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3 things to watch for as the Mavericks face the Hawks

After a tough loss against the Suns, Dallas looks to bounce back.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta is currently going through an interesting time as a franchise, with a Kyle Korver deal imminent, though not finalized, and offers for Paul Millsap being entertained. They currently sit 20-16, fourth in the Eastern Conference, but without much hope of knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors. They’ve been lucky in a number of games, with a net rating that implies a 17-19 expected win-loss, per Basketball Reference. That said, they are riding a 5-game win streak with overtime victories over the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs.

Control Pace, Limit Scoring

Atlanta’s record in games they score less than 100 points in this year is 3-12. In their other games, they are 17-4. Dallas plays at the second slowest pace in the league, while Atlanta comes in as the seventh fastest. The team that imposes their will on tempo will have a significant advantage.

Capitalize on Hawks Turnovers

Atlanta will turn the ball over—their 14.3 percent turnover rate puts them 28th in the league, while Dallas forces a 15.4 percent turnover rate out of opponents, the best in the league. The key for Dallas will be turning those mistakes into points. Dallas will always have a lower points per possession after turnovers than many teams because it forces a higher proportion of dead-ball turnovers via charges and 24-second violations, but when they do grab steals or long defensive rebounds, Devin Harris, Seth Curry, and Deron Williams must be able to score or find shooters in the transition chaos.

Make Schroder Shoot

The speedy Atlanta point guard has solid vision and great burst to get into the lane and score or dump off to Dwight Howard, who has fallen off after a hot start to the season. Unfortunately for Atlanta, with Kyle Korver likely sitting or already traded by tipoff, Dallas will have an even easier time sticking to the few shooters the Hawks do have. The Schroder-Howard pick and roll can be played all dropped back in the lane, while the Schroder-Millsap pick and pop can be stifled by going under the screen and sticking close to Millsap. If Schroder can’t score, the Hawks can’t win.

How to watch

The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. central time and can be watched on FSSW or NBA League Pass.