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Nets come home to face Mavs

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Same song, different location. The Brooklyn Nets put up a fight against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philly, but couldn't bring it home and lost by four points. Now, they face the second night of a back-to-back.

The opponent tonight will be the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs have been struggling and will have to figure out the direction they want to go in fast. This is night two of a b2b for the Mavs. They lost to the Raptors (in overtime) in Toronto last night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Dante Cunningham left yesterday's game due to an eye contusion. No word on his status tonigjht. Caris LeVert tweaked his knee late in the game, and he said it will be checked out this morning. Allen Crabbe was under the weather and missed yesterday's game. No word on if he'll be good to go tonight.

Wesley Matthews will miss the remainder of the season. Dorian Finney-Smith will miss this game. Salah Mejri is out, too.

The game

Brooklyn won the first game in November.

Let’s start with the important stuff first. Recently, Jessica Luther and Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated reported on the disturbing culture and actions of Mavericks management. Owner Mark Cuban discussed one particular instance when the team continued to employ Earl Sneed, the team’s reporter for Mavs.com, after multiple instances of domestic violence and a new team policy (made solely for him) that barred him from being alone with women that worked for the team:

“What I missed, again, is I didn’t realize the impact that it would have on the workplace and on the women that worked here and how it sent a message to them that, if it was OK for Earl to do that, who knows what else is OK in the workplace? I missed that completely. I missed it completely.”

For a dude who we're told is pretty smart, he handled this in an INCREDIBLY dumb, oblivious manner. For what it’s worth, it sounds as if Cuban and the team are starting to make amends for their colossal screwups, but still, they made it impossible for women to work in their organization for years and drove good people away as a result. They knowingly kept bad people around and had them work in influential positions. It’s unacceptable and they deserve every bit of criticism that’s come their way. Josh Bowe of Mavs Moneyball discussed how local media has covered the situation:

This might seem like overkill, but here’s my point: these seemingly little things add up. For more than 20 years, the Mavericks let small (and not so small) incidents fester into an absolutely toxic work place culture. Refusing to take things like this seriously makes you complacent and numbs you to the very real and terrible things that are happening.

Without thoughtful and thorough media coverage, domestic abusers can move onto the next job without reflection. When we as media gatekeepers refuse to properly question those abusers and instead give them a platform, it tells other abusers that they can treat women poorly and still someone will always be willing to let them tell their side of the story, unchecked. This has to change.

A lot of us in media (myself included) have to be more thoughtful and do more in making sure instances of violence against women don’t go unchecked when discussing sports and other topics. We can and should do better.

Going back to Cuban, he has some more to deal with. At the beginning of March, Williamette Week reported on a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual assault made against Cuban in the spring of 2011 in Portland. An investigation was conducted and police declined to press charges. The NBA, seemingly hearing about this for the first time, has opened an investigation into the matter. We'll see what transpires from here. And on a related note, Rick Carlisle should feel ashamed for this God awful answer. Bum.

OK, on to the on court stuff. The Nets changed things up last night. Spencer Dinwiddie has been starting at point guard since the middle of November and has done a solid job, but was moved to the bench last night. For a team that's been scuffling as of late, the move will hopefully shake them up and get them back on track. The move also means that D'Angelo Russell will have the keys to the offense. Russell has had his moments, but the Nets would like to see more as he closes the year out. DLo will match up with Dennis Smith, Jr. Like all rookies, DSJ has taken his lumps as he gets acclimated to the NBA. That said, he has tons of potential and can be a special player id given the chance to fully display his skills.

In an interesting twist, we'll see two" Trust the Process" big men that were expected to be franchise players take the court tonight. On one side is Nerlens Noel. Thanks to injuries and a whole lot of self sabotage and some from Carlisle and Mavs management, he hasn't lived up to the potential we saw at Kentucky. He bet on himself last summer after he turned down a big contract, and that bet hasn't worked out for him.

Assuming he gets steady minutes the rest of the way, he'll have the chance to rebuild his value and cash out this summer. On the other side is Jahlil Okafor. Jah hasn't been on the court much this season, and with his free agency coming up this summer, he'll need to get on the court so he can build his value and more importantly, get a full chance to see if he fits with what Kenny Atkinson is doing in Brooklyn.

Is this Dirk Nowitzki’s last game in Brooklyn? He’s not saying if he’ll retire next month but it is a possibility. He’ll get a chance to renew old acquaintances with Chris Fleming, the Nets assistant who also served as his German national team coach.

Player to watch: Harrison Barnes

Year two of Harry B as the leading man hasn't gone particularly well. The team isn't anywhere close to the playoff race and likely won't be there anytime soon. His shooting percentages have decreased across the board this year, but he's making up for it by getting to the free throw line more often as well as taking more three pointers. Barnes is a good player and can play a role on a title team, but he can't be your lead option. He's not built for that.

Rondae Hollis Jefferson returned to the starting five, and he should stay there the rest of the way. RHJ has been solid since coming back from injury and has shot over 50 percent feom the field in each of his last four games. Having him back and playing with the first unit plugs in so many holes for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

Last night, UMBC became the first #16 seed to ever beat a #1 seed in the men's tournament when they delivered a #BEATEMDOWN to UVA. There had been a lot of close calls for #1 seeds leading up to this point, but none closer than Georgetown in 1989 against Harvard.

More reading: Mavs Moneyball