What: Charlotte Hornets (2-3) at Dallas Mavericks (4-1)
When: 7:30pm Eastern
Where: American Airlines Center; Dallas, Texas
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast (hopefully), NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets–Association (white), Mavericks–Icon (blue)
Lines: Hornets +12.5, O/U 233.5
Hornets: Cody Martin-out (knee), James Bouknight-out (knee), Frank Ntilikina-out (leg), Terry Rozier-questionable (groin)
Mavericks: Kyrie Irving-probable (foot), Maxi Kleber-out (toe), Markieff Morris-questionable (illness)
Fresh off the heels of a nail-biting road win over the Indiana Pacers, the Charlotte Hornets face the Dallas Mavericks on the second night of a back-to-back.
Saturday night’s win over the Pacers was easily the best of the early-season. LaMelo Ball recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists, clamping down on Tyrese Haliburton (who scored 41 points himself) to seal it. Let’s see if the Hornets can keep building the momentum despite a quick turnaround on the road.
When Terry Rozier went down with an injury last night, he could barely walk, and it seemed like he might be out for the immediate future. Thankfully, it appears he’s avoided any major injury as he’s questionable to play less than 24 hours later. Scary Terry feels no pain. If he ends up missing tonight’s game, it’s almost certain that Brandon Miller would start in his place. The next question would be which player breaks into the back end of the rotation; Bryce McGowens or Nick Smith Jr. are likely on near-equal footing in Steve Clifford’s eyes at the moment.
Luka Doncic put up 34 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists the last time out for Dallas in an In-Season Tournament loss to Denver, the Mavs’ first loss of the season. Kyrie Irving followed with 22 points and 7 assists. He’s listed as probable as he revs back up from a left foot sprain.
Through five games, the Mavs are one of the highest-scoring (120.8 PPG, 4th) and most efficient teams from 3-point range (40.9%, 2nd) in the NBA. Charlotte isn’t too far behind scoring-wise (116 PPG, 9th) but the efficiency from deep hasn’t caught up yet with LaMelo Ball and Rozier struggling to gain a rhythm. Those two will revert back to the mean sooner or later, and the Hornets offense should be among the best in the league as a result. Small sample, but even with Ball and Rozier shooting sub-27% from three, the Hornets are the #11 offense in the NBA. Not bad given the circumstances, which are bound to improve.
Mark Williams has been awesome all season, and he has another chance for a big game tonight after dropping a career-high 27 points (9-12 FG, 9-9 FT) against the Pacers. The Mavs deploy rookie Dereck Lively II and Dwight Powell at center with Kleber out, and Grant Williams can play small-ball five in a pinch. Williams has the size and strength advantage against all of Dallas’ bigs, priming him for another strong performance.
If Irving sits out, the Hornets have a real chance to steal one on the road against a quality team for the second-straight game. If not, Charlotte’s woeful transition defense (5.3 points added per 100 possessions, per Cleaning The Glass) could be in for a long night against a Dallas team that tops the league in transition points off live rebounds.