Preview: Mavs welcome in lowly Hornets before three-game road trip
Earl K. Sneed previews the Dallas Mavericks' Saturday night showdown against Southwest Division rival New Orleans, as the Mavs try to bounce back from a tough overtime loss in Miami.
Preview: Hornets (7-25) at Mavericks (13-20)
Mavs welcome in lowly Hornets before three-game road trip
Sitting one loss shy of tying the NBA record of 10 straight overtime defeats, the Mavericks (13-20) will attempt to outlast No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the upstart Hornets (7-25) in the first of four meetings between the teams this season. The Mavs will also try to correct the costly errors that prevented them from closing out the defending champion Heat, hoping to get back on track at home following losses to Denver and San Antonio at the American Airlines Center.
“We’ve just got to keep getting a little better in all areas – offense, defense, recognition, shot-making, protecting the paint, decision-making. We’re going to keep working hard at it and keep pushing to get better,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added.
Back on their home floor, the Mavs hope to learn from their last loss on the fly. They’ll continue working Nowitzki into the fold as well, after the 11-time All-Star finished with a season-high 19 points off the bench in just his sixth appearance of the year to accompany leading scorer O.J. Mayo’s 30 points in a losing cause.
With Nowitzki rounding back into his All-Star form, the Mavericks will attempt to rebound from the tough loss to the Heat back on their home hardwood before beginning a three-game road trip in Utah on Monday, welcoming in the lowly Hornets, who have lost six straight in Dallas entering the night. And after working in with the Mavs’ starters for the first time during Friday’s practice, Nowitzki could be set to make his first start of the season, following a season-high 29 minutes of action on the second night of a back-to-back.
“I guess we’ll see. The good thing is about the 29 minutes it was a back-to-back as well, and on the first back-to-back it was Denver here on the second night of the back-to-back and I was not only a step slow but three steps slow. That was probably the worst I’ve looked. So for that being a back-to-back, I thought that was great but we’ll see. Keep pushing the minutes here and there, stretch by stretch, one or two more minutes each time and push me up into the 30s. We’ll see what the game dictates. I think Coach [Carlisle] always tries to go with the flow and certain lineups and matchups out there. … So we’ll just wait and see what happens,” Nowitzki said to the notion that he could slide into the starting lineup as soon as Saturday.
“[Nowitzki] brings patience to the game and I think we all can learn from that,” Mayo added. “Him being such a dominant player for so many years in this league, he brings a great poise to our game and we’ve just got to continue building and getting better.”
Note: The Mavericks will return to action at home on Saturday night, hosting No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. It’s the first of four regular-season meetings between the two teams this season. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.