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Dallas Mavericks vs. Charlotte Hornets preview: Amar'e's first game!

Dallas looks to make it two wins in a row against a struggling Hornets squad.

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

What have the Charlotte Hornets done lately?

They've lost. A lot. The Hornets are in the middle of a four game losing streak, with a mix of heartbreakers (one point loss to the Pacers) and blowouts (18 point loss to the Pistons). Their loss last night to the Oklahoma City Thunder just extended their losing streak to 17 days. Bafflingly, despite being nine games under .500, the Hornets are still in the playoff race in the East. A small winning streak can right the wrongs inflicted by their recent losing streak. Of course, the organization has to figure out if they think it's worth making the playoffs at all.

What Dallas Mavericks player is due for a big game?

Easy: Monta Ellis. Over the past five games Ellis has managed to shoot a lowly 29% and scoring just 9.2 points per game, well under his season average of 45 percent and 19.4 points. He'll probably be guarded by the bigger Gerald Henderson, but he'll just be an annoying impediment. I'd say it's likely Monta has a highly effective, efficient game; something to the tune of 22 points on eight of 13 shooting with at least five free throws.

What's the biggest match up to watch?

Dirk Nowitzki versus any Charlotte power forward. Dirk's managed to look slower than normal on defense lately and Charlotte boasts a pair of athletic, tall, and rangy forwards in Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh. I don't expect either to really bother Dirk when the Mavericks are on the offensive end, but Dirk's been a saloon door on defense at times and these two could have a field day on the offensive boards if the Big German isn't active and aware.

Are you kidding me right now? It's the Hornets.

Yeah I know. I even labored getting through this preview. I've not seen more than a handful of their games and they are so ridiculously mediocre that it's hard to care even a little bit. But this is exactly the kind of game the Mavericks need to win in decisive fashion. With it being Amar'e Stoudemire's first game, it would be nice for him to get a variety of opportunities with a number of different line-ups.

Bonus question: Who wants to by me a Hornets Starter Jacket?

Seriously, these things remain so cool.

Game Information

6:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest