Tonight's matchup against the Chicago Bulls is Dallas' last chance for a win before the season starts, while the Bulls are 3-4 in the preseason, coming off a win over the Pacers.
And the best news of all: according to Rick Carlisle in the morning shootaround, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams will be playing. YAY!
Revise all your season predictions, kids. The Mavs have some hope after all.
What did the Bulls do this offseason?
Chicago's big offseason move was firing head coach Tom Thibideau and replacing him with Fred Hoiberg, previously the head coach of the Iowa State men's basketball program.
On the court, the team looks much the same as it did last year after signing Jimmy Butler to a five-year contract, keeping the team's core intact.
It's the preseason... can I expect to see any players I've heard of?
Dallas, due to both injuries and coach's decisions, has used the preseason to test its B-team, testing some of its younger talent as the team makes final decisions about this year's roster. As noted above, however, Wes Matthews and Deron Williams will be making their preseason debuts in this preseason finale, and this appears to mean (barring further injury) that they'll be ready for the regular season.
In contrast, the Bulls' starters have seen more action this preseason and could see even more tonight as the team prepares for a significant line-up change: Coach Hoiberg told reporters that second-year standout Nikola Mirotic will likely start over Joakim Noah this season.
Tonight's game may also be the preseason debut of Derrick Rose, who broke his face (a left orbital fracture) during practice over the summer because of course he did. Rose is apparently still experiencing double vision, but expects to play unless it worsens.
How do I watch?
This game will not be televised in Dallas, though if you live in the Chicago area, you can watch it on CSN Chicago. If you have NBA League Pass, you should also be able to watch. Tip-off is at 8:00 PM Eastern.
(Update, 5:25 p.m.: it was just announced that tonight's game will be streaming on mavs.com)