The Charlotte Hornets are wasting a strong start to the season and look to begin changing their course when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. The Hornets have dropped six of nine since a promising 8-3 start after a frustrating 125-120 overtime setback against Minnesota on Saturday at home as they coughed up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
Charlotte Hornets vs Dallas Mavericks
When: 8:30 PM ET, Monday, December 5, 2016
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
|717||CHARLOTTE||4.5 (-110)||190 (-110)||-200
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
PREDICTION: Hornets 98, Mavericks 90
“(Saturday) was especially disappointing,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford told reporters. “The reality is we’re going to become a more physical group or we’re not. But we’re not winning like this, not every night.” Dallas stands last in the Western Conference, but has won two of its last four after Saturday’s surprising 107-82 rout of Chicago at home with 26 points from Wesley Matthews. “Through this rough patch, injuries and everything, everybody had to mold together,” Matthews told reporters. “It’s almost like we had to restructure ourselves. I think everybody has embraced that.” However, the Mavericks did drop a 97-87 decision at Charlotte on Dec. 1 while shooting just 37.2 percent from the floor and the teams have split their last eight meetings.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (11-9): Charlotte starts a stretch in which it plays six of eight on the road, where the Hornets are 5-3, and must improve on the defensive end after allowing an average of 112.4 points in nine losses. Point guard Kemba Walker leads the offense, posting 23.8 points and 5.1 assists per contest while draining 42 percent of his 3-point attempts in the early going. Backcourt mate Nicolas Batum leads the team in assists (5.6) after dishing out a season-high 12 against Minnesota, and chips in with 13.4 points per game.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (4-15): With future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) out indefinitely after playing only five games this season, everyone will have to provide more offense if Dallas is going to stay competitive. Matthews has stepped up the last four games while posting 21.8 points per game after draining 7-of-11 from 3-point range in the victory over Chicago. Harrison Barnes leads the team in scoring (20.4) and produced at least 20 in nine of the past 14 games, but was held to 17 on 8-of-20 from the field against Charlotte last week.
1. Dallas G Deron Williams is 18-of-53 from the field in five games since returning from a calf injury.
2. Clifford told reporters he does not expect F Marvin Williams (knee) to be available until at least Wednesday against Detroit.
3. Dallas C Andrew Bogut scored a season-high eight points on 4-of-4 from the field Saturday and grabbed 11 rebounds.