The Dallas Mavericks (9-13), fresh off a win in Atlanta, travel back to Dallas to face the Golden State Warriors (11-10) on the second night of a back-to-back. That’s right, sound the alarms on Nowitzki Way; the Mavericks’ longest losing streak in almost two years is over!
Dallas looks to keep the ship moving in the right direction in the first of two consecutive meetings against the Warriors. At time of writing, Kristaps Porzingis’ status is unknown, but he has only played in both games on a back-to-back once thus far, so it is unlikely that he will play this one.
Here are three things to watch for:
Steph Curry in MVP form
The two-time Most Valuable Player has been playing at an All-NBA level all year, and recently he has found his groove. Curry is averaging 31 points on 57 percent from the field and 56 percent from deep in his last three games. The Mavericks have given up 20-plus points to a guard in five consecutive games, and 30-plus in two of those. This, combined with the fact that the Mavericks are on the second night of a back-to-back and had to travel to Dallas from Atlanta, makes way for a potential big night from the splash brother.
To make matters worse, Golden State is coming off a loss to Boston on Tuesday. Steph is averaging 33.8 points after a loss this season, and the Warriors are 6-3 in such games. The Mavericks defended Trae Young quite well, but the double teams implemented against him may not be as effective against Curry. Golden State runs a lot of off ball action for the Warriors guard and Dallas is going to have to stay alert or it could get ugly fast.
Curry averages 22 points a game against Dallas in his career.
A 2 game winning streak
Not only have the Mavericks won four games in a row against Golden State, but the average margin of victory for those games is 32.5 points. Dallas has dominated Golden State recently, and it would be no surprise if they stomped them again.
Both Rookie of the Year candidate James Wiseman and reserve big man Kevon Looney will be out with recently sustained injuries, meaning that Draymond Green will most likely be starting at the small ball five. Without an opposing player taller than 6’7, Luka Doncic should be able to get whatever he wants at the rim. Doncic is the league leader in drives (24.3) and points off of drives (13.8) per game. Combine this with being 20-of-21 from the free throw line in the last two games, and you have a recipe for success.
If Kristaps Porzingis plays, he could build off of his game in Atlanta and post a line superior to his 24 point, 11 rebound effort on Wednesday.
Tim Hardaway’s flamethrower
Hardaway is back to the bench after Maxi Kleber returned to the lineup Monday against Phoenix. For most guys, a demotion like this can be frustrating. Hardaway, however, has taken it in stride.
In four games as a reserve this season, Hardaway is averaging 20 points on a scorching 54 percent from the field and 54 percent from downtown. When he’s on, he’s on, and he seems to have his meter turned all the way up when he comes off the bench. Couple this with his 20 points per game on 39 percent from distance at home this year, and the chips could be falling for another Harda-no-way performance (Editor’s Note: I’ll allow it). The only thing that could guarantee a spectacular night from the former Michigan Wolverine is if we somehow snuck his father into the game.
How to watch
The game tips off at 6:30 p.m. CT, and can be watched via the national broadcast on TNT.