Luka Doncic and Mavericks try to extend their win streak to four as they take on the Hornets, looking for their fifth straight win. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)
- Surging Charlotte Hornets seek fifth straight win against a Mavericks team that’s won three in a row
- Kristaps Porzingis returns to the Dallas lineup for the first time since knee surgery
- Check the odds, analysis and betting preview below
Two streaking clubs collide in the Queen City, as the Charlotte Hornets look to make it five straight wins when they host the Dallas Mavericks, who have won three in a row.
Dallas’ last game was postponed due to COVID-related issues, and some key contributors will still be out for this one, though a big add to the roster is the return of Kristaps Porzingis, who’s been out since the bubble last season recovering from knee surgery.
That’s probably why bettors are siding with the visitors in this one, making the Mavs 4-point favorites.
Mavericks vs Hornets Odds
|Dallas Mavericks||-4 (-110)||-174||Ov 220 (-110)|
|Charlotte Hornets||+4 (-110)||+146||Un 220 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel taken January 12 Tip-off is Wednesday at 7pm ET
Let’s break down this matchup, and find you the best bet for Wednesday night.
Luka Carrying His Club
It’s no secret that the fate of the Mavericks night in and night out lies in the capable hands of Luka Doncic. It’s been his ability to carry his team that has helped them climb out of an early 1-3 start and tread water in the tough Western Conference.
Since then, Doncic has guided the Mavericks to four wins in five games — their only loss was to the Bulls, when he didn’t play.
Good morning! Here is every point and assist @luka7doncic recorded from 5:00 in the 4th until the end of the game (AKA when it became a “clutch situation”):
13 PTS (67/50/80)
142.9 Offensive Rating (47.6 NET Rating)
0 bad step back 3s
1 CLUTCH WIN#MVP pic.twitter.com/jsdOe6fVco
— Mavs Film Room 🐴 📽 (@MavsFilmRoom) January 8, 2021
He’s averaging 26.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, all team highs. One glaring weakness has been his shooting from distance. In four games to open the year, Doncic shot just 2-for-21 from beyond the arc, a 9.5% clip.
The turn of the new year has been better (it couldn’t have gotten worse) as he’s hit 11-for-36, still a lowly 30.6% mark.
Cuban with quite a zinger, aimed at himself, when asked on @dfwticket about the notion that Porzingis simply might be injury-prone: “That’s exactly what I thought about Steve Nash and how did that work out for me?”
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) January 12, 2021
The return of Porzingis should help, with another legit scoring threat that can help space the floor. Normally, I’d expect Rick Carlisle to ease his oft-injured big man into the lineup, but Dallas is in flux: Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson, and Maxi Kleber were all out for the NOLA matchup, and it’s unclear if they will be available in Charlotte. The lack of bodies alone may force him KP to play a few more minutes.
Hornets Starting To Buzz
No matter how you cut it, the Gordon Hayward contract is atrocious. Thankfully he’s played every game for Charlotte and looks far more confident than the dude trying to get his game and confidence back after a horrific broken leg injury with the Celtics.
GORDON HAYWARD went off for 44 PTS (15/25 FG) 🔥 pic.twitter.com/xl5ndf00P6
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 7, 2021
Hayward leads the team in scoring at 22.5 points per game, and he seems to be the perfect offensive hub for a team of youngsters looking for a pro to show them how to do it right.
Without him, Devonte’ Graham’s sluggish start would have been the news and we’d watch his confidence wane, but he, Terry Rozier, PJ Washington and Miles Bridges have all been able to slot down into roles where they don’t need to be stars (yet), just solid contributors.
LaMelo Ball comes off the bench to tally his first career triple-double! #AllFly @MELOD1P: 22 PTS, 12 REB, 11 AST pic.twitter.com/IHwfedr9G4
— NBA (@NBA) January 10, 2021
This also helps because it appears rookie LaMelo Ball was built for primetime. The third overall pick is still a work in progress, but he’s already the team’s best passer, currently leads the club in rebounding and became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double. In fact, he’s been hovering around triple double marks in his last five games — four of them wins.
Hayward’s workmanlike game and Ball’s flash are making the Hornets one of the best stories to start the season.
What’s The Best Bet?
This game features two of the best defensive teams in basketball. The Mavericks are third in the NBA in points allowed, giving up just 105.7 points a game, while the Hornets are in seventh, at 107.5. Both teams are also top-4 in defending the three-ball: Dallas is second in 3-point shooting defense, limiting teams to 31.5%, with Charlotte in fourth at 33.3%.
Normally, trusting in Luka should be your winning formula, but with the uncertainty of who’s available and the limited participation of Porzingis, Charlotte should be able to hang and keep this one close.
The pick: Hornets +4 (-110)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.