Hornets Looking for Fifth-Straight Win, Season Sweep of Dallas

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (6-5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5-4)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Fox Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO App and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 118-99 on Dec. 30, 2020 in Dallas

Ball Movement, Spacing Continues to Ignite Hornets Offense

Head Coach James Borrego spoke often during the preseason about incorporating more ball-handlers, spacing and passing into the team’s offensive attack this season, and thus far, the returns have been everything he’s hoped for. While the shot efficiency started slow and is beginning to come around, Charlotte currently leads the NBA in assist percentage (74.3%) by nearly six points and ranks second in passes per game (316.1). A successful offense for the Hornets is a balanced one with everybody contributing and right now, that certainly seems to be the case across the squad’s four-game winning streak.

Executing Another Top-Notch Defensive Effort Against Luka Dončić

The Hornets held reigning First-Team All-NBA honoree Luka Dončić to just 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting, five assists and three turnovers in their win over Dallas last month. The Slovenian has righted the ship a bit since this poor outing and is averaging 29.5 points on 46/31% shooting, 12.5 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 1.5 steals in his four appearances since then (all Dallas wins), earning him the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week award on Monday afternoon. Charlotte will not only have to replicate a similar defensive gameplan against the Mavericks guard tonight, but perhaps go above and beyond with just how well he’s been playing lately.

Kristaps Porzingis Possibly Returning for Dallas?

Porzingis was originally scheduled to make his season debut on Monday night against New Orleans after having surgery in October to repair a right lateral meniscus injury he suffered during the NBA Bubble before the game was postponed. The Latvian forward averaged 20.4 points on 43% shooting (35% from three), career highs in both rebounding (9.5) and assists (1.8) and 2.0 blocks in 57 games last season. If Porzingis plays (currently listed as probable), he’ll likely be on a minutes restriction, although his presence should provide a boost to a Dallas rotation that will be without several players because of health and safety protocols.

Preview Quote

“It’s fun basketball playing like this. When the ball is moving, you’re getting open shots, you’re getting easy buckets, it’s just fun. Everyone’s involved. It’s hard to guard and I think we are starting to figure each other out a little bit. There’s still room to grow here and I think that should be something that we’re focused on as far as trying to get better with each game and build on our wins and improve on our losses. It’s how I like to play basketball. I’ve got some great teammates that can really pass the ball, so it’s been a lot of fun.” – Gordon Hayward

Final Thoughts

Charlotte continues to play its best basketball of the season at the moment and will look to keep the momentum going in the finale of their three-game homestand. A strong first half and then a big third-quarter keyed the Hornets’ road win in Dallas two weeks and utilizing more ball movement mixed with high-level defense, a fifth consecutive victory could certainly be in the works for tonight’s game.

Additional Notes

G Jalen Brunson, F Dorian Finney-Smith, F Maxi Kleber, F Dwight Powell and G Josh Richardson are all out for Dallas (Health and Safety Protocols)… Charlotte is 2-1 against Dallas since the start of the 2019-20 season (0-1 at home), although has dropped three straight head-to-head meetings at Spectrum Center (most recent win: Dec. 1, 2016)… The Hornets have not won five consecutive games since Feb. 14-27, 2018.

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