When: 6:30 pm EDT
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: ESPN (for sure), Bally Sports Southeast (maybe?)
The Hornets take the court for one final tune-up before the real games start exactly one week from today. They’ll do so in a nationally televised game against the Dallas Mavericks.
They’ll receive some reinforcements tonight. Mason Plumlee has returned to the team after being out about a week due to health and safety protocols. Kelly Oubre also has a chance to return tonight, but I’d be somewhat surprised if that actually happens. Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier are out for sure.
Plumlee will likely reclaim his role as starting center, and Oubre has a good chance to take Hayward’s spot in the starting lineup if he does indeed go tonight.
The Hornets are coming off a pretty strong showing against the Heat on Monday night. They lost, but that was after the deep bench gave up 13 straight points to lose the game in its last moments. When using regular rotation players, the Hornets outplayed the Heat, who are also using mostly regular rotation players.
The Mavericks have won both of their preseason games while heavily rotating their lineup. In each contest, exactly 14 Mavericks played between 10 and 25 minutes. Luka Doncic has put up triple double-ish performances in limited minutes in both games, but he’s the only Maverick to crack double figures in scoring each time. The Mavericks have played fast and shared the ball well, so this game should be very easy on the eyes, assuming both teams can hit their shots at a decent clip.
The Hornets got really strong performances out of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges last time out, so it wouldn’t be surprising if James Borrego elects to taper off their minutes a bit in the last preseason game. However, the Hornets have a whole week to rest up before the regular season, so who really knows.
But the best part of this game—it’s the last time in 2021 that I have to try to come up with a way to preview a preseason game when no one cares about the result and I have no idea who is going to play and how much they’re going to play.