Now, a much fiercer test, as Dallas goes on the road to face the Atlanta Hawks. Reinforcements appear to be on the way, however, as Dirk Nowitzki should be good to go after sitting out the front end of the back-to-back with a DNP-Old.
What have the Hawks done recently?
With trade winds swirling, the Hawks have stumbled a bit of late, dropping three in a row and five of their last six. Jeff Teague -- who has been the subject of most of the trade speculation -- fouled out in just 26 minutes in his last game, a blowout loss to the Miami Heat. Paul Millsap had to leave last Thursday's loss to Indiana early with an ankle injury, but didn't miss any games and is considered likely to play against Dallas. Millsap nearly fouled out himself against the Heat, but led Atlanta with 17 points and 2 steals.
What happened the last time these two teams played?
The Hawks beat the Mavericks in Dallas back on December 9th, 98-95. Chandler Parsons was still on a minutes restriction and came off the bench. The team as a whole had one of their worst shooting performances of the season, connecting on just 36 of 100 shots (shouldn't take much math skill to calculate that percentage), but actually led by four points with under three minutes to go, thanks largely to the Herculean rebounding efforts of Zaza Pachulia. Zaza pulled in seven of the team's 20(!) offensive rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Mavs managed just a pair of Raymond Felton free throws in the final three minutes and six seconds.
Are the back-to-backs almost over, please?
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this game is that it may be the first time everyone (minus Devin Harris) will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back, though we won't know for sure until it gets closer to tip-off. Zaza seems mostly recovered from his injury issues, Dirk got his rest in already, and Chandler Parsons seems to be running leash-free. After tonight Dallas will have wrapped up one of the toughest stretches of games -- both in terms of quality of opponent and frequency of games -- in some time. They do have another back-to-back scheduled for this weekend, but after that, they have just two scheduled the rest of the way. In other words, they had 13 back-to-backs before the All-Star Break, and just two after. For the Mavs to have made it this far in one piece is impressive, and one hopes that the extra rest could help Rick Carlisle's boys get into a groove at the right time: down the stretch and into the playoffs.
How to watch
Tune in at 7:00 p.m. Central on Fox Sports Southwest, or NBA League Pass outside of the DFW area.