The Dallas Mavericks (1-6) kick-off their two-game road trip as they face the Utah Jazz (3-3) in Utah at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Monday night.
The Mavs were handed a disappointing loss by the 76ers (110-112) on Saturday evening after Yogi Ferrell missed two free throws and a chance to tie the game with 0.02 seconds left.
After six games, it’s still unclear what sort of team the Utah Jazz will be this season after a promising 2016-17 campaign in which they finished fifth in the Western conference. However, their roster is filled with potential talent even after losing Gordon Hayward during the free agency period.
Here are three things to watch for as the Mavs take them on tonight.
Nerlens Noel simply can’t disappear
In 19 minutes against the 76ers, Noel posted four points and four rebounds. It really felt like that game was set up perfectly for him to have a big night and fill the stat sheet, but alas here we are again, hoping for more.
The Utah Jazz have their own talented big man in Rudy Gobert, who’s averaging 13 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks and is perpetually in the discussion for defensive player of the year.
With Gobert patrolling the paint and rolling to the rim, the Mavericks are going to have their hands very full. Noel will be key to making sure this one doesn’t get ugly fast.
Don’t underestimate Joe Ingles
Joe looks like he could be your friend’s weird dad but is actually a crucial part of this Utah Jazz roster. This season Ingles is contributing some pretty consistently good numbers with 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 49.1 percent shooting (51.4 percent from three).
His three-point shooting has been one of his key assets this season, and he can light up on any given night. The Mavs have an unfortunate tendency to act as some sort of spark plug for high voltage shooters on the opposing team, so they have to shut him down early and keep him quiet through the game.
Jeff Withey UNLEASHED
Who doesn’t love a good NBA revenge game?
Withey has played a total of 14 minutes in six games, and it’s time Rick Carlisle lets the former Utah Jazz big man fly like the majestic albatross he is.
With little to celebrate in this season outside of Dennis Smith Jr., a revenge game from Jeff Withey could lift the spirits of players and fans alike.
One can only dream.
How to watch
You can catch the game on Fox Sports Southwest (or NBA League Pass outside of the Dallas area) starting at 8:00 pm Central. Follow along with us to catch all of our game coverage!