TV: League Pass
- Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki makes his first start of the season tonight. The franchise’s all-time leading scorer missed the first 27 games recovering from knee surgery and has averaged 10.0 points off the bench in the last six games. This will be the 15th different starting lineup in just 34 games this season for Dallas. “We’re kind of starting over again here, in a way,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we’ve had a day or so to work on some things and this will be another starting point.”
- Chris Kaman, the Mavericks’ starting center, played with the Hornets last season. He has averaged 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds in his last five games and is a big concern for New Orleans, according to head coach Monty Williams. “He’s a really good player. He’s really skilled in the box. He posts up more now than he did. He still shoots jump shots. He’s a decent defender in the pick and roll. He knows how to defend his position in the post. He’s just a really good player,” Williams said. “I enjoyed coaching him.”
- There are changes in the Hornets’ starting lineup tonight, too, with shooting guard Eric Gordon replacing rookie Austin Rivers in the first unit. Al-Farouq Aminu will also start at small forward, giving New Orleans the starting five it originally envisioned for this season along with No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, center Robin Lopez and point guard Greivis Vasquez. Gordon has averaged 17.5 points and 5.0 assists in two games off the bench this season.
- The Mavericks have dominated this series in Dallas, winning 19 of the last 20 meetings against the Hornets. New Orleans’ only win here since relocating to New Orleans was a 104-97 victory on Jan. 14, 2009.
– Dave Ivey