SB Mavericks set for trip to Jacksonville and Championship Finals rematch

By Kirk Copeland
(318) 525-8853 cell

Thursday, January 29th

(Shreveport, LA.) – The highly-anticipated ABA Championship Finals rematch is finally here, and the Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks and Jacksonville Giants are ready to resume their epic rivalry.

Saturday night at 7 p.m., the top-ranked Mavericks and the #2-ranked Giants tip-off for the second time this season, this time at Jacksonville’s Veterans Memorial Arena. Shreveport-Bossier defeated Jacksonville 113-96 on December 13 at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live and on replay on and the WatchESPN app for mobile devices.

“This is what we practice so hard for from the first day of training camp,” said Mavs center Kenneth Cooper after his squad dispatched the Baytown Bandits 152-66 Sunday. “Jacksonville is our toughest rival, and any athlete loves to play in a rivalry game. It brings out the best in you.”

Since that December contest, neither team has lost a game, and neither has been particularly challenged.

The Mavericks (18-0) have rolled to nine straight wins since the win over Jacksonville, including a 127-83 walloping of then #2-ranked Bowling Green January 10. Shreveport-Bossier has won a professional basketball record 78 consecutive games, and is a perfect 52-0 since moving to northwest Louisiana in 2013.

The Giants, not to be outdone, have peeled off 12 straight victories and now stand at 17-1. Newcomer R.J. Wright scored 29 points in a win over Fayetteville Saturday, while veteran center and former ABA Most Valuable Player Jermaine “Slim” Bell, despite some nagging injuries, is playing at an elite level again. Point guard Anthony Lumpkin leads the Giants offense, and put up a game-high 26 points Sunday against Fayetteville.

“We’ve had some good leadership and solid defense (since the last contest against Shreveport-Bossier),” said Jacksonville head coach Kevin Waters. “We’ve had some roster moves the past couple of weeks and we hope to have the team in playoff form for the rematch.”

Mavericks head coach Steve Tucker, who stands at six wins away from an unprecedented 200 career ABA victories, recognizes the challenge put before him and his team.

“This will be the biggest challenge in my seven years with the Mavericks,” said Tucker. “Jacksonville has regrouped and gotten back on the winning track, and Coach Waters always gets the best out of his players. Hopefully we can get it done.

“We’re sitting with the toughest part of our schedule ahead of us, and our goal is to get in top form in time for the playoffs and finals. That starts this Saturday when we go play our biggest rivals in a huge game.”

This contest is not just a big game for the Mavs and the Giants. ABA chief executive officer Ron Tilley knows what this rivalry means to the league as a whole.

“Shreveport-Bossier and Jacksonville are the two premier teams in the ABA,” said Tilley from his office in Arizona last week. “A rivalry of this magnitude can only be good for the two teams, as well as our league. The Mavericks and Giants are the two shining members of this league, and that makes for exciting basketball for all of professional sports, not just the ABA.”

Tickets for 2014-15 Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks games are on sale now at or at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum box office, which can be reached at (318) 631-4930.

The Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks and KSLA News 12 have partnered to give you the latest Mavs news and fun giveaways right on your smartphone. All you have to do is text “Mavericks” to 81212 to get involved

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