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3 things to watch as the Mavericks visit the Kings

The replacement players may be running out of time

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of one of the most feel good wins of the season, versus the Portland Trailblazers. The team moved the ball incredibly well and dissected the porous Portland defense. Hopefully they will be able to do the same, against a Sacramento Kings defense which doesn’t exactly remind anyone of the Bad Boys Pistons defensively.

Reggie Bullock will also return from health and safety protocols, which will give the team one more player. This should begin to signal the end for the hardship players as the remaining players in protocols should not be far behind Josh Green and Bullock. They have been fun, and hopefully go out on a good note.

Here are the things to watch.

Josh Green needs to build on his success

Green is now the third youngest player in Mavericks history with a double digit assist game behind Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. Green has always shown a feel for passing that is absent from some other phases of his game. The team desperately needs energy and playmaking. Green has the ability to provide both and if he can begin to consistently produce, he can earn more minutes.

Kristaps Porzingis’ shooting

The unicorn is coming off of a fantastic game. He was great in a variety of ways but one of the most important going forward is that he finally made shots. For Josh Green to be most effective, the Mavericks need to pair him with shooting big men. Porzingis and Maxi Kleber both fit the bill but Kleber is out with Covid and Porzingis had struggled shooting until Monday. If he has regained his jumper, it will fix a large portion of this offenses struggles.

Frank Ntilikina’s defense

The French Prince’s offense is still very much a work in progress but his defense is fantastic. Damian Lillard is having a rough year, but Ntilikina did the best job of hounding him through screen of any Mavericks guard in recent memory.

Tyrese Haliburton is on a tear averaging 22.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 10.4 assists and 2.2 steals on pristine percentages of 51.3 percent from the floor, 48.1 percent from three and 89.5 percent from the free throw line. Ntilikina will have his hands full as he should draw the primary assignment.

How to watch

The game tips off at 9:30 p.m. CST and can be viewed nationally on NBA TV or locally on Bally Sports Southwest.