Mavericks (10-5) at Rockets (11-5)
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Place: Toyota Center in Houston
Radio: ESPN, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavs: This is where the hard part starts. The first 15 games of the season featured 11 opponents with losing records. Now, the Rockets are the first of four games against Western Conference teams with winning records. Three of them will be on the road . . . This won’t be the first time Luka Doncic has faced off against Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but it will be the first time he’s seen them together. Doncic has jumped into the early season MVP conversation, currently listed at 8-1 odds in Las Vegas. Harden is one of the MVP favorites at 5-2 odds . . . The Mavericks have been on a 3-point shooting surge the last two games, making better than 50 percent from long range . . . The Mavericks swept their four-game home stand to put some distance between them and the .500 mark . . . Seth Curry (illness) is likely to return after missing two games . . . The bench continues to be one of the Mavericks’ best assets and the Rockets are not a deep team. If the Mavericks can keep this game close, their depth should give them an energy advantage in the fourth quarter . . . Probable starters: Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr.
About the Rockets: They are coming off a tough loss to the Clippers in LA on Friday night, but have run off six consecutive victories at home since a season-opening loss to Milwaukee at Toyota Center . . . James Harden is on an amazing run, averaging over 42 points in the Rockets’ 11 wins (slightly under 30 in their five losses) . . . The Rockets shoot far more 3-pointers than any other team in the NBA, but they make only 34 percent of them (25th in the league). They will continue to fling the 3-pointer, which should make this game very entertaining and probably high-scoring . . . Russell Westbrook is averaging better than 21 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game and so far has seemed to fit in well with Harden in the Rockets’ backcourt . . . Clint Capela has been on a terrific rebounding run, getting 19 or more boards in each of the last six games. He’s averaging better than 14 rebounds per game for the season . . . Eric Gordon (knee surgery) is out . . . Probable starters: Harden, Westbrook, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela, Danuel House.
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