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3 things as the Mavericks host the Knicks

Jalen Brunson will make his return to Dallas

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks will host the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. The Knicks are in a skid, having lost three games in a row after having won their previous eight games. The Mavericks on the other hand have won their last three after having lost five of their previous seven games.

Here are the things to watch.

The continued test of the Mavericks depth

Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and Josh Green remain out. Kemba Walker and Frank Ntilikina are day-to-day. The Mavericks are not a particularly deep team, but these injuries require everyone on the roster to be ready to contribute. These injuries are likely why the team signed AJ Lawson. It is unlikely that he will be active for this game, but the decision to sign him shows how concerned the team is about its wing depth at this time.

Christian Wood’s continued shot blocking

Wood is the Mavericks second most talented player. The team struggled to find the right role for him, but he has been promoted to the starting lineup for the last five games. He has proven more than worthy of the promotion.

No one has ever questioned Wood’s offensive talent. The concern has always been how he would hold up on the defensive end. That task seemed even more daunting with the injury to Kleber. Wood has been up to the task though. He has at least two blocks in all five of these starts. If he can keep this up, it raises the Mavericks ceiling.

Jalen Brunson’s homecoming

Brunson has been very good this season. He is averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 assists and shooting 87 percent from the free throw line. Brunson remains an incredibly intelligent player who gets the absolute most out of his body and ability.

The Mavericks miss Brunson. He would solve many of their problems. But he is gone and that cannot be undone. However, this game gives Mavericks fans another chance to enjoy Brunson’s game.

The Mavericks need to win this game to continue to build momentum. The season has been off to an uneven start, but the Mavericks are still very much a contender for the Western Conference. The more wins the Mavericks can bank now, the better the chances that they get a good seed at the end of the season.

How to watch

The game will start at 7:30 p.m. and can be viewed on NBA TV or the Bally Sports Network/app.