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3 things to watch for when the Mavericks take on the Hornets

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The Hornets come to Dallas trying to stay in playoff contention

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (22-12) face off against the Charlotte Hornets (14-23) tonight at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks are still expected to be without Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (hamstring). and so will have to have guys continue to step up. The Hornets come to Dallas trying to stay in playoff contention after losing 7 of their last 9 games.

Here’s what to watch for:

Who will be the next man up for the Mavs?

Without their second and third best players, the Mavericks are once again having to experiment with rotations. Carlisle chose to start J.J. Barea the other night alongside Luka Doncic, and quickly figured out that the two still don’t play all that well together. Enter Seth Curry, who stepped up for a 25 point night against a depleted Nets team and was the key to an easy victory. The Mavericks will need Curry or someone else to step up to take the pressure off Luka, who defenses will particularly key in on without the gravity of other players on the court who command attention from opposing defenses.

Which Terry Rozier will show up?

After losing six games in a row, the Charlotte Hornets turned to free agent acquisition “Scary Terry” to carry them to a narrow victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 30-point night.

Rozier has been maddeningly inconsistent for the Hornets with year, alternating between scoring in the low teens and scoring in the low thirties without much rhyme or reason to it, while being the main scoring threat for their offense. Without one of his better nights, Charlotte will have a hard time keeping up with Dallas’ offense.

Who is defending Devonte’ Graham?

The best player on the Hornets this year has been their second-year point guard, who has gone from playing 15 minutes a night last year to 35 minutes a night this year, all while improving his eFG% from 42 percent to 49 percent. He’s the team’s leader in points (18.8), assists (7.8), and has been a good rebounder for his size as well (3.8).

At 6’1”, he’s probably too small for Luka Doncic or Delon Wright to stay in front of, and that’s before you realize that Rozier is the same height. Don’t be surprised to see a Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson, probably together, in this game to try and slow down the best offensive weapons the Hornets have.

How to watch

The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.