Prior to taking the court for their matchup with the Hornets Wednesday, the Mavericks were
turning heads of fans in the tunnel with their joking and playful demeanor, an attitude hardly
befitting a team that came into the game with a league-worst 2-16 road record this season.
When the two teams did take the court, the Hornets turned out to be the joke, as the
Mavericks cruised to a 122-84 victory on Wednesday at the Spectrum Center.
It was over early. 10 3-pointers and 42 points in the first quarter by the Mavericks put the
Hornets in a 16-point hole, one they would never escape from the rest of the night. Simply put,
the Mavericks did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted on this night.
“We got a little bit frustrated, defensively, instead of just trusting what we do,” Hornets head
coach James Borrego said.
Playing shorthanded without starters Cody Zeller (broken hand) and Jeremy Lamb (hamstring),
Borrego replaced them with Willy Hernangomez and rookie Devonte Graham in the starting
lineup. And the Hornets suffered on the defensive end.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to come out and compete,” Borrego said. “I just didn’t feel
like we had the right competitive spirt to get us through anything. And that was disappointing.”
If Hornets fans want to write off this game as an off-night, that’s fine. But, this was the wrong
time for an off-night, given what lies ahead for the Hornets.
Charlotte plays a league-best 10 road games this month. That’s what happens when you play 21
home games in the first three months of the season, tied with the Magic for the most in the
NBA. And it’s not just the games on the road that loom large for the Hornets, it’s who they will
Consider these numbers:
Eight of the 10 road opponents entered Wednesday with a .500 record or better.
Seven of the 10 have winning records. Considering the Hornets have struggled at times with the bottom of the league – they have lost to the Bulls, Cavaliers, Knicks and Hawks this season – this doesn’t exactly bode well for them this month.
Among the opponents awaiting them are the best team in the Western Conference (Nuggets)
and the best team in the Eastern Conference (Bucks). They will play the team that had the best
record in the league last month (Pacers), and they will take on the top 3 teams in scoring
offense last month (Celtics, Kings and Spurs).
Charlotte also will face four of the top five scoring defenses this month in the Pacers (No. 1),
the Grizzlies (No. 2), the Nuggets (No. 3) and the Celtics (No. 5).
Charlotte, now 18-19 on the season, has have been hovering around the .500 mark the entire
2018-19 season. Out of 18 possible .500 records they could have, the Hornets have been .500
17 times this season. But if they make it through this month still sporting a .500 record at the end, it will feel like a major accomplishment. At this point, it may feel like a miracle.