Setting the Table: New Orleans Hornets (Game 54)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 22, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (24-29) continue their push towards the 8th seed as they take on a scrappy New Orleans Hornets (19-36) squad. The Mavericks will once again be short-handed as Chris Kaman is still inactive due to his concussion. Good news did come on Thursday as Rick Carlisle told reporters that Kaman participated in contact drills and there’s a return date in mind. “We’ve got to get at least one more practice in before he can play,” Carlisle told reporters. “If things continue to go well, he’ll be a possibility for Sunday.” They will be without Dahntay Jones as he was traded moments before the trade deadline came in exchange for Anthony Morrow.

The Mavericks are on a bit of a nice as they’ve gone 11-6 snce falling 10 games below .5oo. You have to go back to Christmas to find a time where the Mavericks were four games below .500, which is what they would be with a victory over the Hornets.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Hornets.

Series Notes:

Six of the last eight meetings between Dallas and New Orleans have been decided by five points or less. The Hornets snapped a six-game road losing streak against the Mavericks with a 99-96 overtime-win at Dallas on Jan. 5. Dirk Nowitzki scored a team-high 20 points for Dallas in the loss. Vince Carter (17), O.J. Mayo (14), Darren Collison (12) and Elton Brand (12) also scored in double digits for the Mavericks. New Orleans has now taken the last two meetings between the two teams, after Dallas won the previous three.

The Mavericks are 16-16 (.500) all-time against the Hornets on the road. But the Mavericks have lost nine of their last 10 road meetings with the Hornets. There is some bad voodoo magic in the Bayou as they’ve lost 12 of their last 13 to the Hornets since Dec. of 2007. With a win on Dec. 1, 2007, New Orleans broke Dallas’ 21-game winning streak, which, at the time, was the longest winning streak for one team over another in the four major sports. The Hornets have gone 11-9 in their last 20 meetings with the Mavericks (since ending the 21-game losing streak that lasted from Feb. 3, 2000 through Mar. 27, 2007).

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 Apr. 13, 2011 (joining Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Julius Erving and Kevin Garnett).

It’s a Small World:

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 (37 starts) for the Hornets during his rookie campaign.

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. 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.

O.J. Mayo was a teammate of Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez and Hornets swingman Xavier Henry on the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2010-11 season.

Three Keys:

1. Contain General Greivis Vasquez (you’re a massive nerd if you got that). Vasquez has recorded double-digit assists in 25 games so far this season, after doing so just six times during the 2011-12 campaign. He ranks 1st in the entire NBA in total assists (517) and 3rd in average (9.4 per game). Additionally, Vasquez has recorded 6+ assists 51 times this season which leads the entire NBA. Vasquez and All-Star LeBron James are the only two players in the league to record at least six games of 20 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. Also, Vasquez has recorded four games this season in which he reached at least 20 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and two made three-point field goals. Vasquez is the only player in the entire NBA to record more than three games with those numbers. The only other player in the NBA to record multiple games with these numbers is Western Conference All-Star James Harden. He would represent the head of the snake for the Hornets, so the Mavericks need to have solid play from their guards as they try to control Vasquez.

2. Protect the 3-point line. Through 55 games of the season, the Hornets are rank 7th in the entire NBA in 3-point Field Goal percentage (.375). This is due in larger part to forward Ryan Anderson’s shooting 39.6% from distance and league leading 160 three pointers made, second in three pointers made per game (2.9) and tied for first in three point attempts per game (7.0). Ryan Anderson has 42.6% of all of the Hornets made three-pointers this season, this is the highest percentage of a team’s three-point makes of any player in the league. In the game that is hit-or-miss, Anderson has been a miss over the team’s last two games. The NBA’s 3-point leader with 160 has gone 1 of 8 from beyond the arc in those contests, totaling 17 points and shooting 22.7 percent overall. The Mavericks need to do whatever is necessary to make sure his slump stretches out to at least three games.

3. Win the battle of the benches. The Hornets’ bench has scored 36.9 per game, including a season-high 64 points from the reserves in the win Dec. 29 at Charlotte. The Hornets bench has outscored 37 of its 55 opponents so far this season. Dallas’ bench is averaging 59.0 points per game over its last two games. The Mavericks are averaging a league-high 40.8 bench points per game this season (Charlotte and the L.A. Clippers are tied for second with 40.3 bench points per game). Dallas scored a season-high 64 bench-points against Sacramento on Feb. 13 (the Mavs’ bench outscored the Kings’ bench 64-25). Dallas has scored at least 50 points off the pine 10 times this season.

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.