jason Kidd said. "We got some work to do this summer. But understand, things happen. It wasn't our season. We've got to learn from this, and we'll get better.
"The big thing is we just have to get better all the way around."
Dallas, which has dropped eight of its past 10 games, will be without Doncic (left thigh injury recovery), Kyrie Irving (right foot injury recovery), Reggie Bullock (rest), Josh Green (rest), Tim Hardaway Jr. (left ankle soreness) and Maxi Kleber (right hamstring injury recovery) for Sunday's contest.
San Antonio (21-60) finishes up a dreadful year in Big D after dropping a 151-131 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday afternoon.
Julian Champagnie led San Antonio with 24 points in the loss. Keita Bates-Diop scored 22 points, Tre Jones had his second career triple double (21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds) and Malaki Branham added 17 points.
The game was the second of a two-game set in Austin, Texas, for the Spurs, who played without injured starters Keldon Johnson (right foot), Jeremy Sochan (right knee) and Zach Collins (finger laceration)
Jones' triple-double was his second in his past four games.
"Minnesota wasn't missing a lot of shots toady, so I don't know how there was even 10 rebounds to get," Jones said. "I feel like I am in a good position right now. I made a lot of strides this year. Gotten a lot better in a lot of different areas that I wanted to."
The 151 points surrendered by the Spurs was their most of the year and the most ever given up in regulation by a Gregg Popovich-coached team
The Spurs will have to win Sunday to avoid matching their second worst record in franchise history, with the dubious mark of 20-62 set in 1996-97. San Antonio finished 21-61 in 1988-89
--Field Level Media