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3 things to consider as the Mavericks host the Hornets

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards regular season to be born?

NBA: Preseason-Beijing Ducks at Dallas Mavericks Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With the regular season just days away the Dallas Mavericks aim to make it out of their final pre-season game intact. They host the Charlotte Hornets in an early game this evening.

But even thought it might not be the best game, basketball is basketball.

Here’s a couple of things to watch before you carry on with your Friday night.

How many minutes will the young guys play?

Both Dennis Smith, Jr. and Luka Doncic have ended up playing more in the three previous pre-season contests than I would have assumed. With the regular season literally days away, how much burn both guys get should be interesting.

Doncic in particular might see a fair amount of floor time as the coaching staff works him into playing shape. The reports of Doncic being out of shape have made more sense as we’ve seen him play extended stretches. That he’s still been so effective bodes well for his game translating to real games.

Can Maxi keep maxing out his preseason?

Maxi Kleber was a delightful surprise last season. With little tape, teams had no idea what to expect and Kleber contributed to a surprisingly effective bench.

Heading into 2018-19, expectations have been low. But through three pre-season games, Kleber’s been a beast on the boards, grabbing over 7 per game in under 22 minutes of action. He’s also shot 50% from beyond the arc.

Kleber’s making a strong case for minutes in a crowded (when healthy) front court.

Will anyone be at the game on time?

A 6:00 pm local start time is weird. Considering the on paper tip off is usually 90 minutes later for most Mavericks games, I suspect this game might be playing towards an empty gym.

How to watch

According to the Dallas Mavericks website, the game should be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest, though it may end up being on Fox Sports Southwest Plus. It’s on at 6:00 pm CST.