The Dallas Mavericks look to continue their new-found good fortune at home when they play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
The Mavericks are coming off a 127-122 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, a game conducted with fans for the first time this season at the American Airlines Center. It was the Mavs’ second straight home win after they lost six in a row in their own arena.
“It helps bring back a little bit of the normalcy,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said regarding the return of 1,500 spectators to the venue.
The Mavericks have won three of their past four games, while the Hawks just ended a three-game losing streak Saturday by beating the Toronto Raptors 132-121.
This is the second meeting between Dallas and Atlanta in the past week. The Mavericks won 122-116 on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.
The Hawks will be without guard De’Andre Hunter, their second-leading scorer (17.2 points) for as many as six weeks. Hunter, who had missed the past four games with right knee discomfort, underwent a “lateral meniscus arthroscopic debridement” procedure on Monday. The team will evaluate his progress in two weeks.
“I don’t know if you’re just going to replace De’Andre,” Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said. “You just have to have other guys step up, and that’s what we’re looking for. … It definitely doesn’t sound like a season-ending injury. I’m sure it’s going to take some time for rehab and from a strength and conditioning standpoint, but all signs so far are he’s going to be back — just don’t know exactly when.”
Kevin Huerter has stepped up in Hunter’s absence to fill some of the scoring void. Huerter, who averages 12.3 points, has 66 points (16.5 ppg) in the four games that Hunter has missed and had 21 against the Mavericks in the first meeting. During those four games, Huerter is shooting 53.8 percent (14-for-26) on his 3-point shots; he has made 40.8 percent this season.
The Hawks also hope to get more points from Danilo Gallinari and Tony Snell, both of whom have played through injuries, and Cam Reddish.
Dallas continues to get good work from Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. They combined for 53 points in the win over Minnesota.
Doncic, who scored 26, has at least 25 in a career-best 11 straight games. Doncic leads the NBA with six triple-doubles this season and just missed in the last game against Atlanta with 27 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds.
Porzingis, who had preseason surgery on his right knee and missed the first nine games, is starting to play longer stretches of time each game, and his production shows. Porzingis is averaging 22.6 points over the past five games and has pushed his season average to 20 points. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting with Atlanta.
“He was making shots,” Carlisle said after Monday’s game. “He was also moving the ball beautifully and rolling and cutting beautifully that opened up other guys. It’s a positive thing. It’s clear as each game goes on, each thing is getting better, more the way he wants it and more the way we want it.”
–Field Level Media