After playing host for their first two preseason games, the Dallas Mavericks head east and face the Charlotte Hornets for what should feel like an afternoon matchup (5:30 CT tip). The Mavericks have won both of their preseason matchups so far, at home against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. The Charlotte Hornets won their preseason opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but have since lost their last two.
Jason Kidd said today that Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis will play starter minutes into the fourth quarter tomorrow against the Hornets.— The Kobe Beef (@TheKobeBeef) October 12, 2021
Everyone is healthy, however, not everyone will play. "We're going to have probably 11 guys go tomorrow."
Coaches are typically close to the vest about how they want to approach each preseason game. Even if it’s common knowledge that most teams want to treat a large portion of one game as if it counts so that the players and staff can get a feel and rhythm, a lot of teams don’t let the public know ahead of time.
Well, it appears that Kidd tipped his cap today. He has said that Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis should expect to play starter-minutes into the fourth quarter against the Hornets, and that they should be playing in their projected rotations. Since then it has been reported that new-Mavericks wing Reggie Bullock will not be playing due to “Personal Reasons”. While that throws a wrench in a true rotation dress rehearsal, this should be a great chance to see the Mavericks in as close to regular season action as we can.
There is no doubt that Porzingis has looked fresh in the preseason. His rotations on defense are more active and less labored, his offensive decision making looks more decisive. Against the Clippers in 19 minutes Porzingis posted 15 points (5-of-8 from the field) five rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals. Do not, I repear DO NOT, read heavily into preseason numbers. But the process in these two games are encouraging.
It is important for Porzingis, more than anyone, to get this dress rehearsal Wednesday night to find conditioning and rhythm. Keeping Porzingis fresh and healthy this season, without losing his feel is perhaps the biggest key of the season. That starts tonight.
Finding the three
Once again, never read to heavily into preseason numbers. You’ll recall Josh Richardson made 300 threes last preseason then never made one again (do not fact check this, it’s correct). That said, the Mavericks have been rough from deep. In their first two games they’ve shot 18-of-63 from three. You don’t need to work for ESPN Stats & Info to know that that’s bad.
Much has been made of comments Jason Kidd’s comments regarding tactical changes in the offense. So alarm bells started ringing for MFFL’s when those comments get combined with poor outside shooting. It would be nice to see the Mavericks hitting three tonight, no matter what the volume might be.
How to watch
Tip off is set for 5:30 CT, and can be watched on Bally Sports Southwest.