A lot has changed for the Dallas Mavericks since the Brooklyn Nets last saw them in late November. The Nets try to snap a 3-game slide Monday, hosting Dallas.
Few teams have pulled off the extreme makeover the Dallas Mavericks have performed during the 2018-19 season. The Brooklyn Nets get their first look at the reinvented Mavericks Monday night when Dallas visits Barclays Center.
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When the Nets visited the Mavericks on Nov. 21, Dallas started Harrison Barnes and Luka Doncic at the forwards, Dorian Finney-Smith (in place of injured Wesley Matthews) and Dennis Smith Jr. at guard with DeAndre Jordan in the middle.
Fast forward to early March and none of those players will be in those roles Monday night in Brooklyn.
The lone holdover in the starting lineup is Doncic, who is now where the Mavericks intended him to be all along, at the point guard spot. Finney-Smith is still with the club, but comes off the bench.
Barnes was traded to Sacramento Kings for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph (who was waived) at the Feb. 7 trade deadline. A week before that Jordan, Matthews and Smith — along with two first-round picks with top-10 protection — were dispatched to the New York Knicks.
The Nets (32-33) will be looking to stop a three-game losing streak when the lottery-bound Mavericks (27-35) arrive Monday night.
Brooklyn has been overmatched in its last three games and fell into seventh place in the Eastern Conference in the wake of the Detroit Pistons (31-31) topping the visiting Toronto Raptors on Sunday in overtime, 112-107.
Detroit is a half-game up on the Nets in sixth place. The Orlando Magic (30-35) and Charlotte Hornets (29-34) remain in a virtual deadlock for eighth place, with the Magic taking an awful 107-93 loss on the road to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, while the Hornets fell at home to the Portland Trail Blazers 118-108.
Both teams trail Brooklyn by two games. The Heat (28-34) are a half-game behind the Magic and Hornets for the eighth spot, while the Washington Wizards (26-37) got back to within three games of eighth with a 135-121 romp at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.
Dallas hung around on the edge of the Western Conference playoff race for awhile before slipping after the New Year.
The Mavs are just 10-16 since the calendar turned and have lost six of their last seven, including getting worked over at home by the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night, 111-81, and are opening a three-game Eastern swing that will include games at Washington and Orlando this week.
Here are three things to watch as the Nets try to gain a season split with Dallas after losing the first meeting in Big D by a 119-113 count.