After a frustrating four-game losing streak earlier this month (separated by just a single victory from an even more frustrating six-game losing streak), the Mavericks seem to have turned a corner. They’ve won three of their last five games, and the two losses have come to the league-best Boston Celtics in overtime and to the Spurs (currently ranked third in the West) after the Mavericks led for most of the game.
Tonight, they have a good opportunity to add another game to the win column as they host the Brooklyn Nets, who after a less-terrible-than-some-of-us-expected start have fallen on hard times.
Here are three things to watch for in tonight’s game.
How Brooklyn copes with its injuries
Tonight Brooklyn will be without Jeremy Lin (who ruptured his patellar tendon opening night), D’Angelo Russell (who has no timetable to return from a knee injury), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (sprained ankle), and Allen Crabbe (who’s missed several games now with a sore back).
This isn’t a team with much depth, so expect to have a few “wait, who?” moments tonight.
Dallas is making three-point shots more consistently
After struggling to get much going offensively this season, Dallas seems to have hit its stride (sort of). While individual players occasionally got hot, the team just couldn’t seem to get all cylinders firing on any given night. But as we saw against the Spurs last night when the Mavs went 14-of-32 from behind the three-point line, the team has started to show some consistency as four players (Wesley Matthews, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, and Maxi Kleber) shot better than 60 percent from deep.
At this point, the Mavericks have the fourth-highest number of made three pointers in the league, behind, as you may have guessed, the Rockets, the Warriors, and the Celtics. And while their season-long track record isn’t particularly impressive, they’ve made them at a rate of 38.6 percent over the last five games, which is good enough for fourth in the league. The Warriors are the only other team that would appear on both top-five lists.
The Nets are among the bottom teams in the league when it comes to opponent three-point shootings. This could prove to be a favorable matchup for the Mavs.
The Mavericks’ new lineup of death and destruction
Nick wrote earlier this week about how a relatively little-used lineup is absolutely killing teams on both offense and defense.
Dirk/Dwight/Devin/Yogi/JJ were +15 tonight in 11.5 min.— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) November 28, 2017
No other group was above +4 or played more minutes. #SavvySix https://t.co/Ipdxr0lKGQ
Over the first 20 games of the season, the Barea-Dirk-Harris-Powell-Yogi lineup had played 44 minutes and appeared in eight games. Tuesday night, those five players shared the court for nearly 12 minutes and ended the evening with a plus-15, a big part of the reason Dallas was able to give San Antonio a run for its money.
This lineup shoots an astounding 48.6 percent from three, dishes way more assists than other frequently-played rotations, and rarely turns the ball over. If they can continue to do this while playing substantial minutes each game, then the Mavericks’ streak of impressive showings may not be a fluke. Keep an eye out for them tonight.
How to watch
Tonight’s game tips off at 7:30 pm Central on Fox Sports Southwest locally and on NBA League Pass outside of the Dallas area.