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Mavericks vs. Hawks Preview: 3 things to watch as Dallas takes on Atlanta

The Mavs are playing another back-to-back must-win game

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (37-41) are in another must-win game on the road against the Atlanta Hawks (38-39). De’Andre Hunter will not play in Sunday’s game against the Mavericks and is day-to-day moving forward after an MRI revealed he has a bone bruise in his left knee and a muscle strain, Brad Rowland of the Locked On Podcast Network reports.

Luka Doncic is 1-2 in his career playing at Atlanta. Doncic is shooting a mere 40% in his career against Atlanta, with an overall -15 in seven games. He’s due for a big game against the Hawks, who are in a fight of their own for the play-in tournament.

Here are three things to watch for:

Road Woes

Asking the Mavericks to win a must-win game on the road is a massive ask at this point in the season. Dallas is bottom eleven in the NBA on the road this season at (15-25). Serious basketball teams know how to win on the road. Unfortunately, this Mavericks team does not.

Battle of back courts

Unfortunately, the Mavericks must ask more from their two all-stars. Doncic and Kyrie Irving average nearly 60 points combined this season, but most nights that hasn’t been enough. Dallas may need upwards of 75 combined to get a road win Sunday evening. The Mavericks are only 2-6 in their last eight games when Doncic and Irving have been on the floor. Dejounte Murray was fantastic for the Hawks in their 130-122 win against the Mavericks on January 18th at the AAC. Trae Young averaged 23.3 points, 9.1 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in 15 games last month, so expect them both to cook.

Find a way to win

Eventually, there’s enough data to confirm who you are, and we’re at that point with the Mavericks. They’re mediocre at best. If Dallas wants to buck the narrative, they need to find a way to win this game. It doesn’t matter if it’s by 25 points or five, because they need every win they can get. It’s desperation time.

How to watch

You can broadcast or stream the game on NBA TV or the Bally sports App at 5:00 p.m. CST.