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3 things to watch for when the Mavericks host the Clippers

Both teams bring five game win streaks to the AAC with fireworks surely set to go off in Dallas.

NBA: Preseason-Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s just stare at this graphic for a moment:

Yes, in the year of our Lord 2019, the Mavericks, according to wizardry and math (mainly math and power) are favored to win against the Los Angeles Clippers. You remember the Clippers? The ones who acquired both Kawhi Leonard AND Paul George?

The Mavericks have the best offense in the league and Luka Doncic is a legitimate MVP candidate. It’s only November, and there’s a sinking feeling the Mavericks will come crashing back down to Earth eventually, but for now I’m having lots of fun watching this team, and here’s what I’m watching for Tuesday night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. the starter

It’s possible Seth Curry got Wally Pipp’ed as Rick Carlisle announced Hardaway Jr. is the starting two guard moving forward, and let’s just all agree he’s earned it. In the last three games - all starts - he’s averaged 22 points, four assists and less than one turnover while shooting 67 percent from the field and 65 percent from three. The Mavericks have won by 48, 42 and 14 while scoring 137 or more in each.

I’ve yet to put my finger on it, but something is working, and Carlisle won’t even think about going back. With the starters, Hardaway Jr. is the clear cut third option, so maybe the neatly defined role suits the veteran gunner. Whatever it is, it’s unfair to expect this torrid pace to continue, but any regression to what we saw last season would be discouraging.

Battle of the benches

The Clippers boast one of the most explosive second units in the league led by Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Scoring 23 and 19 points per game respectively, the Clippers’ bench duo allows Los Angeles the luxury of always pressuring the opposition, no matter the time or situation.

While Dallas’ bench isn’t quite as deep, they’re still a savvy, well-rounded group with the ability to shoot, create and defend. The Mavericks have received quality bench play during this four-game win streak, but the reserves will have to bring their A game to keep up with the Clippers’ high-octane unit.

Luka Doncic vs Kawhi Leonard and Paul George

It’s wild to think, but Doncic very likely will be the best player on the floor when these two teams meet. Leonard’s resume speaks for itself, and George is working his way back into shape, though it’s not taking him long. But Doncic has been otherworldly, and most recently out-dueled James Harden with a 41/6/10 stat line. The second year superstar earned player of the week honors and is averaging 30 points, 10 rebounds and 9.8 assists on the year. Who knows how the season ends, but let’s enjoy Doncic’s brilliance as he duels two fantastic players in Leonard and George.

How to watch

The game tips off at 7:30 pm CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.