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2021-01-14
Dallas Mavericks
Charlotte Hornets
League : NBA

Charlotte Hornets vs Dallas Mavericks Prediction & Preview



 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

The Mavericks face the Hornets Wednesday night for the second time in the early NBA season. The Hornets won the first matchups 118-99 and have turned some heads as they have won each of their last four games while covering the spread in each win.

The Mavericks have notable absences due to the NBA’s health and safety protocol as Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Josh Richardson, and Jalen Brunson are out. However, the Mavericks have listed Kristaps Porzingis (knee) as probable to make his season debut in Charlotte, but will his presence be enough to give the Mavericks a win against the rising Hornets?

 

Mavericks Missing Key Players

After finishing last season with the most efficient offense in the history of the NBA, the Mavericks have taken a step back as they rank just 17th in offensive rating this year. The absence of Porzingis and trading Seth Curry for Josh Richardson haven’t helped, but such a significant drop off has been disappointing. The Mavericks figure to take a step forward with Porzingis back in the fold, but the absences due to health and safety protocols, especially Kleber who has shot an outstanding 47% from three, will be missed against the Hornets.

 

While the Mavericks offense has taken a step back, the defense has taken a step forward as they have improved from the NBA’s 18th-most efficient defense last season (111.2) to the fourth-most efficient defense this year (105.5). The Mavericks, unfortunately, will be without their two best perimeter defenders, Richardson and Finney-Smith, because of health and safety protocol.

 

Hornets on the Rise

The Hornets have quietly been one of the more pleasant surprises of the early NBA season. Gordon Hayward has impressed as the focal point of the offense after leaving Boston to sign a massive contract in Charlotte. LaMelo Ball has impressed with his incredible passing ability despite not shooting the ball well as a rookie. Terry Rozier remains a walking bucket with an effective field goal percentage of 59.5% (82nd percentile among combo guards, per Cleaning The Glass) while making 43% of his threes.

 

Miles Bridges continues to play elite defense on the perimeter and already had an impressive performance in the previous Hornets win over the Mavericks. Bridges scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the win over the Mavericks while holding Luka Doncic to a season-low 12 points on 4-10 shooting (including 0-5 from three). Expect Bridges to make life tough for Doncic again.



 



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