Nov 30, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Justin Anderson (1) and forward Harrison Barnes (40) and forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) react during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks make a quick turnaround on Thursday as they head East for a quick trip to Charlotte before coming back home for the weekend.
The Mavericks head to Charlotte on a second night of a back-to-back after losing a heartbreaker at home to the Spurs on Wednesday. While sitting at a 3-14 record, the only players the Mavericks should be without on Thursday night is Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea.
But with it being a second game of a back-to-back, Carlisle might elect to sit some of his veterans.
For Charlotte, the Hornets had Wednesday night off as they lost to the Pistons on Tuesday night by 23 points. Led by presumed all-star, Kemba Walker, the Hornets sit in the fifth spot out East with a 10-8 record.
Heading into the matchup with the Hornets, here are three questions I have…
Nov 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) brings the ball up court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
1.) Can Wesley Matthews Keep it Up?
After starting the season struggling from the field, fans around Dallas were worried that Matthews might not ever be the same player post Achilles injury. But now the narrative has changed as Matthews has been on an incredible tear over the last few games.
Two games ago, in the win against the Pelicans, Matthews put up 21 points on 6-for-8 from behind the arc. Against the Spurs on Wednesday night, Matthews continued his groove by recording 26 points and 5-for-11 from behind the arc.
Matthews will get either Kidd-Gilchrist or Batum on the matchup where hopefully Matthews can continue his hot offensive game.
But if Carlisle elects to rest him (which could be likely), this obviously doesn’t even apply
Nov 28, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) dribbles in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Charlotte defeated Memphis 104-85. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
2.) Can Dallas Contain Kemba?
Kemba Walker, or who some have dubbed the ‘Steph Curry’ of the East, is having a career year in Charlotte as he has Charlotte right back near the top of the East despite their offseason departures.
Walker comes into the matchup averaging 24.2 ppg, 4.9 apg, and 4.1 rpg. He is also shooting 47% from the field and 43% from behind the arc.
Kemba runs the show in Charlotte and Dallas must find a way to contain it. He is not only the biggest scoring threat on the team, but sets everything up in the offense at the same time.
Will Carlisle have Matthews on Walker the entire game? Can Williams and Harris split their restricted minutes effectively on Walker?
Containing any point guard for the Mavs is difficult, but with Walker’s speed and shot, it could be a long night for Dallas.
Nov 30, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) shoots over Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut (6) during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
3.) Can Dallas Keep Up?
Against San Antonio on Wednesday night, Andrew Bogut didn’t have a super athletic matchup going against Dedmon and Aldridge at times. But Charlotte could be a different story.
Cody Zeller has taken over the starting center duties for Charlotte and rightfully so. The young, athletic center has changed the way Charlotte has played as they have a big man down low who can run the floor.
Keeping up with Zeller will be a difficult task for Bogut, but guarding Frank Kaminsky could be equally challenging. With Kaminsky’s ability to shoot the three, Charlotte could put him at center and force Bogut away from the basket.
I fully expect Charlotte to go small with Batum at the four to guard Barnes most of the night. Dwight Powell might be called upon early to run with Zeller while Bogut might be saved for when Roy Hibbert is in the game.
Another possibility is Carlisle giving Bogut the night off. With an athletic center like Zeller on a second game of a back-to-back, this is a prime game to rest Bogut.