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Three things to watch as the Mavericks host the Kings

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Harrison Barnes makes his return to the AAC over a month after being traded.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks return home after their last long road trip of the season to face the Sacramento Kings. In the last game of that road trip Dallas put a whooping on Golden State in their best win of the season. However, that win was only Dallas’ third since the All-Star Break.

In their last 10 games the Mavericks are 2-8 with wins over the Cavaliers and the Warriors. This team is still stumbling from the effects of trading four of five starters in a two week span, as almost any team would. Though their playoff hopes are gone for this year and all eyes look towards October, the players still have a pride to play for.

Harrison Barnes’ first game back in Dallas

On February 6 Barnes was traded for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph, who never suited up for Dallas, in the middle of a game. Instead of going to the locker room and leaving the team he no longer played for Barnes stayed on the bench and cheered on his former teammates.

At shoot around this afternoon Barnes spoke about his time in Dallas. He gave his normal level of elite professionalism and showed his respect for Dallas but also displayed his happiness with his current situation. Barnes also dropped the nugget that he and Justin Jackson had a prior relationship before the trade happened as the two both went to UNC.

Harrison said he reached out to Jackson after the trade and told him Dallas is a great place to learn under his good friend Dirk Nowitzki. Though Barnes bears no ill will against Dallas, he’s still likely to come out firing his first game back in the AAC.

Luka Doncic’s redemption against the Kings

His last game against Sacramento was a rare dud for the star rookie. Doncic scored just 13 points on 4-19 shooting with 10 rebounds but only 3 assists. For other rookie point this is an acceptable output, but not for Doncic and his lofty standards.

To make matters worse, the Kings rookie Marvin Bagley put up a stellar outing scoring 22 points on 8-16 from the field with 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in 28 minutes off the bench. This game caused a couple of Kings media to brag about how right the Kings were to take Bagley over Doncic.

Perhaps they forgot their December 16 meeting when Doncic poured on 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists while Bagley sat out with an injury.

Doncic practiced yesterday but is listed as questionable for this game with right knee soreness, so this could be folly to predict.

Ryan Broekhoff’s time to shine

For the first time this season Ryan Broekhoff has scored in double-digits in back-to-back games. On Saturday Broekhoff dropped a career-high 17 points on just 8 shot attempts. With Tim Hardaway Jr.’s injury the wing rotation has opened up for some competition and the Aussie is taking full advantage. The Mavericks even put him on a poster for tonight’s game.

Over the course of the season Carlisle has said on several occasions how much the team likes Broekhoff. Carlisle often brings up how he stays ready no matter how many minutes he got in the game before.

This roster is light on shooters and Ryan Broekhoff brings just that. In the last game against the Kings Broekhoff logged 17 minutes in a game that was competitive throughout. Broekhoff has a non-guaranteed contract for next season so if he can prove to be a valuable rotation piece moving forward that merits watching him closely for the rest of the season.

How to watch:

The game starts at 7:30 CST and can be found on FOX Sports Southwest or on NBA League Pass.