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3 things to watch as the Mavericks host the Bulls

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Mavericks, Bulls, and a fresh serving of Friday night hoops.

NBA: Preseason-Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks (13-26) are back in action as they take on the Bulls (13-25) tonight in Dallas at the American Airlines Center.

This will be the Mavericks’ second game of their four-game home stand after a heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, where Stephen Curry hit a game-winning three to beat Dallas 125-122.

The Chicago Bulls had just three wins on the board after 23 games, but have turned their season around in dramatic fashion winning 10 of their last 15.

Here are three things to watch out for in tonight’s game.

Nikola Mirotic is a difference maker

The Bulls forward was out for the first 23 games of the season, after an altercation with teammate Bobby Portis where he reportedly punched Mirotic in the head, giving him fractures and a concussion. That story is wild, but the two seem to have been able to move on and, as they say, “winning cures everything.”

Mirotic is averaging 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 49.2 percent from the field (46.3 percent from three).

The Battle of the Benches

Two positive things about these teams is their firepower off the bench with the Bulls second unit ranking eighth in scoring, while the Mavs sit at number 11. On the other end of the spectrum however, the starting unit scoring has some less desirable numbers, with the Bulls ranking 26th and the Mavs 24th.

It’s probably fair to say that this one is going to come down to whichever bench can carry their team better.

#Teamtank

Look, you may be on #teamtank or you may not. Either way is fine by me honestly, but this game might have some ramifications on draft order with it being so tight at the moment.

According to Tankathon, the Mavericks currently have the sixth-best odds of acquiring the first pick of the draft with 6.3 percent while the Bulls are hot on their heels with 4.4 percent.

How to watch

Tonight’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m. Central. You can watch it on Fox Sports Southwest locally or on NBA League Pass outside of the Dallas area.