CHARLOTTE – The Mavericks may not have been flawless on Saturday night.
But they did have a perfect 10.
Stinging from a terrible loss the previous night, the Mavericks didn’t mess around. Seth Curry made sure the bad beat in Washington didn’t linger by making his first 10 shots en route to 26 points, which worked well with a stronger defensive night by the Mavericks as they crushed Charlotte early, then cruised to a 116-100 victory over the Hornets.
The Mavericks were hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. And when there were four minutes left in the first quarter, the Hornets still had only two points. The Mavericks were up 16-2 and Charlotte had gone 1-of-16 from the field to start the game.
No truth to the rumor that the Mavericks’ jet already was warming up at the Charlotte airport.
But it was certain that with Luka Doncic was back in Dallas – maybe missing his last game with a sprained right ankle – and Kristaps Porzingis given a recovery day, the Mavericks leaned heavily on Curry, who was playing in his hometown.
His father, Dell, was working on the Hornets’ local telecast, as he always does. Seth’s brother, Steph, has come into Charlotte on many occasions and torched the Hornets.
It was nice for Seth Curry to join the party.
“A lot of Curry buckets have been made in this city, so I wanted to add to it,” he said. “I wanted to come here and play in front of my family and friends. Playing in the city is a different feeling with my dad calling the game on the other side. You want to come out personally and put on a good show and have fun. And luckily that’s what happened.”
Interestingly, Curry had only played once before as an NBA player in the Spectrum Center. He’d been hurt or sat because of coaching decisions in the other games when his teams visited Charlotte.
“I watched Steph come in a couple times and get hot, put on some great shows,” Curry said. “I’m sure he’s going to text me a text or something and say something funny about my (game).”
Curry made all seven of his shots in the first half, when he racked up 18 points. He would add three more in the third quarter before finally missing just before the third-quarter buzzer.
By then, the Mavericks were rolling with a 94-65 lead.
“He was amazing,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Curry. “At halftime, he’s 7-for-7 with 18 points. Some guys, when they come home, special things happen. He was cooking. It was something to see.”
The Mavericks needed it after Friday’s last-second loss in Washington. They have been very good at responding to tough losses, going 16-5 this season after a loss.
That’s a major reason why they haven’t lost more than two in a row during the first 53 games. They are 32-21 with two games left before the All-Star break.
“You got a little extra motivation after blowing one last night the way we did,” Curry said. “We made adjustments, watched the film and that’s the good thing about the league, when you have a game like that and have one the next night, you’re able to come back and flush it.
“We’ve done a good job all year of bouncing back and not letting one loss carry into two or three more losses. That’s a good mindset to have as a team.”
While back-to-back games can be taxing physically, in this case, it was a good thing.
“After a night like last night, you need to be glad you’re playing 19 hours later,” Carlisle said. “It was a blessing we were able to jump back on the court this quickly. We just got a great effort. We played the game the right way and played it well.”
If this is, indeed the last of the six games the Mavericks will play without Doncic, then they did OK. The 3-3 record meant they didn’t make up any ground. But neither did they lose any during a busy stretch of the schedule.