The 2021-22 season is going to prove to be one of the NBA’s greatest, as it is the 75th anniversary of the NBA’s existence. There are multiple marquee matchups this year, as well as fabulous rookies and superstars, waiting to shine and attempt to capture a title. We’ve had our first glimpse at some of these stars during the NBA preseason, and seen some players and teams that look amazing (the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat) and some players/teams that make us scratch our heads (the Los Angeles Lakers). However, on a seemingly normal day of preseason games, something crazy happened that I don’t think has been talked about nearly enough.
On Wednesday, October 13th, 2021, you had the Magic edging the Celtics by one point, the Suns absolutely demolishing the Trail Blazers (yes, Damian Lillard was playing), the Pacers barely beating the Grizzlies, and a few other games. However, one game stood out above the rest, and that was the Dallas Mavericks against the Charlotte Hornets. In theory, this should have been a well-matched game. Charlotte has one of the best young cores in the NBA, with Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, lob partner Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, Terry Rozier, rookie James Bouknight, Kelly Oubre, Jr, Gordon Hayward, and Mason Plumlee. The Mavericks had Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Tim Hardaway Jr. Doncic is amazing, but the Hornets have the better overall roster. However, you wouldn’t have known it based on the way they played.
The Hornets won the opening tip, but Porzingis would score the first basket of the night, a three-pointer off a long rebound. Soon after, Doncic threw a no-look pass, and while the three didn’t go in, the Hornets didn’t box out properly and the Mavericks got some second-chance points, making the score 5-0. The Hornets would fail to score on the other end, and as the Mavericks came down the floor, Hardaway, Jr, nailed another three, making the score 8-0. The Hornets would score, but the Mavericks would score right back, keeping their eight-point lead. Ball would score on a mid-range jumper, but unfortunately, it was one of two shots that he would make that night. Yes, Ball took 10 shots that night and only made two of them.
Throughout the first quarter, the Hornets did their best to keep the game competitive, but Hardaway, Jr, just kept knocking down threes, as he would finish the game with 20 points. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 24-17 in Dallas’ favor, and then the bloodbath really began. The Mavericks would hit a three, followed by a coast-to-coast layup, which was followed by a timeout by the Hornets, a block on Hornets center Mason Plumlee, and one of the craziest posters during the preseason from Josh Green, which you can see here:
From there, the Hornets botched another play and Porzingis threw down a slam dunk. Then the Mavericks scored again. And then they drained another three. The Hornets called another timeout. The Mavericks made another three. At this point, the score of the game is 39-17.
Are you sensing a recurring pattern here?
The Mavericks continued to demoralize the Hornets by throwing down dunks and seemingly making all of their shots, while the Hornets can’t get any offense going. At halftime, the score was 61-30. At what point would this stop? Would Head Coach James Borrego give the pep talk of the century and inspire his team to rally for the city of Charlotte? Would Miles Bridges catch a lob from Ball, prompting announcer Eric Collins to shout way too loudly, “MILEEEESS BRIDGESSSS! MY MIND IS BLOWN!” Would the Hornets defend their home court and win the game?
No, they would not. The Hornets would score 11 points in the third quarter; I’ve scored more then that in a single quarter. Klay Thompson would agree with me, as he scored 37 points in a quarter, which is an NBA record and more then the Hornets scored in the whole first half.
Thompson wasn’t the only one who has NBA history with him, as when the final buzzer sounded, the Hornets had lost by 68 points, with a final score of 127-59! Doncic, the generational talent, only had 10 points and 8 assists, while Porzingis had 17 points and 9 rebounds! These are solid stat lines, but Doncic is known for putting up 30 point triple-doubles, so imagine how badly the Hornets would have lost if he did that. The 68-point blowout tied an NBA record for the worst loss in history (or more optimistically, the biggest margin of victory in NBA history). In a home game against the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers won 148-80 in 1991, which is the NBA record. Teams have gotten close since then, such as when the Pacers beat the Thunder by 57 points (the largest road win) in 2021, and the Boston Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls by 67 points in 2018. Whatever the case, Hornets fans are desperately hoping this was a fluke. The Mavericks are in a very competitive Western Conference, fighting for the highest seed, and the Hornets are one of the most fun young teams to watch; well, most of the time. Eric Collins will lose it if he has to put up with this for a year.
The worst part? Jason Kidd, the Mavericks’ Head Coach, has said that he wants the team to shoot less threes, and that night, they attempted 46 threes. This is a lot, but in terms of their entire preseason, the Mavericks are dead last in three pointers attempted in the league. With luck, this trend won’t continue into the regular season.
Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, let’s hope that kids under 10 weren’t watching this bloodbath on TV, and as always, have an awesome day!