WHO: Brooklyn Nets (32-33) vs. Dallas Mavericks (27-35)
WHAT: Seriously, this one they have to win. No excuses. Just win. No, it’s not going to be easy - considering how poorly the Nets have played of late. But you aren’t going to make the playoffs if you can’t win winnable games.
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. EST
HOW: YES, FSSW-DAL; NBA League Pass
THE STORY: Game Preview
A Refresher on Guys Who Are No Longer On The Mavericks: Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr.
A Refresher on Guys Who Are Now Currently On The Mavericks: Kristaps Porzingis (injured), Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Justin Jackson, Trey Burke.
Dallas had itself a facelift when it made the Porzingis trade and less notably the Harrison Barnes trade, so we’ll see a different squad than we did last time. They’ve been using a starting five of Luka, Jalen Brunson, Hardaway, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwight Powell. It has not worked very well. The Mavericks are sort of just treading water until they can add Kristaps Porzingis into the mix next season ... assuming he doesn’t prefer another locale. (Yeah, yeah, we know he’s a restricted free agent, but ya never know.)
For now, they’re just kind of letting Luka do his thing with a lackluster cast around him. Hardaway Jr. might be a nice piece for them next season potentially as a scoring sixth man, but at this point it seems clear that a bench role is where he’s best suited. He’s scoring 16 points on 41/32/72 shooting since moving to Dallas.
For more on the Mavs, check out: Mavs Moneyball
Since the trade that sent Dennis Smith Jr. to the New York Knicks, rookie Jalen Brunson has assumed his spot in the starting lineup in all but two games. With a significant uptick in minutes, the seasoned rookie has mostly been a positive, averaging 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. Add to that him connecting on 38 percent of his three point attempts (a vast improvement from the start of the season), it’s becoming clear in his 28 minutes per game that there is longterm potential there.