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Mavericks kick off tough five-game stretch in Cleveland

The nightmare begins! Dallas kicks off one of its toughest five-game stretches of the year tonight against the Cavaliers.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a much-needed win in Charlotte, the Mavericks will kick off a series of tough match-ups: Cleveland followed by Golden State, Portland, Portland, and Golden State. Let's hope the team can ride the momentum from the victory over the Hornets (and Rick Carlisle's new rotations) to a few more wins!

What happened the last time these teams met?

The Mavericks last saw the Cavaliers back in November, when they lost a frustrating game at home against the team. Although the Mavs lead for most of the game, strong performances from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James sent the game to overtime and eventually earned the Cavs the win.

What has Cleveland done lately?

Cleveland is coming off their own rough patch, returning home after four road games in five nights. The Cavs won the first three games (including a solid win over the Clippers) but dropped a game to the Jazz Monday.

What are the match-ups rotations to watch?

Head coach Tyronn Lue has announced that he'll be resting players this week, so the Mavs might catch a break if LeBron gets the night off. But while it's not clear who'll suit up for the Cavs, keep an eye out to see whether Carlisle continues to shake up his rotations as he did in Charlotte. Although the smaller line-ups may not work against some of the Cavs' big men, some of the changes, including breaking up the worst of the three-guard line-ups and giving rookie Justin Anderson a little playing time, may stick.

How to watch

The game can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest locally or via NBA League Pass elsewhere. Tip-off is at 6:00PM Eastern.