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3 things to watch for when the Mavericks face the Kings

Dallas tries to avoid a three game losing streak in the restart’s first three games.

Sacramento Kings v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Fresh off a frustrating loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks will get a crack at seeing the win column for the first time in Orlando against the Sacramento Kings Tuesday afternoon.

Dallas’ chances of moving out of the seventh seed are slim at this point, but with games against the Clippers, Bucks, Jazz and Trail Blazers on deck, Tuesday’s game is pretty much a must win if we’re still hoping for a standings shake up.

Here’s what we’re watching for against the Kings:

Second half woes

In the first two games of the restart, the Mavericks have been outscored in the second half (including overtime) by a combined 29 points. A 20 point fourth quarter against the Rockets and 19 point third quarter (while Phoenix scored 36 points) tells most of the story, but the Mavericks clearly aren’t making plays when it counts. While Friday’s game against Houston was another wrinkle in the Mavericks’ clutch-problems, Sunday’s loss to the Suns added to the third-quarter inefficiencies. The Mavericks have yet to play a complete game in Orlando, but they’ll need one to get back into the win column.

Kristaps Porzingis’ excellent restart

In two games Porzingis is averaging 34.5 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in nearly 38 minutes per game while shooting 50 percent from the field, 39 percent from three and 82 percent from the line on 11 attempts per game. Those are truly absurd numbers, and it’s nice to see Porzingis continue to make strides after looking much better in the second half of the season as he worked his way back into form.

Tim Hardaway Jr. as the third option

Much of what made the Mavericks good this season was the evolution of the role players having career years, like Tim Hardaway Jr. However, in Orlando (scrimmages included) Hardaway hasn’t been a reliable option. He’s shot a combined 15-of-50 from the field (30 percent) and 11-of-32 from three (34 percent). With Dallas’ depth they can’t afford Hardaway to have many off nights, and his play up to this point was a big reason why Dallas looked dangerous heading into the post season. The Mavericks need Hardaway to bounce back after a 1-for-12 night against the Suns.

How to watch

The game tips off at 1:30 CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest.