Monday – Mavericks @ Bulls
The Mavericks will be on the second night of a back-to-back after taking down the Wolves in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon. More info on the availability of Luka Doncic, who sat out Sunday nursing his lingering hand injury, and Kristaps Porzingis, who hasn’t played both ends of a back-to-back since returning from a knee injury that caused him to miss 10 games earlier this season, will surface later on Monday. The Mavericks have won 7 out of 9 against the Bulls dating back to the start of the 2015-2016 season.
Matchup to watch: Who will be on the floor?
As much as the Mavericks have an iffy injury report, the Bulls take that to another level. Chicago has 10 players on its injury report on Basketball Reference and players that are questionable/probable for Monday night’s game include Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter, Otto Porter Jr. and Coby White. It’s been another bad season for the Bulls and looking over their stats, nothing jumps out as especially telling besides them being 30th in the league in rebounds per game. The Mavericks need to take care of this game tonight.
Wednesday – Pelicans @ Mavericks
After a four-game road trip, the Mavericks return home to take on the New Orleans Pelicans looking to sweep the season series. The Mavs struggles at the AAC are well documented but they will be look win their 3rd in a row at home on Wednesday. Both of these teams have a lot to play for as the season winds down, the Pelicans are right in the middle of a chase for the 8th seed while the Mavs are trying to improve their playoff seeding.
Matchup of the night: Containing Zion
New Orleans has a ton of talent on their roster, including first time All-Star Brandon Ingram but let’s be real, the main attraction is rookie Zion Williamson now that he’s back after missing the first 44 games of the season. This will be the first time the Pelicans will have to make a decision on Zion as far as if he’s going to play on the 2nd night of a back to back. The rookie is averaging 24 points per game on 59% from the field in 15 games. He had a career high 35 points on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
New Orleans is 9-7 since his return and 15–11 since 1/1.
Friday – Grizzlies @ Mavericks
Two of the league’s most electric, young duos go head-to-head Friday night at the American Airlines Center. On the second game of a three-game homestand, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis will meet Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson in what could be a feisty, division rivalry for years to come. So far this season, this matchup has yet to occur, as KP and Ja missed the first game back in November and Luka was held out of the most recent matchup about a month ago.
In that last meeting between the two teams, it was a lot of back and forth buckets. KP had one of his best games of the year (32p and 13r) with Luka injured. However, Ja and Jackson Jr. propelled the Grizzlies to the win, 121-107. The season series is tied 1-1 and now with full, healthy lineups, this should be a stellar performance from both sides.
Matchup to watch: Slowing down Ja Morant
Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant had a quiet 21-point game the last time he faced the Mavs, but the projected Rookie of the Year is out to continue to prove everyone he is a future force in this league for years to come. This year’s second pick of the draft is averaging 17.7ppg, 3.4rpg and 7apg all while shooting 49 percent from the field. He’s quick, both on and off the ball, he can split defenders and zones (by himself) unlike anyone else in the league and he can jump out of the building with ease. Just ask Kevin Love about that.
Sunday – Pacers @ Mavericks
The first matchup of the season between these two ended with a Mavericks victory in Indiana despite not having Luka Doncic. Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 38 points and 12 rebounds followed up by 25 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. This time around, the Pacers rotation may look a little different. Jeremy Lamb recently tore his ACL but Victor Oladipo may be starting to find his groove, as he scored a season-high 19 points against the Cavs in their last outing.
Matchup to watch: Boxing out Sabonis
I think it’s safe to say that the first time All-Star this year has shocked a lot of people. Speaking for myself, I never expected Domantas Sabonis to be this good, let alone have much more room to grow. He;s been a force for Indiana all season long, whether that’s his consistent finishing around the basket, ferocious rebounding, or precise passing; he can do it all. Slowing Sabonis down will not only eliminate easy baskets for the Pacers but second chance points and quick transition outlets.
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