Lone Star State Battle

The Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs have both been adjusting to the return of a point guard this week.

Although Jason Kidd's absence from Dallas was about 11 years longer than Tony Parker's time away from San Antonio, it's the Mavericks that are clicking offensively going into Thursday's meeting at the At&T Center.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Antonio -5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 181.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas +5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Mavs (38-19) lost their first game with Kidd after acquiring their former No. 2 overall draft pick from New Jersey, but they've since won three straight, scoring at least 98 points in all three games. Kidd has totaled 40 assists in those contests.

The Spurs (38-17), meanwhile, scored only five points in the first quarter of Monday's game against Atlanta, but recovered for an 89-74 win - their sixth in a row - in Parker's third game back. He missed the previous nine with an ankle injury.

"He's coming around," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "It's going to take a couple of games. He'll have some ups and downs for a little while."

For Kidd, it's been mostly ups since the trade. He had last played in Dallas during the 1996-97 season, when the Mavericks traded him to Phoenix, but he's already changed the mindset of his new team to be more willing to pass and run.

The Mavs only have assists on 55 percent of their field goal this season, but that number is 68 percent in the last three games.

"It's infectious. Everybody is infected with the passing disease. It's fun to be a part of," Dallas guard Jason Terry said. "How can you not enjoy running up and down the court with him out there?"

Kidd had 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the Mavs' 102-94 win over Chicago on Monday, narrowly missing out on his 100th career triple-double.

Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Jerry Stackhouse matched a season high with 23 points and center Erick Dampier had season highs of 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

Dallas won despite committing 21 turnovers.

"It was really fun to watch," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. "We just weren't a very good passing team and now we're trying to become a better passing team. Because of that, you may have some mistakes. But the way we're starting to move the ball, I like it."

The Mavericks could get some more inside help Thursday. They signed free agent Jamaal Magloire on Wednesday with hopes of replacing DeSagana Diop, who went to the Nets in the Kidd deal.

San Antonio also recently obtained a big man, as Kurt Thomas - acquired from Seattle last Wednesday - made his Spurs debut with nine rebounds in 13 minutes against the Hawks.

The Spurs shot 1-of-17 from the field in the first quarter, setting franchise lows for points and field-goal percentage in a quarter, but they outscored Atlanta 59-37 in the second half.

Duncan, whose career high of 53 points came against the Mavericks in December 2001, had 23 points and 10 rebounds Monday. Parker played his best game since returning, totaling 15 points and nine assists.

"I finally felt a little bit better," Parker said. "I really got my second wind in the second half. The first half was not our best but the second was much better. I found a rhythm I felt myself coming back."

The Spurs have won 10 of their last 11, allowing an average of 87.1 points over that stretch while retaking the Southwest Division lead.

They're 23-5 at home this season, though they'd lost three straight to the Mavs in San Antonio before beating them 97-95 there without Duncan on Dec. 5. Manu Ginobili had 37 points in that game, while Parker added 23.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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