The Dallas Mavericks (24-28) are set to host the Charlotte Hornets (26-28) for the second and final time this season. The Mavericks took the first matchup in decisive fashion, clobbering the Hornets, 122-84.
Dallas was powered by 10 first quarter threes and never looked back. Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. (weird...) led the way with 18 points while the team collectively limited all-star Kemba Walker to only 11 points.
The Mavericks have taken care of business mostly as of late, winning four of the last six, while the two losses came by a combined seven points to the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, the landscape can rapidly change in the NBA, but here’s what to watch for Wednesday.
The Mavericks shook up the NBA with the blockbuster acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis leaving the entire fanbase champing at the bit to see The Unicorn play. But the front office has put the idea of Porzingis playing to bed, leaving Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke in the spotlight as the newest Mavericks to make their debuts.
Be sure to read up on the newest Mavericks before tip (THJ, Lee and Burke), and don’t be surprised to see them play significant roles for the Mavericks moving forward. It’s important both Hardaway and Lee find a rhythm and gel as they’re on the books next season for a significant amount of coin. While Porzingis is the headliner in the swap, the three other players have a chance to be important contributors for this season and next.
Another interesting wrinkle of the Porzingis trade is the sudden depth at wing the Mavericks now possess. With the additions of Hardaway and Lee, the Mavericks now have five to six quality options for players with NBA length and skill which is something that has been sorely lacking for some time now. Rick Carlisle alluded to it in the Monday press conference, but it will be interesting to see him tinker with lineups to see what sticks in the final months of the season. The Mavericks are stuck with Hardaway and Lee’s contracts (unless they’re used as expiring contracts next season) so it will behoove Carlisle to see how they fit with the other pieces on the roster.
In his first game
after being snubbed an all-star berth without Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, Luka Doncic put on an absolute clinic against the Cleveland Cavaliers finishing with 35 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. He was instrumental in the Mavericks plastering the Cavaliers for 40 points in the first quarter.
In his last five games the rookie phenom is averaging an absurd 29.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 33 minutes per night. The Mavericks lost players who played key roles on the team like playmaking, shooting and rebounding, so is it that much of a stretch to think Doncic averages somewhere around 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists moving forward? It’s lofty, but Doncic is special.
How to watch
The game tips off at 7:30 CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.