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3 things to watch for as the Dallas Mavericks face the Houston Rockets

On the road again

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

After a rather brutal loss to the New York Knicks, Dallas heads out on a road trip and start with Houston Rockets. Houston is coming off an outstanding overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers, where they scored a whopping 19 points in the extra period.

One might think the Dallas Mavericks should easily win this game and the bettors agree with the Mavericks currently 11 point favorites, according the Draft Kings. And yet this one feels a bit like another trap game. Dallas is starting a long road trip and it’ll be important to get a win now as they try very hard to hold on to the fifth spot in the West

Here’s what I’ll be watching for:

Hit a three, any three, anyone, please!

The Dallas performance Wednesday night was the second worst in the league this season, by percentage with the Mavericks hitting 13.6%. Boston holds the worst record this year, as they had a game where they hit 8% of their threes. See? It can always get worse. What do you mean, “that’s not reassuring”?

I don’t see how the Mavericks can shoot worse than they did Wednesday, so it’s largely a question of if they can get key guys to bounce back. Reggie Bullock is more than due for a decent game, as he’s shot the ball terribly in the month of March. It’d be nice to get a Davis Bertans game as well, but I don’t think that guy is lacking in confidence.

Finding Maxi Kleber some rhythm

Our man Maxi is playing about 25 minutes per game in five games since All-Star break. He’s just 8 of 33 from the floor (24%!), including 3 of 20 from beyond the arc. He’s grabbing about four and a half boards and dishing just under two assists a game. There’s probably an argument that he’s playing good defense but none is coming to mind at the moment.

His game is so confidence based and Maxi is in a bad place right now, not even looking at the rim. He’s getting taxed by what Dallas is asking him to do and I think we all appreciate his contributions but at the moment he’s a stretch five with no stretch. The Mavericks need to get him a couple of good looks early and hope that one goes down. Dallas isn’t going to make it very far in the playoffs with this iteration of Kleber.

Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding

Finally, a team that (on paper at least) won’t crush the Mavericks on the glass! Dallas is somehow just 18th in the league in rebounding differential, whereas the Rockets are 29th. So that could mean the Mavericks have the chance at a few more offensive boards to put Houston away early. This is going to be a long road trip, with another tough game Sunday versus the Celtics, getting rest in is key.

How to watch

The Mavericks play on Bally Sports Southwest with a slightly early start time of 7:00 pm.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.