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3 things to watch for when Dallas travels to Atlanta

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The Mavericks are looking for the season sweep against the Hawks as the two teams battle for the second time this month.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks are in full swing after the all-star break and face the Hawks after just xxxxx the Orlando Magic Friday night.

The Hawks are coming off a monumental 129-124 win against the Miami Heat in which Trae Young detonated for 50 points and eight assists. Dallas played last night in Orlando and came away with a 122-106 victory.

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis missed the first matchup between these teams, but Dallas was able come away with a victory behind Jalen Brunson’s 27 points and Dorian Finney-Smith’s 22.

With the Mavericks in the midst of an important stretch of winning basketball, here’s what to watch for when these two clubs tip:

Luka vs Trae

It wouldn’t be a Mavericks-Haws preview without mention two of the league’s brightest stars, and we couldn’t even last the all-star weekend without the teams’ two prized fighters trading half-court haymakers in back-to-back games. Even still, the Young/Doncic matchup will be fascinating to watch.

The two players won’t guard each other, because the Mavericks won’t want Doncic chasing Young and battling through screens, nor do the Hawks want Young to be eviscerated by Doncic on the block. But the two sophomores are the engines that make their teams go, and each player will try to stamp their mark on the contest. Young, with his sharpshooting and dazzling handles, and Doncic with his supreme command of every square inch of the floor, will be fun to watch Saturday night.

Mavericks’ aggression

Coming into Saturday’s game, the Hawks give up the league-most 27.5 free throws per game and allow the third-most offensive rebounds per game at 11.3 per night The Mavericks are top three in second chance points and are an average free-throw shooting team by several metrics, so it’s important Dallas is aggressive early to capitalize on the Hawks propensity to send teams to the free-throw line and inability to keep opponents off the glass.

Transition defense

The Mavericks lack of transition defense has been documented at Mavs Moneyball, but the Hawks could pose a threat considering they play at the sixth fastest pace in the NBA. Though it doesn’t translate to a ton of fast break points, the Hawks should have their chances if Dallas continues to loaf and argue questionable no calls like they usually do. Young isn’t waiting to pull up from just inside the logo if the Mavericks are lackadaisical, nor is Kevin Huerter or John Collins willing to wait to fill the lanes should Dallas jog back. The Mavericks can’t let a bad team get easy buckets.

How to watch

It’s another early game tipping off at 6:30 CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.

If a Hawks discussion piques your interest, we had a discussion with Uproxx Senior Writer and former Hawks beat guy, Robby Kalland. It’s embedded below but if you can’t see it, click here.