The Dallas Mavericks travel to Tampa Bay and the second night of a back-to-back to play their first game in Florida this season against the Toronto Raptors.
Why are the Raptors playing in Florida? The Toronto teams was forced to relocate from north of the border due to government restrictions.
So, anyway … Buckle up, history says that this will be a close one.
Twelve of the last 14 meetings between Dallas and Toronto have been decided by single digits.
While Toronto has won two straight, Dallas enters the meeting having lost its last two games. The shorthanded Mavericks fell to the Chicago Bulls, 117-101, in a Sunday matinee game at American Airlines Center… punctuated by a fitting yelp of profanity.
They will get some help tonight, however, as Tim Hardaway Jr. is cleared to play after sitting out Sunday’s loss to the Bulls due to a strained groin. Also, starter Josh Richardson is back in DFW after being quarantined in Denver for 10 days. The team says there is as of yet no timetable for his return to the floor.
Jalen Brunson is also back tonight, but the COVID concerns continue for the sidelined Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell.
MAVS STRUGGLES VS. TORONTO: Toronto is 8-2 over its last 10 meetings with Dallas. Against the Raptors last season, Doncic shot an uncharacteristic 35.7 percent from the field and recorded seven turnovers in his lone appearance.
CLUTCH RAPTORS: The Raptors won their last two games by three points each, getting crucial stops down the stretch to prevent overtime.
DONCIC AMONG THE GREATS: With Doncic’s 29th triple-double vs. Chicago, the Slovenian star passes Michael Jordan on the all-time triple-doubles list… in only Doncic’s third season.
ODDS: Mavs are 3.5-point underdogs. Over/under is 220 points.
RECORDS: Dallas Mavericks (6-4) vs. Toronto Raptiors (4-8)
WHEN: Monday, January 18, 2021 at 6:30pm CT
LOCATION: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports Southwest, NBA League Pass, ESPN 103.3 FM, Univision 1270 AM
FINAL WORD: Forward Wes Iwundu on Doncic’s spectacular play vs. Chicago:
“What he did today, he showed that he can do that. That’s the type of caliber player he is. Now for the other players, it’s our job and our responsibility to go out there and help him as well. Whether that’s helping out on defense, helping out on offense as well. We know what Luka’s going to bring… For us, we’ve just got to go out there as a team and try to help him and take some of that pressure off of him any way we can moving forward.”