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Rockets vs. Mavericks game preview: Luka magic comes to town

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Stuck in the middle of yet another stretch of five games in seven days, the Houston Rockets welcome the Dallas Mavericks to make up a game that was postponed due to the winter storm that ravaged Texas back in February. The Mavericks won the first meeting between these teams thanks to a triple double from Luka Doncic. The Rockets won the second game in an absolute blowout. So tonight is technically the tiebreaker for playoff seeding purpo-sorry I can’t.

The Mavericks were the seven seed in the West last year, and after all the excitement of Lukamania and the preseason polls that put him as an MVP frontrunner and predicted a leap up the standings for the Mavs, Dallas is...the seven seed in the West. The Mavs are on a 5-game winning streak and are not too far behind the Portland Trail Blazers and the freefalling Los Angeles Lakers. But anything short of a second round appearance would probably be a failure for Mark Cuban’s team.

Dallas has dealt with injuries and other issues like every team this season. No Mav has played in all 49 of their games, and Kristaps Porzingis has missed 18 contests, including Monday night against the Utah Jazz. That didn’t stop Dallas from shooting an absurd 23-49 from deep to cool off the Jazz. Porzingis and Trey Burke are listed as day-to-day, and Willie Cauley-Stein (COVID protocols) and JJ Redick (heel) missed Monday night’s game as well.

Houston has now caught up to Minnesota in wins, and a loss tonight coupled with a Timberwolves win would put Houston in last place in the NBA. Of course, the three worst teams all have the same odds of nabbing each of the top four picks, so it’s a moot point right now.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest

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