BROOKLYN NETS (16-7) at MAVERICKS (11-11)
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: American Airlines Center, Dallas.
Radio: The Eagle 97.1 FM; Univision Zona MX 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: They have lost seven of their last nine, including four in a row at AAC . . . They should get some added manpower as Kristaps Porzingis is expected to return from a two-game absence with a left knee contusion. He said the knee swelled up, but that a few days of rest helped settle it down . . . Luka Dončić is questionable with left ankle soreness and a left thumb sprain. The Mavericks are 0-4 without him this season, including Saturday’s 97-90 home loss to Memphis . . . As if the MASH unit weren’t full enough, Tim Hardaway Jr. is questionable with a right knee contusion . . . Hardaway is one of three Mavericks (with Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell) who has played in all 22 games . . . The Mavericks have struggled shooting the ball most of the season. Apart from their game at New Orleans when they shot a franchise-best 68.7 percent, they have shot 43.8 percent or worse in seven of the nine games during their swoon . . . Jalen Brunson has done a commendable job working in various capacities while the Mavericks have been shorthanded. He has scored at least 15 points in eight of his last 10 games and shot better than 48 percent during that span . . . This will complete a stretch of six games, five of which were at home. They lost the first four. After this, the Mavericks hit the road for games at Memphis, Indiana and Oklahoma City.
About the Pelicans: They own the best record in the Eastern Conference, despite not having Kyrie Irving all season as he has been ruled out by the team for not having the COVID-19 vaccination . . . They also are without sharpshooting Joe Harris, who is out indefinitely after ankle surgery . . . They still have plenty of firepower, starting with Kevin Durant, who averages 28.6 points and hits better than 53 percent of his shots . . . They also lean heavily on James Harden, who is averaging 20.6 points, 9.5 assists and 7.9 rebounds . . . The Nets are fifth in the league in overall defensive rating and No. 1 when it comes to defending the 3-point line. Opponents make only 30.9 percent of shots from beyond the arc, which the Mavericks have struggled with against just about everybody . . . The Nets have gotten a lot of mileage out of a couple of former San Antonio Spurs. Gray beards Patty Mills (12.7 points per game) and LaMarcus Aldridge (13.8 per game) have been efficient and primary reasons why the Nets have an effective field-goal percentage of .536, fifth in the league . . . The Nets are coached by Steve Nash, who will be looking down at the Mavericks’ bench and see Jason Kidd. Those are perhaps the two best point guards in Mavericks’ history, having combined for more than 7,100 assists during their times with the franchise . . . This is the start of a four-game trip for the Nets, who will visit Houston on Wednesday before heading on to Atlanta and Detroit.