Struggling Hornets look to get on track vs. Mavs

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The Charlotte Hornets are counting on a big-picture payoff as the losses mount, though they’re managing to learn from them.

They’ve lost four games in a row going into Saturday night’s clash with the Dallas Mavericks in Charlotte, N.C.

Continued development the next couple of months from a core of young players is something the Hornets are banking on.

“No matter what happens, we’re gaining knowledge and they’re gaining great experience,” coach James Borrego said. “I think that’s a win for us in the long run.”

There haven’t been many wins lately. The Hornets have lost 12 of their last 13 games since defeating Dallas 123-120 in overtime on Jan. 4 in Dallas.

So it has been a long month for the Hornets.

Borrego said patience is in order as long as there’s improvement.

“It’s going to be good for us in the big picture,” Borrego said. “That has been our plan from Day 1. … The plan all along from the beginning is to play the young guys. The goal right now is to continue to get these young guys experience. The more, the better.”

The Mavericks are in a much better situation at this stage of the season. They’ve won two of their last four games after Friday night’s one-point loss at the Washington Wizards.

Still, they’ve played five games in a row without Luka Doncic, who has a sprained ankle.

“The important thing now is to work on our health going into the break,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “And do everything we can to win some games.”

Dallas is being cautious with Doncic, who averages 28.8 points per game.

“Full recovery means he’s 100 percent and we will go from there,” Carlisle said.

One storyline for Saturday night could be the availability of Mavericks guard Seth Curry, who’s from Charlotte but has missed a couple of games this week with knee soreness. He returned to action Friday and posted 20 points.

The Hornets will have a roster adjustment after putting Cody Martin in the concussion protocol, and he’ll miss the Dallas game. This comes with the team announcing that he underwent a procedure to address a nasal fracture from an injury suffered Tuesday night at Houston. Martin has averaged 4.5 points in 37 appearances this year.

Charlotte guard Terry Rozier scored 29 points in the earlier victory at Dallas. That was in a stretch of five straight games when he topped the Hornets’ scoring list.

More recently, forward Miles Bridges has shown a scoring touch. He has led Charlotte in scoring in three of the last four games, moving to the power forward spot for chunks of time.

“The way Miles is playing right now at the ‘4,’ we’ve got to continue to look at Miles at the ‘4,’ ” Borrego said. “I’ve got to find more minutes for us to play Miles at the ‘4.’ “

To do that, the Hornets might be shifting some players around or using lineups not frequently in place this season.

“We could look at some different combinations,” Borrego said.

The Hornets haven’t played since losing at the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. This will be the lone home game in a five-game stretch for Charlotte.

–Field Level Media

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