Before Tip-Off: Leonard back in starting lineup vs. Mavericks


It’s almost tip-off time here at the AT&T Center as the San Antonio Spurs (20-8) prepare to host the visiting Dallas Mavericks (12-15).

The Spurs will have Kawhi Leonard back in the starting lineup according to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

Though it’s a new Mavericks team with a lot of new faces, Popovich says he isn’t as prepared for the Mavericks as in years past due to the new number of faces in the blue and white.

On Dallas’ current leading scorer, O.J. Mayo (19.8 points), formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies, Popovich says Mayo has always been a dangerous player offensively.

“He’s a great shooter, great scorer; he’s a very aggressive offensive player. He’s just highlighted more, but he’s always been dangerous.”

Popovich also spoke briefly on why rookie Nando De Colo has seen more playing time than expected. Popovich credited De Colo’s ability to make good decisions with the basketball and make everyone better on the court. He also said De Colo’s defense is much better than the team expected of him as well. Popovich did mention De Colo’s sometimes peculiar passes.

“Every once in a while, he pulls a Maravich pass,” said Popovich, “but he’s not Pistol Pete.”