The Dallas Mavericks are set to face the Utah Jazz for the first game in a two-game series with both being played in Utah. In an effort to limit travel, the Mavericks get their first taste in playing the same opponent back to back.
While the minimal travel is nice, the Mavericks are up against the hottest team in the league, as the Jazz have won eight straight games before they played the Knicks Tuesday night. The Mavericks are receiving reinforcements, but the team will have a tall order trying to get back into the win column.
Here are a few things to watch for:
Limiting the three
If the Mavericks have any chance of stealing one in Utah, it starts at the three-point line. The Jazz rank first in made threes per game (16.8), third in attempts (41.6) and second in three-point percentage (40.3). They’ve been absolutely lethal behind the arc in the eight-game win streak. In ESPN’s weekly power rankings, Tim MacMahon stated the Jazz have made at least 20 3s in six games this season matching the total number of makes in franchise history.
How does the team look at (almost) full strength
The Mavericks will still be missing a key player in Maxi Kleber, but getting back Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell should be a huge boost. The Mavericks will no longer need to rely on the 10th, 11th, and 12th man, though Carlisle will likely limit these guys as they’re coming off an extended absence. Even still, Richardson and Finney-Smith can slot back into the starting lineup, and the Mavericks can roll Jalen Brunson or Tim Hardaway Jr. into the second unit to give the bench some juice. The Mavericks have been devastated by these absences, but now we’ll get a glimpse at who this team actually is.
Who steps up alongside Luka Doncic
As I scroll through the team statistics, I’m beginning to think the Mavericks will need to be close to perfect to beat the blazing hot Jazz. Utah owns a top-three defensive rating (106.8). They are top-ten in opponent second-chance points (11.1). Teams shoot just 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from three against the Jazz. Utah doesn’t foul and is giving only 18 free-throw attempts per game to opponents.
Needless to say, the Mavericks are facing an outstanding team and the supporting cast has been hot and cold. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis are shooting 23 percent and 12.5 percent from three in the Mavericks’ last two losses. Dallas needs everyone clicking to bust the Jazz’s win streak.
How to watch
The game tips at 8 PM CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.
Stats current as of 5pm CST on 1/26