The shorthanded Mavericks will take on the Hornets on Wednesday night in the NBA. This one is all about the issues Dallas has with COVID.
The Hornets (6-5, 3-2 home) had a solid start to the season, and it is quickly becoming apparent that they have been underrated at the start of the season, and might well end up being a playoff team. With the addition of Hayward, the emergence of Rozier and Hayward, and the drafting of LaMello Ball, Charlotte is looking sharp and is playing particularly well recently – amassing 4 wins in a row.
The Mavs (5-4, 3-3 away) have wont heir last three games and will likely get Porzingis back tonight, so that should normally mean good news for them. However, Dallas (which had its game on Monday postponed) will miss a number of important players due to COVID protocols. They might be in trouble here.
Injury report: The Hornets have no notable issues, aside from center Cody Zeller who underwent surgery a few weeks ago. The Mavs, on the other hand, have Finney Smith, Brunson, Kleber, Richardson and Powell all expected to miss the game.
The Mavs will be happy that Porzingis returns and this team will be a Western Conference finals contender this year, but this particular game might be very problematic for them.
Dallas is expected to miss 5 key rotation pieces, including arguably their three best defenders (Kleber, Richardson and Finney Smith). They will be left with a very thin rotation and with no perimeter defense whatsoever.
The Hornets are playing very well at this time and they are particularly strong on the perimeter, so that is very bad news for the Mavs in their current predicament.
Charlotte would have a decent shot here even against a healthy Mavs team, but with all these problems for Dallas, you have to wonder how they are still favorites. Luka, Porzingis and Hardaway Jr can’t play by themselves, and it’s hard to see where they could find some help. And Porzingis is expected to be limited in minutes anyway.
I’m backing the Hornets here, odds are dropping and I expect the trend to continue in the next five hours until game time. Prediction: Charlotte Hornets – Dallas Mavericks 120 – 105.