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Dallas Mavericks: Three things to watch for vs. Jazz

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Mavericks are 2-3 heading into Sunday’s night’s matchup against the 3-2 Utah Jazz. Despite its so-so record, Utah is a formidable opponent, whose future includes playoff success.

At one point this season, the Dallas Mavericks donned a winning record. Even if it was only for a few nights Mavs fans enjoyed their 30 minutes in the sun. The Utah Jazz, although not indicated by its record, is the competitive barometer of where the Mavs 2019 playoff future lies.

There are a few matchups (which will be highlighted later) filled with juicy tidbits to leave Mavs fans, and NBA fans for that matter, foaming at the mouth.

One team is considered a defensive predator, while the other suffers from young players and a guard with a worn out Achilles struggling to keep anyone in front of them. Notwithstanding a miracle turnaround from Dallas’ defensive efforts, expect them to stumble in the said area.

Consider the above text a preview to a preview.

A home game debut for a fan-favorite

Harrison Barnes‘ on-court presence is imperative to the Mavericks success, with the proof pointing to the poor defensive efforts in the first four games without him. Although never deemed a lockdown defender, the 6’8, 210-pound, six-year veteran is sharp and physical enough to get the job done.

Beyond warts spotted on the Mavericks’ defense, the offense is scoring at a decent rate, but that’s more due to the spike in the leagues’ pace. Barnes is the calming spirit Dallas needs to fix some erratic happenings in the offensive flow.

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Barnes had an understandably rough start to his season in Toronto, coming back from a hamstring injury. However, the result of this steady, collected, fade-away jumper is necessary for an offense allowing Wesley Matthews 16 field goal attempts per contest.

Barnes had a reputation of playing with a mechanical approach in his first season with the Mavericks as “the guy.” He isn’t an athletic specimen nor a fluid shooter. However, being average in every category is nothing to scoff at as a third option. Barnes is the employee who never calls into work, he’s always there, even if his on-court numbers aren’t the employee of the month material.

Not to spite Matthews, but he isn’t a focal point of the Mavericks’ future. Barnes comeback is the necessary shift in the roles on offense. Matthews can now go back to focusing on set three-point shots.

Welcome back, Harrison Barnes.

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