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Hornets look to rebound against Mavericks

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The Hornets hope to secure a win tonight against the Mavericks.

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After an unfruitful trip on the west coast that saw them go 1-3, the Charlotte Hornets are defending their home court against the Dallas Mavericks tonight, another Western Conference powerhouse.

The Mavs are 7-3 on the season, with their incredible offense being the main reason why. They're leading the league in points per game with 109.5, which is an easy mark to hit when your team is shooting 49 percent from the field through 10 games. It's unlikely the Mavs can sustain this level of play, as a quick look at their players' numbers shows career highs in shooting efficiency for many of them, including Monta Ellis' 49 percent shooting and Dirk Nowitzki's mark of 55.9.

Their defense, on the other hand, is about average (ranked 18th in the league). The Mavs are fifth-worst at defending the 3-point shot, with opponents shooting 38.5 percent from behind the arc this season. That's not great, and their collection of perimeter players (Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris) suggests it's not going to improve much as the season progresses. What's keeping the Mavs from being among the league's worst defensive teams is their interior defense, led by Tyson Chandler and Brandan Wright.

The Hornets won't find this game very easy, as the Mavericks are deep, allowing them to adjust the team's focus and style on the fly. If Nelson's having a poor night, Harris is ready to go. If both Nelson and Harris are struggling, there's JJ Barea. If they're looking to go big, Ellis can slide to the point guard spot, with Jae Crowder or Chandler Parsons helping out at the two. There are so many options available to the Mavs, and that's what makes them so difficult to guard.

Kemba Walker in particular will have to be engaged and ready to defend every minute he's on the court. Al Jefferson won't find many easy baskets against Tyson Chandler's length and defensive savvy. Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams have to guard Dirk, which is no easy task for even the best of NBA defenders. This simply won't be an easy game.

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