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Nets begin a back-to-back in Dallas

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Close, but no. The Nets were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month, but fell short against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. This is the first night of a back-to-back for the Nets. They end the month of January in NOLA Saturday night.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Dallas Mavericks. They've had a goodseason and are sixth in the Western Conference. They got washed by the Warriors on Wednesday night, but that happens to everybody so they shouldn't feel any shame.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off is after 8:30.

Injuries

Jarrett Jack was at the game on Tuesday night and stated that he has begun rehabilitating his torn ACL. Chris McCullogh and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are working their way back from their respective injuries.

Dirk Nowitzki was given the second night of a back-to-back off on Wednesday, but he should be good to go tonight. Zaza Pachulia has been dealing with soreness in his right leg for the past week and has missed the last three games. His status for tonight is currently unknown. Former Net Devin Harris missed the Dubs game due to a sprained toe he suffered against the Rockets on Sunday and his availability is up in the air.

The game

Check it

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Dallas

Record

12-34 26-21

Pace

96.82 96.94

Offensive Efficiency

98.3 102.9

Defensive Efficiency

106 102.4

Turnover Rate

15.4 13.4

Assist Rate

16.6 16.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.1 20.2

Rebound Rate

49.8 48.6

Free Throw Rate

22.7 26.1

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48 49.8

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 50

The Mavs won the first game in overtime.

Deron Williams will be in this game. He got hurt the night before the Mavs played in Brooklyn and missed that game. There isn't anything particularly new about him and the Nets, so check out this retrospective we did on his Nets tenure.

Chandler Parsons might be the most important Mav going forward. He was their big free agent acquisition in 2013 and has been working his way back from offseason knee surgery. After playing 30+ minutes once prior to the December 23 game in Brooklyn, he's crossed that plateau 14 times in his last 18 games, including a season high 46 minutes vs Minnesota last Wednesday. When they go small, he moves up to the power forward and that creates problems for opposing defenses. Parsons can drive to the rim, is a competent three point shooter, and  Brooklyn might counter with Joe Johnson at the four if they go small, but that may not be the best strategy for the Nets.

A hobbled Pachulia should make things easier for Brook Lopez. Lopez only went 6-15 from the field and only got to the free throw line three times in 35 minutes. Salah Mejri and "He's still in the league" All Star Javale McGee will see the majority of the minutes at center, and the Nets should respond by getting the ball to Lopez in the low block early and often. Dallas doesn't have much front court depth and Brooklyn should exploit that as much as they can before Dallas goes small.

Player to watch: Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk doesn't control the offense like he did in his prime, but he's still a good player to have in your lineup. The future Hall of Famer and third greatest power forward of all time (according to ESPN) has averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 rebounds on 44.8/39.8/90.5 shooting in a touch under 30 minutes a night. His minutes per game have been decreasing since 2009, but he can play a large amount of minutes when necessary.

Kirk Henderson of Mavs Moneyball made a good case for Dirk being in the All Star Game, writing:

But, it's a game for fans and the Mavericks are out-performing expectations wildly, in large part due to the timeless brilliance of Dirk. Fans know and want to see Dirk, even if his game rarely translates to All-Star material (one exception below). Add this to the fact that coaches are unlikely to leave a team thick in the playoff hunt without an All-Star and it appears very possible that Dirk will overcome the other facts on the table and earn a selection to the All-Star game.

He wasn't among this year's reserves, but if one of the players misses the game, there's a good chance he can appear in Toronto. Also, I wanna see him dunk again.

Thaddeus Young will be the Net assigned to Dirk tonight. Dirk scored 22 points, but Thad scored 29 points, including the three point shot that sent the game to overtime. Young has been the Nets' second best player this year and with Dirk still being a bad defender, Thad should have another big game.

From the Vault

"I remember being pissed that we really couldn't do anything to stop him. The guy outscored us by himself for three quarters. He was unbelievable."

More reading: Mavs Moneyball