Tonight's contest will mark the first time that the Southwest Division rivals have met since the Spurs knocked Dallas out of the playoffs last season.
Two of the NBA's marquee franchises over the past decade, the Spurs have amassed 11 straight 50-win seasons and Dallas currently has 10, the second- and third-longest streaks in NBA history since the league went to the 82-game schedule in 1967. The two clubs have met five times in the postseason during that span, with San Antonio taking three of those series, including last year's triumph in six games during the Western Conference quarterfinals.
The Spurs, who are off to the best start in franchise history and an NBA-best 13-1, are coming off a tough 113-109 overtime victory in Minnesota on Wednesday. Manu Ginobili led a fourth-quarter rally and Matt Bonner drilled the go-ahead three-pointer with 49.7 seconds left in the extra frame in that one.
The Spurs won despite another incredible effort from Kevin Love, who had a career-high 32 points and 22 rebounds for his second 30/20 contest of this season. He had 31 points and 31 boards in a win over the Knicks on November 12.
Ginobili scored 26 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, as the Spurs came back from 21 points down to beat the Timberwolves for the 13th straight time. Richard Jefferson added 19 points and Tony Parker 18 for the Spurs. Tim Duncan recorded nine points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who didn't lead in the game until the extra session.
"I don't think it was a great game today, but the fourth quarter we started making a few shots," Ginobili said. "We adjusted defensively and we made a couple big threes. The one by Matt Bonner in overtime was huge, but we're not happy with the way we played. There were some key plays we got a little bit lucky."
San Antonio will be aiming for its first 13-game run tonight since Feb. 13- March 13, 2007. Meanwhile, the franchise record for consecutive wins is 17, set from Feb. 29-March 31, 1996.
The Mavs won their third straight game on Wednesday, taking care of another division rival Oklahoma City, 111-103. Dirk Nowitzki poured in 34 points in that one as Dallas shut down the Thunder in the fourth quarter to pull out the decision.
Tyson Chandler tallied 17 points and 18 rebounds, and Caron Butler chipped in 15 points for Dallas, which won the fourth quarter, 36-22, en route to the third straight win.
Jason Terry finished with 10 points for the Mavs and Jason Kidd tallied eight points and 12 assists.
"The thing I like about this team, this is the tightest-knit team that we've had since I've been here," said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle. "These guys are really close, they never quit on a game, they never quit on a situation. They keep encouraging each other. We just look for good things to happen."