Mavericks Take their Talents to Charlotte in Hopes of New Win Streak
By Michael Mulford
Coming off last night’s victory against Orlando, the Dallas Mavericks look to start a new win streak in Charlotte.
After a strong showing last night against the Magic, the Mavs travel to the East Coast to face off against the Charlotte Hornets, who are looking to extend their win streak to three games.
The Hornets are coming off a win against the Lakers on January 5th, giving Charlotte five days off to prepare for the Mavericks. After a disappointing 2016-2017 campaign, the Hornets haven’t looked much better this season, though head coach Steve Clifford has been away from the team since early December with a health issue.
Following last night’s performance against Orlando, Dennis Smith Jr. is continuing to add on to what is probably his most consistent stretch of the season over the last six games. The rookie has averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists while shooting a little under 44% from the field during that stretch.
To continue his recent play, DSJ will have a tough test tonight against the under-appreciated Kemba Walker. Walker, who is the undoubted leader of the Hornets, is averaging 21.3 points per game along with 5.8 assists in what could be his second consecutive All-Star appearance.
Along with dealing with Kemba Walker, the Mavericks must focus on Dwight Howard in the post, who is having his best season since 2014-2015. Howard is averaging 15.7 points and 12.1 boards per game while shooting his best free throw percentage since 2010-2011, though it’s only 55%.
Two things to look for:
1. I’d expect for Dirk to be able to continue his great shooting of late as Frank Kaminsky and Marvin Williams will be slated to guard the Tall Baller from the G. Dirk is shooting over 50% from the field over the last two weeks, showing no hints of his shooting ability slowing down.
2. The guard production off the bench will be important for Dallas, as it has been the entire season. The Mavs have the luxury of J.J. Barea, Yogi Ferrell, and Devin Harris off the bench, who have been the backbone of the team this season. They’ll have to outperform Jeremy Lamb, who is having his best season, averaging 14.5 points per game for the Hornets.
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Tip-off is at 6:00pm at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Go Mavs!