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Mavericks vs. Heat Preview: 3 things to watch as Dallas takes on Miami

An April Fool’s Day game. But which of us is the fool? Makes you think.

NBA: Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas, 3-7 in their last 10 games, heads on the road to face Miami, currently on a three-game losing streak of their own. The Mavericks had two days off and headed to Miami early, so either they’ll be extra prepped and ready to go, or sunburned and potentially still drunk depending on what their priorities were over the last day and a half.

Five games to go, Dallas is 11th in lottery odds, let’s do this.

I miss the old new Josh Green

Everybody is very excited about Jaden Hardy. I am very excited about Jaden Hardy! But not so long ago, the hot new young player on the block was Josh Green. After being inactive for a stretch of 20 games mid-season, he not only returned to the rotation, he was a starter!

Over a stretch of eight games as a starter – his first extended amount of time in the starting five this season – Green put up games with 12, 29, 14, 17, and 23 points. He was scoring 14 points per game and shooting 40% from three in the month of February! Recently, though, he’s been stuck in what is hopefully a temporary regression, scoring just 15 points in his last four games combined. It’d be nice to see that version of Green who looked like a double-digit addition to the starting lineup again.

At the mercy of make or miss

Dallas cannot win if they’re not shooting the three-ball well. However, as we saw against Philadelphia in a game Dallas shot 40% as a team on 46 threes, even a good shooting night is sometimes not enough. They need the other team to miss shots. The 76ers shot 47% from three. The Mavericks lost.

Dallas doesn’t have the personnel to be a good defensive team. It’s just time to let that ship sail. Looking at the last 10 games, though, Miami has been a much better corner three team, (shooting nearly 44%, 6th-best in the league) than an above the break three team (34.9%, 20th in the league).

So whatever defensive schemes Dallas can draw up to limit those corner threes, even if it means leaving shooters open above the break, they might just need to try it and hope for the best.

Butler Barrage

Jimmy Butler has been on an absolute tear to close out the season. It seems likely that Miami will be in the postseason in some fashion or another, but they’re close enough to the 6th seed that a maniacal maniac like Jimmy Butler probably doesn’t need any additional motivation than not having to be in the play-in tournament.

For the season, Butler’s Player Impact Estimate is a solid 17.4. Ninth among players who’ve players at least 35 games. (For reference, MVP-hopefuls Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic lead in PIE for the season with 21.4 and 21.3 respectively) In March, though, he’s bumped that up to 18.5 which is good for fourth-best among players who’ve played at least five games.

Jimmy’s on a mission. Who can stop him? Great question.

How to watch

You can broadcast or stream the game on NBA TV at 6:30 CST.