Spurs (5-8) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7-5)
When, where: Monday, 7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center
TV: KENS 5, 7 p.m.
All-time series record: Spurs lead 112-68
Last season: Spurs won series 4-0
Last meeting: Spurs 105, Mavericks 94, April 10, AT&T Center
Spurs' last game: Lost to Portland Trail Blazers 121-116, Saturday, AT&T Center
Mavs' last game: Beat Toronto Raptors 110-102, Saturday, Dallas
Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 2-8, lost five
Mavs' last 10 games/streak: 5-5, won one
Spurs' injury/inactive report: Forward Drew Eubanks (G League), out; guard/forward Keldon Johnson (G League); out; forward Luka Samanic (G League), out; guard Quindarry Weatherspoon (G League), out.
Mavs' injury/inactive report: Guard Antonius Cleveland (G League), out; guard/forward Josh Reaves (G League), out; forward Isaiah Roby (G League), out.
Notable: Monday night's clash with the Mavs is the start of a four-game road trip for the Spurs. The game will be broadcast by KENS 5, the Official Television Station of the San Antonio Spurs.
- The Silver and Black play at Washington on Wednesday and end the four-game trip with a back-to-back against Philadelphia and the New York Knicks on Friday and Saturday. The Spurs opened the season with a 120-111 victory against the Knicks on Oct. 23 at the AT&T Center.
- San Antonio has yielded an average of 121.8 points during its five-game losing skid. The Silver and White haven't dropped five in a row since the 2010-11 season, when they lost six straight in March and April. They went on to finish the regular season with 61 wins.
Burdened by their longest losing streak in eight years, the Spurs are becoming increasingly frustrated as they try to break back into the victory column.
Coming off a 121-116 defeat to Portland on Saturday at the AT&T Center, the Silver and Black have dropped five straight since a home win against Oklahoma City on Nov. 7. The Spurs (5-7) have lost eight of their last 10 games since starting the season 3-0.
So what can coach Gregg Popovich do to help the Silver and Black break out of their early-season problems?
“You just keep teaching,” Popovich said. “They keep practicing. You just see who learns, who comes together. A lot of it is their desire, how badly they want it. When are you tired of losing? When are you going to get a straight look at yourselves and say it’s the same mistakes, over and over and over again?”
Popovich did not let himself and his coaching staff off the hook, either.
"We make mistakes, too," he said. "Maybe we should have different people on the court at different times in the game. We're learning a little bit about that. After last year, we kind of thought we knew who played well together and needed to be on the court together."
More than anything, Popovich said, the players must remain true to themselves.
"All in all, I think they've got to stay the course, believe in each other, as we believe that if they do that, the worm will turn," Popovich said. ".But you have to believe and you have to want it.
"We can teach. We can demand. We can counsel. We can show film. We can do all those things, but they've got to play."
As they start a four-game road trip Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks (7-5), the Silver and Black find themselves trying to stay positive and confident.
"It's tough but everybody knows what we're capable of," guard Bryn Forbes said. "I don't think spirits are down. It's just a little bit frustrating to lose two games like that that we couldn't, should've, won. We had full control and then let it go. It's frustrating, but we'll bounce back."
San Antonio hasn't lost six in a row since the 2010-11 season, when it dropped six straight in March and April. The Spurs went on to finish the regular season with 61 wins.
The Silver and Black fell behind Portland by 23 points early in the second quarter Saturday night, but rallied and closed the gap to eight at halftime. They outscored the Trail Blazers 38-24 in the third period to take a 96-90 lead into the final period.
The Spurs went up by 15 (106-91) on a 10-foot turnaround jumper by DeMar DeRozan with 8:32 left, but they couldn't sustain the momentum.
Portland tied the game at 111 on a layup by guard CJ McCollum, who led all scorers with 32 points, and the Blazers went on top to stay when Rodney Hood hit a shot to make it 113-111 with 1:21 left.
"Absolutely frustrating," said Spurs Forbes, who finished with 17 points. "Last couple of games, we had leads in the fourth quarter that kind of unraveled. Those would have been some big wins for us, would have put us over .500, I think. Tough losses."
The Silver and Black blew a 16-point first-half lead in a 111-109 road loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday. night. San Antonio lost despite outscoring the home team 39-36 from the three-point line. The Spurs shot 50 percent (13-26) from beyond the arc, and Orlando was 12 of 29 for 41.4 percent. The Magic shot the same percentage overall (36-87).
The Silver and Black outshot Orlando from the field, converting 45 of 89 attempts for 50.6 percentage.
Asked what he thinks the Spurs can do to stop "unraveling" at key times in games, Forbes said: "I think it's execution. Especially late in games, execution is everything. It's turnovers at the wrong time, other team hitting big shots. It makes it difficult down the stretch. I think we've got to be just more solid."
Popovich scoffed when a reporter suggested that perhaps the team's problems could be attributed to players still trying to mesh early in the season.
“I’m not buying that,” Popovich said. “It’s the same group as last year, isn’t it, basically, plus Dejounte (Murray)? I don’t want to use that as an excuse."
Murray, the team's starting point guard, missed the 2018-19 season with a knee injury.
"It was a more challenging situation last year," Popovich said. "DeMar (DeRozan, who was traded by Toronto to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard last July) just got off the bus, basically. He just walked in. He didn't know a damned thing about our system or anything like that. He did a heck of a job trying to do it.
"Dejounte (knee injury) wasn't here all year. (Guard) Derrick White (foot injury) wasn't there, what, the first 10 games or something? Bryn Forbes was our point guard. He's not a point guard."
The Spurs finished seventh in the NBA's ultra-competitive Western Conference to extend their playoff streak to 22 seasons, trying the league record. They lost a grinding seven-game series in the first round to No. 2 seed Denver.
"Took the No. 2 team to seven games," Popovich said. "Could have won the damned thing. Blew a couple of games. It's the same team, in my opinion, coming back. Plus, you've got to integrate Dejounte into it. He's going to take a little time to get the rust off."
"But thus far, has not clicked. So, we're looking for consistent competitiveness, consistent execution, some leadership because we haven't had much in any of those three categories on a consistent basis. It's been spotty here and there, but it's got to be way more consistent."