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3 things to watch for as the Mavericks host the Timberwolves

Praying for the best in a loser-leaves-town matchup of Western Conference bottom feeders.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas got a much-needed win over Golden State on Saturday, despite a cool 57 points from Steph Curry and now sit at 10-14. The Minnesota Timberwolves sit at the bottom of the West at 6-17. After losing six in a row, the Mavericks have now won two of their last three games. Now the schedule is easing up and it might be time for a run.

Minnesota is coming off of a weekend back-to-back against Oklahoma City; winning on Friday by three and losing on Saturday by two.

Before we get into what to watch for, here’s my extremely hot take: the Mavericks will give up 20 and 10 to somebody who has no business playing so well. Here’s lookin’ at you, Ed Davis and/or Ricky Rubio.

Here’s three things to keep an eye on:

The continued saga of Kristaps Porzingis

Porzingis’ production has been a big topic in NBA media over the last couple of weeks. I heard multiple reporters/pundits say that he looked like he was playing on stilts—and they weren’t wrong. That being said, there was some cautious murmuring in the Mavs Moneyball slack that Porzingis looked like he was moving better during Saturday’s win against the Warriors. Golden State was still attacking him every chance they got so things obviously aren’t great, but hey, progress is progress.

In four games in February, Porzingis is averaging 21.5 points, 9 rebounds, and a little more than 2 assists and 1 block per game. He’s shooting 46 percent, and almost 38 percent from three. This is a Kristaps we can live with, and hopefully he continues to improve.

Karl-Anthony and D’Angelo

Minnesota’s “big two” are both listed as day-to-day for Monday’s game, D’Angelo Russell with a quad strain and Karl Anthony-Towns with an unfortunately long bout of dealing with NBA health and safety protocols due to a positive COVID test. Russell is averaging 19.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. Towns is averaging 22 and 12.5 rebounds per game in the four games he’s played this season. These two were supposed to be the present and the future of the Timberwolves (as questionable as that may have been) and they have shown flashes of being a fun pairing. If they remain unable to go, hopefully Dallas can feast on Minnesota’s other fun, young duo — Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards.

Luka’s three-point shooting

Luka Doncic, he of the nine nicknames on Basketball Reference, is officially having the best three-point shooting season of his career — by one thousandth of a percent. Shooting 31.7 percent on 7.1 attempts per game is ultimately NOT where we need Luka to be, but we’re trending up. In the first 10 games of the season Luka hit 19-of-73 threes, good for an ice-cold 26 percent. In the last 10 games Luka has shot a much more respectable 27-of-74 — 36 percent is a number the Mavericks can live with. If we narrow that down to just the past five games, Luka is shooting nearly 43 percent. Were he able to continue at that rate, he’ll find himself back in the MVP race sooner rather than later.

How to watch

The game tips at 7:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest and NBA League Pass or your local reddit stream.