The Charlotte Hornets opened a three-game homestand in dismal fashion but have a good chance at turning things around when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. After picking up an impressive road win at Memphis, the Hornets were staring at three straight home games against losing teams, only to open the stretch with a 23-point loss to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
It was the fourth game in five nights for Charlotte, but the Pistons lost their star center Andre Drummond to an early ejection and the hosts were not in the mood to make excuses. “We can come in here and do the proverbial it’s five (games) in seven (nights), but if you do that, to me, you have the wrong expectations of what our team should be,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. The Mavericks had a chance for their second two-game winning streak of the season before blowing an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 94-87 loss to San Antonio at home Wednesday night. Forward Dirk Nowitzki missed his second straight game and has already been ruled out for this one as he continues to battle an Achilles injury.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), FSN Southeast (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (3-14): Point guard Deron Williams has increased his workload as he gets over a calf strain that knocked him out for eight games, and the veteran had his most productive effort since returning last week with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists versus the Spurs. Backup Devin Harris (toe) made his season debut Wednesday but managed just one rebound and three missed shots in 11 unspectacular minutes. Seth Curry has been the beneficiary of injuries to Williams, Harris and J.J. Barea and he finished with 14 points for his sixth double-digit effort in the last seven games.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (10-8): Frank Kaminsky has started three straight games in place of the injured Marvin Williams (knee), but he is mired in an ill-timed shooting slump. The former Wisconsin star made 1-of-11 shots against the Pistons and has missed all 10 of his 3-pointers over the last two games. Since scoring a career-high 23 points on Nov. 21 against the Grizzlies, Kaminsky is shooting 30.6 percent from the floor, including a 4-of-24 stretch from long range.
1. Hornets G Kemba Walker scored 23 points against the Pistons and is 9-of-15 from 3-point range in the last two games.
2. Mavericks SG Wesley Matthews has reached 20 points in four of the last eight games after doing so once in his first eight contests.
3. The teams conclude their two-game season series in Dallas on Monday.
PREDICTION: Hornets 104, Mavericks 93