The Dallas Mavericks head west to face the Golden State Warriors tonight. In an odd bit of scheduling the Mavericks face the Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, in order, for the second month in a row.
The Warriors enter with a four-game win streak, with their most impressive win against the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day. It’s a young scrappy squad looking for an identity while their superstars rehab from injury. But the Mavericks, who have been terrific on the road this season, will look for a repeat from their first matchup — a game they won 142-94.
Here’s what we’ll be watching for on Saturday night.
Finding rhythm from deep
When these teams last met it was clear that the Mavericks were too much for the Warriors...especially from outside. As is the case in many Mavericks games, the three point line tells the story. Back on November 20 the Mavericks shot 58 percent from three. You’re reading that correctly. Now re-read it. 58 PERCENT on 38 attempts from deep. If you hit 22 three pointers in a game you’re more than giving yourself a chance to put away your opponent.
The Warriors are last in the league in Opponent Three-Point Percentage, allowing teams to connect on 39 percent from long range. But in their recent win streak, most notably against the Rockets, the Warriors held those opponents to an average of 30 percent (the Rockets shot 31 percent from three). The battle at the perimeter may keep the Warriors in it, or let the Mavericks coast.
Curry finding consistency
Seth Curry has had a rollercoaster of a season in his return to the Mavericks. Seen over the summer as a key acquisition given his success in his prior stint in Dallas, Curry’s shooting is a weapon the Mavericks will need the remainder of this season.
And yet, there’s something that hasn’t clicked. He’s still shooting 40 percent from three, a great number for a team constantly shooting from deep. But his output has come in wild swings. He’s had games of 30, 26 and 20 points, coming up big against the Milwaukee Bucks in Luka Doncic’s absence. But in his last two games he’s scored one point and gone 0-of-8 from the floor (he only attempted one shot in their game against the Spurs).
Curry was out the last time the Mavericks faced the Warriors, and perhaps the combination of a young team and Curry getting to face his brother’s team may provide a boost to his night. But as Rick Carlisle continues to fine-tune roles in the rotation, it would be nice to see some consistency from the sharpshooter.
Accounting for Broekhoff
Ryan Broekhoff played some of his best basketball as a Maverick in games agains the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors. He’s looked active defensively, giving plenty of effort as a team defender and scrapping for rebounds. Add to that his ability to be a knockdown shooter, he’s doing his best to carve out a role in the rotation.
Carlisle opted to give the typical Justin Jackson minutes to The Accountant, and in Doncic’s return Thursday night Broekhoff still dressed for the game (Courtney Lee was bumped). It can be tough in Carlisle’s rotation if you’re the 9th through 12th man, but Broekhoff has shown recently he’s ready if called upon. He saw 12 minutes in their first meeting (nine points, all threes), and could see extended time tonight if the Mavericks can put the Warriors away. This could be another great opportunity for Broekhoff to inch his way into a permanent role.
How to watch
Tip-off is set for 7:30 CT, and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.