The Dallas Mavericks had one day off to celebrate their most fun win of the season and will now take on the Atlanta Hawks in Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis and Sterling Brown are out for Dallas. Maxi Kleber is day to day for Dallas. Danilo Gallinari, John Collins and Lou Williams are listed as day to day for the Hawks.
The Hawks are coming off of a 125-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back to back. They have been a disappointment this season, with a 25 and 27 record following a trip to the conference finals last season. Despite the record, they retain an impressive collection of talent.
Here are the things to watch.
Luka Doncic versus Trae Young round six
The headline of any Mavericks versus Hawks game will always be this matchup as long as both remain with their respective teams. The draft day trade remains a massive win for the Mavericks despite the NBA hipster desire to reassess this trade and Luka’s greatness.
Of the five games that each have played against each other, the Mavericks have won three. Both have actually been below their lofty standards in these matchups, largely due to the incredible amount of defensive attention each commands. Both players take this matchup seriously and they are two of the best entertainers in the NBA, making this must see television.
Luka Doncic versus Deandre Hunter
While Luka versus Trae is the headline, it would be suicide for the Hawks to allow Young to guard Luka. Deandre Hunter is a fantastic defender who has struggled mightily to stay healthy. When he plays, the Hawks are generally a very good defense. When he doesn’t they are one of the worst defenses in the NBA. Luka is coming off of an impressive showing by dominating despite being guarded by Matise Thybulle who is probably the best wing defender in the NBA right now. Playing Hunter will allow Luka to show how much his improved conditioning has allowed him to become indefensible by even the most elite defenders in the league.
Jason Kidd versus Trae Young
It is far too early to consider Coach Jason Kidd the NBA’s version of Bill Belichik who can take away any opponents greatest weapon. But Kidd did a fantastic job of limiting one of the most dangerous weapons in basketball by going to a 2-3 zone which completely flummoxed Joel Embiid in the Mavericks last game. Young presents a completely different type of challenge and it will be fun to see if Kidd, who was arguably the greatest defensive guard in NBA history not named Michael Jordan, has any tricks up his sleeve to limit Young.
How to watch
Tip off is at 5:00 pm CST. The game can be seen on ESPN and Bally Sports Southwest.