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3 things to watch for as the Mavericks clash with the Bulls

It’s the second meeting between the two teams who both are looking for their fifth win on the season.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After a convincing win against the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night, the Dallas Mavericks (4-8) are set to face off with the Chicago Bulls (4-9) for the second time this season.

Last time out the Mavs were able to pick up their second win of the season defeating the Bulls 115-109. Wesley Matthews led Dallas with 20 points, and DeAndre Jordan posted a monstrous 18 points and 16 rebounds. Zach LaVine caused the Mavs fits with 34 points on 11-of-15 shooting.

Both squads have won two of the last three games, and the Mavs specifically are looking to build momentum before facing the Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. For Dallas, after beating a potential playoff hopeful in the Thunder, beating the Bulls would be a positive step in the right direction after a slow start. Here’s what to watch for Monday night.

Dorian Finney-Smith’s continued development

After receiving endless praise from the coaching staff during the offseason, it’s been a perfect start for Finney-Smith. On the season he’s averaging eight points and four rebounds while shooting an absurd 45 percent from three. His defense has been disruptive, and he’s shown the willingness to do the dirty work necessary to stay in games. And with Wesley Matthews listed as doubtful, Finney-Smith might push for 30-plus minutes against the Bulls.

Finney-Smith should have probably received more run against LaVine in the first matchup, but he’ll likely get all he wants against the Bulls’ young up-and-comer tonight. Tonight is the perfect opportunity for DFS to showcase why he deserves a much more prominent role moving forward.

Luka is in a groove

In his last three games, Doncic is averaging and incredible 23 points, six rebounds and six assists while registering a 57/40/93 shooting split. It’s astonishing, really, how Doncic seems to get better each game. On Monday, he recorded a career-best eight assists, and it just felt like the Mavericks finally ran the offense through Doncic first and let everything else flow from that.

Dennis Smith Jr. progressing

It seems like just yesterday Smith appeared hopeless in learning to play off the ball. But now, his five point dud against the Los Angeles Lakers and six turnover output against the New York Knicks appear to be just minor blips in his continuous development as a cornerstone piece for the Mavericks. In his last four games, Smith is pumping in 16 points while shooting 50 percent from the field including 67 percent from deep. He still appears to be struggling reading the defense off the pick and roll, and turnovers are still all too common, but he’s making strides scoring the ball efficiently. Baby steps are good for the 21-year-old guard.

How to watch

The game tips at 7:00 pm CST and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.