The Dallas Mavericks are having a nice start to their 2023-24 season. Can they stay the course and expectedly beat the young and rugged Charlotte Hornets?
Catch the game tomorrow at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Dallas Mavericks (4-1, 2-0 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Luka Doncic
- Kyrie Irving (day-to-day) / Josh Green
- Derrick Jones Jr.
- Grant Williams
- Dereck Lively
The Mavericks lost to the Denver Nuggets in their first game of the In-Season tournament, 125-114. It was, however, after they racked up four consecutive wins to open the regular season, so it’s still good overall.
Luka Doncic (33.8 PPG) is sitting atop the scoring ladder playing like a top MVP candidate yet again, and he should be able to perform as such. Kyrie Irving recently missed two games but returned vs. the Nuggets, scoring 22 points alongside seven assists and four steals. He is, however, listed as a game-time decision for tomorrow.
Resident sharpshooter Tim Hardaway Jr. and ‘3 and D’ guy Grant Williams appear to be the secondary guys behind Doncic and Irving, with the former swishing 16 threes in his first four games, and the latter having 10 treys in his last two outings. Rookie big man Dereck Lively II (7.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG) figures to continue shaping his place in the team.
The Mavs are scoring 120.8 PPG with a +5.0 net rating.
AWAY: Charlotte Hornets (2-3, 1-1 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- LaMelo Ball
- Terry Rozier
- Gordon Hayward
- PJ Washington
- Mark Williams
The Hornets are on the second night of a back-to-back, but they are coming off a good win as they edged out the Indiana Pacers, 125-124, after LaMelo Ball, who’s not known for his defense, stripped Tyrese Haliburton at the end of the game. It also halted a three-game skid.
Hopefully, such a victory and moment bolsters Ball’s shooting confidence. He’s been quite atrocious thus far, making just 30.5% of his attempts through four games. His 15.5 PPG average is also a significant drop-off from his two-straight 20+ PPG seasons in ‘21-22 and ‘22-23.
Fortunately, Terry Rozier (22.0 PPG), PJ Washington (19.0 PPG), Gordon Hayward (15.3), Brandon Miller (15.5 PPG) are all producing nicely on offense, eclipsing what was expected. It’ll be interesting to see how well they can maintain their scoring, especially Miller, the second-overall pick of the 2023 draft and the targeted future of the franchise, alongside Ball.
The Hornets are scoring 113.8 PPG with a -6.5 net rating.
Handicap: The Mavs (-11) barely miss at covering the spread.
Over/Under: The total goes over 232.5.