While Dallas will have one of its stars back on the court, San Antonio will still be without its best player as the Mavericks try for their first season sweep of the Spurs.
Point guard Steve Nash is expected to be back in the lineup after missing Dallas’ last two games with a stomach virus, but Spurs forward Tim Duncan will miss his fourth straight game because of a knee injury.
“He’s the floor general out there,” Mavs forward Antawn Jamison said about Nash. “He definitely puts us on another level. He’s one of the best point guards in the league.”
The Timberwolves turned a five-point halftime lead into a blowout Wednesday, outscoring the Mavs 54-35 in the final two quarters to end Dallas’ six-game winning streak.
“If we want to do big things in the playoffs, we need to get this behind us, turn the page and get ready for San Antonio,” Dallas swingman Josh Howard said. “We had a little glitch tonight and need to get over it.”
Dallas fell 4 1/2 games behind first-place Minnesota in the Midwest Division and a half-game behind the second-place Spurs. The Mavs have a tough upcoming schedule with contests at San Antonio, Houston and Sacramento in the next week.
Duncan injured his knee in San Antonio’s 115-91 loss at Dallas on Feb. 26, but the Spurs have stepped up to win two of three without the two-time defending league MVP.
Before last week’s blowout loss, San Antonio suffered a pair of three-point defeats in the first two meetings this season with Dallas. The Mavs have already locked up the season series for the first time since 1989-90, and now look to sweep it for the first time in the 24-year history of this Texas rivalry.
San Antonio beat Seattle 88-84 at home on Wednesday as Tony Parker made two baskets and a pair of free throws down the stretch to help the Spurs hold on after nearly blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs wasted a 14-point lead in an 81-80 home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
“I don’t know that anybody celebrated too much over this victory because of what we did last home game,” Spurs forward Bruce Bowen said Wednesday. “It’s a deflating feeling. We had the opportunity to be 3-0 without Tim, instead we’re 2-1. It happens and hopefully we’ve learned from it.”