MAVS (0-0) at HAWKS (0-0)
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: State Farm Arena, Atlanta
Radio: The Eagle, 97.1 FM; Univision 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: Tonight is the regular season opener for the Mavs, and they are all dressed up and ready to go. It’s also the start of the Jason Kidd era. Kidd is in his first season coaching the Mavs after taking over this summer for Rick Carlisle, who coached the Mavs for the past 13 seasons. . .Along with Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, point guard Luka Doncic is one of the top three candidates to emerge victorious as this year’s Most Valuable Player award winner. Last year Doncic averaged 27.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 8.6 apg and was named to the all-NBA first team for the second year in a row. He also is coming off a season where he made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season. . .The Mavs advanced to the first-round of last year’s playoffs and lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games. But with plans to finally give more attention to the defensive end of the court, forward Maxi Kleber said: “We have high expectations. A guy like Luka, for example, he’s a winner. Everywhere he went or played, he won championships. For us, the goal is obviously to make the playoffs and then go from there. This is a day-by-day business, but we want to compete and we want to play to our best, then just win as many games as possible.”. .The Mavs have high expectations for forward/center Kristaps Porzingis, who is fully healthy for the first time after battling injuries for the last three years. The last time Porzingis was healthy, he made the All-Star team in 2018 as a member of the New York Knicks. . .Newcomers Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown and Moses Brown are players who are expected to help the Mavs become a better defensive team, while Josh Green is expected to have a breakout year in this his second season.
About the Hawks: The Hawks enter this season following one heck of a season. Last year the Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for just the second time in Atlanta franchise history. After defeating the New York Knicks and Philadelphia in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Hawks lost to the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in the conference finals in six games. . .The Hawks also won 10 playoff games last season, which is the most in team history. . .Counting the playoffs, last year the Hawks were 37-19 (66.1 percent) after March 1. That was the most wins and highest winning percentage in the Eastern Conference and the second-best mark in each of those categories in the NBA behind the Phoenix Suns. . .Over their last 29 home games – including the playoffs — the Hawks posted an impressive 23-6 record. . .PG Trae Young is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Traded for Luka Doncic on draft day in 2018, Young averaged 28.5 ppg and 9.5 apg during the Hawks’ playoff run last season. He became the first player in NBA history to score at least 20 points and distribute at least seven assists in each of his first 13 career playoff games. . .In the regular season last year, Young averaged 25.3 ppg and 9.4 apg, and shot 43.8 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three-point range. He also led the NBA in free throws made last year with 484. . .F John Collins is the Hawks’ second-best player. Last season Collins averaged 17.6 ppg and 7.4 rpg and shot 55.6 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from downtown. . .During the Hawks’ 18 playoff games, he averaged 13.9 ppg and 8.7 rpg. . . The 44 career 20-pt/10-reb. games Collins has produced are the most by any player in the 2017 NBA draft class. . .Last year C Clint Capela averaged 15.2 ppg, 14.3 rpg and 2.1 bpg.