It was an up-and-down 2022 season for the San Antonio Spurs. Still, the team ended the year on a positive on Sunday, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 138-117 inside American Airlines Center. With the victory, the Spurs (22-60) finish tied with the Houston Rockets in a tie for the second-worst record, while the loss for the Mavericks (38-44) allows them to keep their draft pick this year while owning a three-percent chance of landing the top pick, according to The Smoking Cuban.
With star players absent for both teams, the Mavs’ Jaden Hardy led all players in scoring with 25 points. He was one of seven Dallas players to score in double-figures, accounting for the whole lineup with the exception of Justin Holiday. Theo Pinson had a game-high 12 assists to go with his 23 points and 13 rebounds.
For the Spurs, Dominick Barlow paced all players with 19 rebounds as San Antonio absolutely dominated the glass. Including Barlow who had 21 points off the bench to go with his rebounding, four Spurs recorded double-doubles, each with at least 10 rebounds. Sandro Mamukelashvili led the team with 23 points, while Blake Wesley edged out Tre Jones as the assist leader with nine.
An Early Lead Led to a Lot of Great Tryouts From the San Antonio Spurs
Seemingly ready to put this season behind them, yet still chomping at the bit to compete, the Spurs jumped all over the Mavericks who were recently eliminated from the postseason picture. At the end of the first quarter, San Antonio led 42-14, but that wasn’t as big as their 31-point lead in the opening frame. Perhaps getting comfortable, Dallas was able to close the gap as close as seven points before the Spurs once again put their foot on the gas.
Overall, San Antonio had better shooting percentages than the Mavericks in all areas of the game, but that tends to be given in a win. The stat that really seemed impactful was off the glass where the Spurs out-worked Dallas 77-55 in rebounding advantage, including 13 offensive boards. That played key in the visitors out-scoring the home team 62-48 in the paint and a 19-9 second-chance points difference.
As the season is now over and the front office looks to putting together next year’s roster, a number of guys made strong cases to be back with the Spurs for 2023. Two-way contract players Barlow and Julian Champagnie flashed their potential against the Mavericks. One of the stars of the final stretch of the year, however, continued to be Mamukelashvili. From dropping times to raining threes, and everything in between, his mental prowess once again matched his physical ability as he continued to make “the right play”.
There won’t be any games for the San Antonio Spurs until the Summer League, and there will surely be some new faces around. Nonetheless, things are really getting interesting for the franchise. The Spurs and the Rockets tied for the second-worst record at 22-60. This sets them up for a coin-flip to determine who will have finished the season second-to-last and third-to-last, which is key for the lottery picture.
Last year the random drawing was held about a month before the lottery.
The random drawing took place on April 18 and the lottery was held May 17 https://t.co/L8PK1q8K8k
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) April 9, 2023
Already, both teams share a 14 percent chance to land the top pick, as do the Detroit Pistons. Holding the worst record, Detroit won’t pick any lower than fifth. The second-worst, as determined by the drawing, will make their pick no later than sixth, and the third-worst no later than seventh. Each year, the drawing is about a month before the NBA Draft, and this year’s draft is on Tuesday, May 16.
Check out the full box score from NBA.com.