Mavs-Nets preview: Late start for rematch

BROOKLYN NETS (4-6) at DALLAS MAVERICKS (5-3)

When: 8:45 p.m., Monday.

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas.

TV: Bally’s Sports Southwest.

Radio: 97.1 The Freak, 99.1 FM Zona MX (Spanish).

To monitor : OK, the Nets have been a trash fire so far with all the fuss over Kyrie Irving, parting ways with coach Steve Nash and, oh yeah, lots of issues with Ben Simmons. They expected to have a big three with Irving and Simmons being two-thirds of the equation. But it turned into Kevin Durant and a bunch of guys, which might not be so bad. This group have won two games in a row on their current three-game trip. . . Irving is suspended for at least three more games. Simmons has struggled with inefficiency and various health issues, most recently a knee issue. Durant was left leading a group that includes Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, Nic Claxton, Yuta Watanabe and a few others. But they got support from some perhaps unexpected corners, like Cam Thomas scoring 21 points Saturday at Charlotte in a 98-94 Nets victory. It was their second straight win after starting the season 2-6, including a 129-125 overtime loss to the Mavericks in Brooklyn. . . Durant was as good as ever, averaging 31.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists. . . The Nets won in Washington in addition to Charlotte and will look to complete a 3-0 road trip. . . The Mavericks have won three straight and will end a five-game stand at home, trying to go 4-1. They go on a quick two-game trip to Orlando and Washington on Wednesday and Thursday. . . Luka Dončić is off to a monster start to the season, scoring over 30 points in eight games and averaging an NBA-best 36 points per game with 8.8 rebounds and 8.6 assists. . . Spencer Dinwiddie has been scoring better lately, hitting 20 or more points in four of the last six games and averaging 18 in that streak. . . The Mavericks roll offensively with the second-best rating in the league, but are only in the middle of the pack defensively. . . They will again be without Davis Bertans and Frank Ntilikina, although both are closing in on a return to action, coach Jason Kidd said. . . The Mavericks have won five of the last six meetings between these teams, but the last four have all been decided by four runs or less. . . Rookie Jaden Hardy joined the team after spending the weekend with the Texas Legends G-League team. In two games against the Austin Spurs, Hardy averaged 28 points on 50% shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Twitter: @ESefko

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