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3 things to watch for as the Indiana Pacers visit the Dallas Mavericks

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (39-25) host the Indiana Pacers (38-25) Sunday evening to close out their longest remaining home stand of the Dallas season. Both teams are coming off victories, with the Mavericks walloping the Memphis Grizzlies and the Pacers beating the Bulls.

After a rough skid into the All Star break, the Pacers have lost just two of their last eight contests. The Mavericks, meanwhile, have dealt with both highs and lows since the break and are looking to establish an honest to goodness winning streak (more on that later).

Dallas won the earlier match up, 112-103, with Kristaps Porzingis going on a scoring binge for 38 points and 12 rebounds. The Mavericks were without Luka Doncic, though, and Victor Oladipo was playing just his third game back after being off nearly a year with a quad injury.

Here’s what to watch for or think about:

Who in the world is going to play?

On the one hand, it’s that time of the year for the NBA season. Guys are hurt or dealing with little things. We get it, it’s part of the deal.

Yet take a look at the injury reports! As of this writing on Saturday evening, the Pacers have T.J. Warren, Doug McDermott, and Victor Oladipo are listed as either questionable or doubful. Malcolm Brogdan is out with a torn quad and is considered week-to-week and Jeremy Lamb destroyed his knee a few weeks ago and is out for the considerable future.

The Mavericks are in a better spot (despite how it might feel). Dwight Powell is obviously out. Jalen Brunson is still listed as out. Seth Curry’s out with a sprained ankle he suffered against the Grizzlies. Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (illness) are questionable at the moment. Somehow, Luka Doncic isn’t on the report at all, despite his thumb clearly causing him problems and his ankle resulting in him looking like he’s having a hard time moving at the Mav’s Ball going on Saturday night (this is just me looking at social media though).

Needless to say, both teams are going to have to dig deep.

The Mavericks could use a winning streak!

It’s been a wonky season after the first 20 games. Injuries played a part as did poor play at times. However, with Dallas well over .500, something’s working well enough.

Dallas hasn’t won three games in a row since before mid-January. That’s a surprisingly long time despite their over all win-loss record. Closing out their last long home stand of the season with a win would give the Mavericks their first win streak since that time. It doesn’t mean anything in the big picture, Dallas is competitive in the back half of the West either way, but it would be nice none the less.

The Mavericks also, somehow, haven’t lost more than two games in a row all season. That’s wildly impressive when you think about it. The Milwaukee Bucks are the only other team who can say that this season.

Porzingis and the throwing of flames

It’s fun to note that KP started his stretch of preposterous play on the anniversary of his trade from the Knicks (January 31st). In the 13 games he’s since, these are his averages:

  • 27.7 points
  • 11 rebounds
  • 2.5 assists
  • 2.4 blocks
  • 1.1 steals
  • 49.8% from the field
  • 39.5% from three point range
  • 83.3% from the free throw line

He’s really good. This is awesome. Can he keep it up? Let’s watch and find out.

How to watch

The game is on 6:00 pm central time on Fox Sports SW or NBA League Pass