When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports South(east), NBA League Pass
The Dallas Mavericks come into Charlotte on a three-game winning streak with Luka Dončić who was recently named the Western Conference player of the week. Dallas will be without five of their players due to health and safety protocols, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson, Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, and Jalen Brunson. On the bright side, Dallas will have their star 7’3 center available tonight as Kristaps Porziņģis plans to make his season debut tonight in Charlotte.
Keys To The Game
The Western Conference player of the week Luka Dončić has been on a tear recently averaging a triple double in the past week (30.3 ppg, 12 rpg, 11.3 apg) The Hornets defense will be put to the test tonight, as they have been elite as of late climbing their way into the top 10 in defensive efficiency in the league. The Hornets did a good job in their last meeting against Dončić, who was an afterthought for most of the game, holding him to just 12 points on 40% shooting from the field. The Hornets will have to bring that same defensive intensity tonight if they want to keep the Mavericks offense in check.
Bread and Butter
Ball movement has become the key to unlocking this Hornets offense as they currently rank #1 in the league in assist per game at 28.9. Charlotte’s offense has to continue moving the ball as they have all season and keep all options in the offense engaged. The Hornets have been a nightmare for opposing defenses in their recent four game winning streak, this offense is one of the most unpredictable in the NBA when everyone on the floor is a scoring option. Charlotte has to keep up what has gotten them this far and mitigate some of the isolation possessions that have slowed the offense down in parts of games.
Defense, Defense, Defense
The defense will win this game tonight for Charlotte, Dallas comes into this game ranked 21st in points per game and 15th in offensive efficiency although Dallas will have their duo back together, Kristaps is expected to be on a minute restriction in his debut. This is one area where the Charlotte Hornets have the overwhelming advantage against a struggling offense missing key guys. The defense sets the tone for the game, after a slow start the hornets have bought into the zone defense and are executing at an elite level. Everyone is engaged, and has active hands causing turnovers, and creating extra possessions. Charlotte’s defense is currently 3rd in turnovers per game, If they continue that they should come out on top in this one fairly easily.