On the Lookout: Nets put 8-game win streak on the line against Mavericks

Published February 27, 2021, 4:00 PMChuck Araneta

A Harden-Irving vs Luka Doncic offensive showdown is inevitable, but which team will be able to make stops down the stretch? 

The stars will be out at the Barclays Center when the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving and James Harden try to defend home court against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic and company will be looking for retribution on the road after a lethargic performance resulted in a 111-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Mavs truly felt the absence of center Kristaps Porzingis, as the defense keyed in on Doncic and made him work for every point and assist from the field. 

"It didn't look like us out there,” Doncic said after a quiet 19 points and four assists. “We just didn't bring the energy."

It was a minor setback for what has been a good stretch thus far for the Mavericks, winners of 7 of their last 10 games. After a slow start to the season, Dallas has picked it up as of late because of the spectacular play of Doncic. For the season, the All-Star is averaging 28.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists as the leader of the Mavericks. But with Porzingis remaining questionable for the game, it will be on Luka to elevate his team even further. 

The Nets should be an ideal team for Doncic to put a lot of points on, as they are only 24th in defensive rating at 113.4. However the problem facing the Mavs is that their defense is even worse with a 113.6 mark at 26th place. For these two high-powered offenses, getting a win could come down to which team will be able to get stops down the stretch.

That should be a scary scenario for Dallas, as the spectre of having to slow down both Harden and Irving is looming. The Nets have been one of the hottest teams in the league, only half a game behind the Sixers for the number one seed in the East. They will put their league-high eight-game winning streak on the table, and right now, they show no signs of slowing down. 

The Nets’ 129-92 thrashing of the Orlando Magic in their previous match just further illustrates how impressive the Nets have been, even if Kevin Durant was announced to be out beyond the All-Star break. After all, there’s no need to rush the Slim Reaper back into action when Irving and Harden are playing beautiful music together. Irving scored 27 points while Harden had 20 versus the Magic, and as a team, they had 20 3-pointers to dispose of their opponents early on. 

The league’s number one offense will look to extend their winning ways further, while a rising superstar will do his best to topple a giant. Find out which squad comes out on top live on TV5 Sunday at 9:30 AM.