DALLAS -- If the Dallas Mavericks are going to leave for the White House in a good mood Sunday, they'll have to get a win without point guard Jason Kidd. The 18-year veteran will sit out tonight's game with a lower back injury that he aggravated in the first quarter of Thursday's blowout loss at San Antonio.
Coach Rick Carlisle deemed the injury to be "not serious," but he wouldn't speculate on Kidd's availability for the upcoming two game road trip at Detroit (Tuesday) and Boston (Wednesday), which starts another stretch of four games in five nights. Carlisle would only say that the team is going to be cautious in bringing him back.
The focus for Carlisle is simply getting through tonight's game against an overhauled New Orleans Hornets team that has lost five in a row after a 2-0 start. Delonte West would figure to take over as the starting point guard, but Carlisle would not divulge how he will fill out the lineup.
"You lose a guy like Jason Kidd for a game, that's tough," Carlisle said after the team's morning shootaround. "The guy's been an anchor. He's been kind of always there, he's just been a steadying force. So, now we've got to make up for it with other guys. It's a challenge that's going to be a good challenge for us."
Records: Hornets (2-5); Mavs (3-5)
When: 8 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: 103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Dallas finally had a day of rest after getting walloped in San Antonio on Friday, the Mavs' sixth game in eight nights. Meanwhile, the Hornets lost at home Friday night to Denver. The Mavs have held the lead after one quarter just twice this season. This would be a good time to jump on a team that's down on its luck early and force the league's 27th-ranked scoring team (87.3 ppg) to play from behind. ... Also, who starts for the Mavs with Kidd sidelined? West figures to start at point guard, but does Carlisle go with Vince Carter or Rodrigue Beaubois at shooting guard? Or does he go a completely different direction? ... Look for Dirk Nowitzki to get involved early after his six-point outing at San Antonio. ... Dallas ranks 26th in field-goal percentage (41.2) and 20th in scoring (92.4). Points won't come easy against the Hornets, who are holding opponents to 91.7 points a game.
Key matchup: Shawn Marion vs. Marco Belinelli
Hornets point guard Jarrett Jack is off to a fast start, averaging 16.7 points and 8.2 assists, but 6-5 Marco Belinelli has hurt Dallas before and he's a troublesome matchup tonight. He's starting at shooting guard with Eric Gordon (knee) sidelined, which moves low-scoring youngster Al-Farouq Aminu to the starting small forward spot. The Hornets' size with this lineup could give Vince Carter the start at shooting guard and if that's the case, expect him to defend Aminu with Marion taking on the more explosive Belinelli, who can attack the rim and line up the 3-pointer.
Up next: Mavs at Detroit Pistons, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday