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3 things to watch as Dallas Mavericks take on the New York Knicks

A reunion of sorts

NBA: New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The vibes around this Dallas Mavericks team stink right now. They need to find their old mojo against the New York Knicks Saturday afternoon at the Garden. Day games are difficult on their own, let alone an 11:30 AM CST tip-off. So let’s hope the Mavericks wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for this matinee game against the Knicks. Going into the game, Dallas has the second-worst road record in the league at 1-8, while New York has the 6th worst home record at 4-6.

Here are some things to watch for:

Jalen Brunson, we meet again

This is the first official game between the Mavericks and Knicks since Brunson left Dallas for New York. The former Mavericks guard is posting 21.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists per game while shooting nearly 59% for the season. During the last four games, Brunson is shooting 42.1% from three and averaging 23.8 points per game. The addition of Brunson to the Knicks roster has improved their overall pace dramatically this season. The Knicks ranked 29th overall last season compared to 12th this season. I would imagine Jalen Brunson would love nothing more than to stick it to his former team on a big stage like Madison Square Garden.

Julius Randle causing problems against the Dallas frontcourt

The Dallas native Julius Randle loves to play against Dallas. Randle has averaged 20.3 points in 21 career games against the Mavericks. It’s clear Randle and Brunson are trying to find their groove together and Randle acknowledged that “playing off the ball more” has been his biggest adjustment. Despite Julius Randle’s shot selection being questionable at times, he does present a big problem in the front-court for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks got creamed Thursday night on the boards. The Pistons out-rebounded the Mavericks 52-30. That led to a 17-11 advantage in second-chance points. Julius Randle has averaged 10.4 rebounds per game in his career against Dallas.

“We can climb outta hell one inch at time”

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but it’s been ages since this team has had a complete game from start to finish. I don’t care if the Mavericks score 140 points or hit 20 threes. I want to see fire and desire out of soulless team. If Luka Doncic gets thrown to ground, I want everyone including the coaching staff to get mad about it. If the Dallas Mavericks refuse to find their own pulse then we will continue to live in this hell that is 2022-2023 season.

How to watch

The Dallas Mavericks play the New York Knicks at 11:30 am CST and the game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Southwest.