New year, new Mavericks? Coming off a rough four-game, six-day stretch (including five road games), the Dallas Mavericks host the Brooklyn Nets to start a six game home stretch. Dallas has played under .500 basketball (4-5) since Luka Doncic sprained his ankle against the Miami Heat on December 14 and the home cooking could not come at a better time.
This is the first of two meetings this season against the Nets, with the next match up coming in April.
Here’s what to think about before and during the game:
Is anyone healthy?
This is a little bit of an exaggeration, but since FOUR different Mavericks hurt themselves versus the Lakers last week (Tim Hardaway Jr., Ryan Broekhoff, Kristaps Porzingis, and Luka Doncic), it’s worth asking who is going to be able to play.
Hardaway and Broekhoff are out until they aren’t (which is to say, a while). Kristaps Porzingis is up in the air and while Luka Doncic isn’t on the injury report, it’s worth thinking about how banged up Doncic is or isn’t. This is the 34th game of the season though, so the injury report is going to be part of our lives now.
Crunch time is not kind to the Mavericks
On the plus side, the Mavericks have only played 66 crunch time minutes (score within five in the last five minutes of a game) this season. That means that by and large they’ve been good enough this season to not have that many close games.
However, on the negative side, they’ve got the 28th most efficient offense in those situations. While it may be factually true, I don’t understand how to reconcile that data with Dallas having the best offense in the league.
Still, something to worry about in the back of your mind if the game is close down the stretch.
Which team will bounce back first?
The Mavericks fell apart against the Thunder. The Nets fell apart against the Timberwolves. While Brooklyn has had an extra day to stew, they are also under .500 on the road. Despite some of their injury issues, the Mavericks should win this game. After all, who stops Luka Doncic?
How to watch
Tip-off is set for 7:30 CT, and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.