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3 things to watch for when the Mavericks battle the Spurs

The Mavericks close the season out against the playoff-bound San Antonio Spurs.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like just yesterday the Dallas Mavericks opened the season against the Phoenix Suns. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing because Dallas got blown out, but this fun, but frustrating, yet joyful season is coming to a close against the San Antonio Spurs. It’s the final page before a new chapter begins next season, and how symbolic that it comes against the Spurs.

Here’s what to watch for in the final game of the season:

Justin Jackson finishing strong

I’ll admit I was a Jackson skeptic when he came to Dallas, and to be honest, I still am. But I can’t deny the fact that he’s played good basketball down the stretch. Not counting last night, the second year forward has averaged nearly 14 points and four rebounds while shooting 36 percent from three in his last ten games. It’s a small sample size, and it’s hard to evaluate players when so many teams have either packed it in for the season or are preparing for the playoffs, but Jackson has produced when given the minutes.

Mavericks making progress

Don’t look now but the Mavericks have a chance to surpass 33 wins for the first time in 2015-16 season. The Mavericks made the playoffs that season led by Dirk’s 18 points per night, followed by Deron Williams 14. The NBA has changed significantly since then. Those Mavericks hoisted 28.6 three-pointers per game (fifth most in the NBA). This year’s Mavericks shoot threes 36.6 times per game (fourth most in the NBA). Reaching 34 wins isn’t much of an accomplishment, but hopefully it’s a sign of the Mavericks slowly crawling out of the hole they’ve been in the past few years.

Dirk Nowitzki

There will plenty of Dirk nostalgia as we progress into the offseason, so let’s not discuss too much here. Rather, let’s just try to process the fact this is, officially, Dirk Nowitzki’s last game. And how fitting that it comes against the biggest thorn in his side in the San Antonio Spurs. The guy who gave 21 years to one franchise, through all the peaks and valleys, might lace them up for one final time. It’s surreal and still doesn’t feel real. It’s impossible to think of the Mavericks without Dirk. But a legendary career is coming to a close. Let’s cherish it one final time.

How to watch

The game tips at 7pm CT and can be watched on TXA21 or NBA League Pass.