Another division rival comes into the American Airlines Center as the Mavericks host the New Orleans Hornets. It would have been an in-game reunion between Chris Kaman and his former team, but the big man is once again sitting out due to a strained right calf. There will still be a reunion as Darren Collison gets to play against the team that originally drafted him. Dallas will be looking to bounce back after a rough outing on Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks. It continues to be a trial and error process for the Mavericks as they adapt to life without Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavericks will get to see two exciting rookies in the form of Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. Those rookies will likely be the major building blocks, along with Eric Gordon, as the Hornets continue to move through the Chris Paul era.
Here are some notes of interest as the Mavericks take on the Hornets.
The Mavericks have won six of the last 10 regular-season matchups with the Hornets. Despite rolling with wins, five of the last seven meetings have been decided by five points or less. Dallas has won 19 of the last 20 regular-season matchups with the Hornets at home, including 16-of-17 since the franchise moved to New Orleans in 2003. Shawn Marion became the fifth player in NBA history with at least 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocks with his first steal of the game against New Orleans on 4/13/11 (joining Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Julius Erving and Kevin Garnett). Roddy Beaubois averaged 14.3 points/game, 3.0 steals and 21.3 minutes/game in three games (one start) against the Hornets in 2011-12. Delonte West averaged 14.0 points/game, 5.0 assists/game, 3.5 rebounds/game, 1.5 steals/game and 28.0 minutes/game in two starts against New Orleans last year.
It’s a Small World:
Mavericks point guard Darren Collison was drafted by New Orleans in the first round, 21st overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. Collison was a member of the 2009-10 NBA All-Rookie First Team and averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 76 games in 37 starts for the Hornets during his rookie campaign. Mavericks center Chris Kaman spent the 2011-12 season in New Orleans before signing with Dallas as a free agent this past offseason. Kaman was traded from the L.A. Clippers to New Orleans along with Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu in the Chris Paul deal that took place prior to the start of the 2011-12 season. Kaman played three seasons with Gordon and one year with Aminu in Los Angeles before being dealt to the Hornets. Mavericks forward Elton Brand and Hornets big man Jason Smith were teammates in Philadelphia from 2008-10. Vince Carter and Hornets forward Ryan Anderson were teammates on the New Jersey Nets during the 2008-09 season and were traded to the Magic together in exchange for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie on 6/25/09. Carter and Anderson then played a season-and-a-half together in Orlando before Carter was dealt to the Suns in 2010-11. Carter played the second half of the 2010-11 season with Hornets center Robin Lopez in Phoenix. Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo played one season (2008-09) with Hornets forward Hakeem Warrick in Memphis. Mayo was also a teammate of Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez for one season (2010-11) on the Grizzlies.
Rebounding will be a major key to tonight’s game. The Hornets have been dominating the rebounding margin this preseason. The Hornets have out rebounded their competition in every single contest for a total of 224-205. Elton Brand will have his work cut out for him on Monday night, but he’s been effective on the glass for the Mavericks. Mavericks big man Elton Brand started at center at Atlanta (10/20) and pulled down a preseason-high 10 boards before fouling out in 21 minutes. He is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game over his last three games. Anthony Davis appears to be the real deal as he’s 3rd in points per game (15.3), 1st in rebounds per game (8.3) and 6th in blocks per game (1.25) through five preseason games.
Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Mavericks and coach Carlisle said it was a priority in terms of an adjustment in tonight’s game. “Higher efficiency,” Carlisle said. “I don’t like saying less turnovers because that’s a negative response.” I mentioned that Carlisle’s humor has been on point as of late. He continued in the pregame media session. “We’re doing it in every way,” Carlisle said of turning the ball over. “If we were a sex manual, it’d be a best seller.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.