New Orleans Hornets 102, Dallas Mavericks 92

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 13, 2009 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

Photo by AP Photo/Bill Haber.

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If the ‘new’ Mavs were birthed in the explosion that was the game against the Phoenix Suns, they met their first significant roadblock against the Hornets Sunday afternoon.  For what it’s worth, they came up a bit short.

Worse things have happened.  The numbers didn’t turn up in the Mavs’ favor, but the game was definitely acted as an extension of the new Mavs rather than a reversion to the old ways.  When you win, you don’t always demonstrate progress, and when you progress, you don’t always win.  The Mavs were within three points with a minute and a half to play, but James Posey made a smart pass on an out of control drive to set up Peja Stojakovic in the corner for a three (he was 1-7 on threes prior to the shot).  It turned out well for New Orleans, kept the Mavs at arm’s length, and essentially sealed the game.   I’m disappointed that the ball didn’t bounce the other way, but that doesn’t mean I’m at all displeased with the Mavs’ effort or overall performance.

No one wants to hear excuses at this point, but when your team isn’t in that upper echelon, they come with the territory.  On the road, on the second game of a home-and-home in which the Mavs won the first game, on a night where nobody but Dirk was hitting whatsoever, with Chris Paul and David West both going insane offensively…and yet the game was very winnable.  There were small leads both ways throughout the game, but both squads clawed back and forth for almost the entire game.  Maybe you’d like to dig deeper and analyze why the Mavs didn’t gut it out, but I would think the 13-point difference in field goal percentage (42.5% for the Mavs, 55.6% for the Hornets) would make that painfully obvious.  The Mavs matched the Hornets point-for-point in the paint (both teams ended with 40), but Dallas went 11 for 27 from midrange and 6 for 22 from three.  Jason Kidd, Josh Howard, and Jason Terry combined to go 18 for 43.  Enough said.

Chris Paul was every bit the dynamo that he was in the last contest, totalling 31 points, 17 assists, and 9 rebounds, not to mention 2 steals and a few three pointers.  David West followed his ‘good, not great’ game on Friday with a ‘great, not just good’ night: 31 points (14-21 FG) and 6 boards.  They abused the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop, they abused the Mavs’ one on one defenders, and Chris Paul created for West and others out of the trap.  Chris Paul already has his way with the defense, but when he and West are hitting practically everything they throw towards the rim, it’s going to take an inspired offensive effort from the Mavs to hang with them.

That there was: the Mavs had another excellent offensive rebounding night.  What they lacked in that old-fashioned ability to put the ball in the damn basket, they made up for in positioning, timing, and craftiness.  Kidd, Howard, Erick Dampier (who had 12 rebounds overall) and Brandon Bass created all kind of second looks for the Mavs, ultimately netting 18 second chance points for the good guys and posting an impressive 29.2% in offensive rebounding percentage.  If you want a real reason (other than Dirk, who finished with 29 and 14) why the Mavs were able to hang around despite a miserable shooting night, look no further than the offensive rebounding column of your box score.

Closing thoughts:

  • The first quarter was awful.  The Mavs scored 13 points and made just 5 shots in 23 attempts.  Brandon Bass even missed a dunk.
  • Bass had an otherwise commendable night, though.  He played tough in the paint, finished strong at the rim, and scored 13 points on 6-9 shooting.  He was the primary reason that Erick Dampier couldn’t get off the bench in the fourth quarter.
  • Again, Chris Paul goes to the bench to start the second quarter, and the Mavs go on a 9-0 run until his return.  That’s gotta suck.

GOLD STAR OF THE NIGHT: The Gold Star of the Night goes to Dirk Nowitzki, who carried the Mavs’ offense in the second and third quarters.  He only had 4 points in the fourth quarter, but Dirk’s full arsenal was on display with David West, James Posey, and others playing the victim.

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  • Chaz

    If anything, this loss hurt but it wasn’t brutal. The Mavs came to play and they realize the level of intensity and what they will need to do for any postseason success.

  • Brian D

    I suppose I should’ve been less optimistic about beating the Hornets twice in a row. Still, it was a valiant effort, I’m happy that they didn’t get run out of the building.

    On another note, I’m really really tired of hearing people bitch about the Mavs inability to stop Chris Paul, as if the other 28 teams have a defensive answer for him.

  • tcat75

    Damp probably needed to play more.

    He was abusing NO on the boards, had several offensive rebounds, and he defense on West was acceptable, but he didn’t play at all in the 4th.

    Had Kidd shot a little better, I think we win. But Kidd wasn’t odd, and thus missed or passed up many open 3′s.

  • tcat75

    Also:

    It didn’t help one bit that West was making rediculous shot after rediculous shot.

    I mean, what can you do? I wasn’t particualary disapointed in our defense, but the Hornets made something like the last 20/25 shots. I chalk that up to great shooting rather than poor defense.

    You have to wonder if Hollins could have defended West. Fouls would probably be a problem, but Hollins has the length that could have bothered West a little, I think.

  • RobertM320

    tcat75,

    It funny the different perspective fans have of the opposing team players. I feel the same way about some of Dirks shots (ridiculous). People in his face, turn and shoot a rainbow, and nothing but net every time. Ridiculous to me, but you see it all the time so its normal to you. That was a normal game for David West when he is on.
    Anyway, you guys really turned this season around. Maybe we will finish 6 and 7 seed, and get to meet in the second round. If so, you guys need to find a way to stop CP3. No team stops him completely, but he seems to have career games against the Mavs every time out.