The Charlotte Hornets have been terrible on the road this season. They managed to get blown out at home Wednesday by a team that had been even worse on the road.
The Mavericks entered this game 2-16 away from Dallas, but that didn’t stop them from jumping out to a 16-point first-quarter lead in a 122-84 blowout of the Hornets at Spectrum Center. The Mavericks led by 47 in the fourth quarter, the largest Hornets deficit of he season.
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The loss dropped the Hornets to 18-19, facing a six-game road trip across the Western Conference that starts Saturday in Denver. The Hornets are just 4-11 this season on the road and have already used up 22 of their 41 home games this season.
The Mavericks (18-19) made 10 of their 17 3-pointers in the first quarter in scoring 42 points in the opening period. The Mavericks’ backcourt dominated. Former N.C. State star Dennis Smith Jr., had 18 points and seven assists. Mavs rookie Luka Doncic had 18 points and 10 assists.
The Hornets played without injured starters Cody Zeller at center (broken hand) and Jeremy Lamb at shooting guard (right hamstring strain).
Three who mattered
Smith: He was clearly the better starting point guard Wednesday.
Doncic: In addition to a big scoring load, he grabbed 10 rebounds
Harrison Barnes: The former Tar Heel, now the Mavericks’ starting small forward, got to the foul line five times, making them all, and finished with 17 points.
▪ Rookie second-round pick Devonte Graham got his first NBA start in place of injured Lamb. Graham looked comfortable, hitting two 3-pointers in the first quarter.
▪ Hornets coach James Borrego started center Willy Hernangomez in place of Zeller, who will miss several weeks. Borrego anticipates a lot of improvisation to fill in for Zeller, including additional minutes of Marvin Williams sliding over from power forward to center
▪ As if the Hornets didn’t have enough injury issues already this week, shooting guard Malik Monk limped off the court in the first half with a left ankle sprain. However, Monk was cleared to return in the second half.
▪ Hornets small forward Dwayne Bacon, who was called back from the G-League Greensboro Swarm Wednesday, played for the first time in five Hornets games.
▪ Rookie J.P. Macura, playing on a two-way contract, was active on the Hornets’ roster for the first time this season.
▪ Kemba Walker (11 points and five assists) was charged with his fifth technical foul of the season in the third quarter.
▪ Every Hornet on the active roster played by the start of the fourth quarter, including Macura.
They said it
“He’s rarely had a bad stretch of basketball. He’s just solid.” – Hornets coach James Borrego on his confidence in starting second-round rookie Graham.
“He had 47 (points) in a recent game. I don’t know if I had 47 points in my career.” – Mavericks coach and former NBA player Rick Carlisle on Walker’s prolific scoring.
““I had a runny nose, a mean cough, stomach hurting, headache, little fever - little fever running about 110 degrees, you know - until we landed. Then I was just back to normal. I’m serious (laughs).” - North Carolinian Smith on returning to his state to play.
D OFFENSE: The absence of Zeller and Lamb doesn’t explain away this much of a mess.
F DEFENSE: Sometimes NBA teams just make shots and there is nothing to do about it. But 10 3-pointers in a quarter is absurd.
D COACHING: A home loss is one thing, and Borrego is adjusting to injuries, but this was their last chance for roughly two weeks at a home win and it was over in the first quarter.