It's an eight-game Monday night slate in the NBA, and the Dallas Mavericks host the Boston Celtics in the biggest matchup of the evening.
The biggest storyline heading into this game is Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving facing his former team while former Mavs center Kristaps Porzingis will miss this game with an injury.
Both the Mavericks and Celtics will aim to make deep postseason runs, and for either team, a win over a quality opponent would do wonders for confidence and playoff positioning.
|BOS Celtics -2.5
|American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
|8:30 PM ET, Monday, January 22
|How to watch
|NBA League Pass, local broadcast networks
Boston will be without Kristaps Porzingis (knee, out) for Monday's game against Dallas. Jrue Holiday and Al Horford reportedly will play after missing Sunday's game against the Houston Rockets due to an elbow issue and rest, respectively.
Guards Seth Curry (ankle, questionable) and Dante Exum (heel, doubtful) are the only two players on the Mavericks injury report.
This Monday night game features the two teams that shoot the most three-point shots per game in the NBA. Boston and Dallas combine for over 80 three-point attempts per game.
In terms of percentages, things are not as prolific: Boston ranks seventh with a 37.9 three-point percentage, while Dallas is 15th with a 36.8 percentage. But their strategies work more often than not, with each group in the top 10 in team points scored per game as well as having a winning percentage over .500.
Each team has a pair of dominant scorers. The Mavericks get 33.6 points per game from Luka Doncic and 25.3 from Kyrie Irving, and Boston gets 26.7 points each night from Jayson Tatum plus 22.8 from Jaylen Brown.
Aside from shooting threes often and having a pair of stars, these teams are pretty different stylistically.
Boston ranks second in defensive rating and 20th in pace, indicating that they prefer to let offensive possessions develop and grind their opponents down on the other end of the floor. Dallas, usually through Doncic and Irving, play quickly with the league's eighth-fastest pace and let the two stars take open shots whenever they get opportunities.
But, Boston will be without its chief rim protector in former Dallas player Porzingis, who averages a Celtics team-high 1.9 blocks per game. He ranks 11th in blocks per game and is among the 10 best players in terms of field goal percentage allowed within six feet of the basket (minimum 25 games), per NBA Advanced Stats.
The absence of the 7-foot-2 Porzingis will open things up for Doncic and Irving to drive into the paint, but the Celtics are 9-2 without their center this season. That includes wins over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics and Mavericks have not met this season. Their second meeting will take place in Boston on March 1. In franchise history, the teams have a nearly even record against each other.
Odds mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.