The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 104, New Orleans Hornets 100

Posted by Connor Huchton on February 23, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

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You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • The Mavericks have failed consistently when trailing in close contests this season, which made the Mavericks last-minute triumph on Friday night feel particularly rewarding. Mike James (2-4 FG, 1-2 3PT, five points) and Vince Carter (7-13 FG, 5-7 3PT, 22 points, nine rebounds) nailed consecutive essential threes in the final minute, the latter of which secured the Mavericks’ win.
  • Vince Carter’s three served as a nice reminder of why the Mavericks appeared so reluctant to trade Carter as the deadline neared. He’s been frankly great in comparison to expectations this season, through an amalgam of three-point skill, defensive improvement, and solid rebounding. Few players fulfill their roles as well as him, and never was that more true than in the final momentous seconds of a badly needed win.
  • Dirk Nowitzki (10-17 FG, 2-3 3PT, 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists) controlled the game offensively from the mid-range areas, namely on the right side, and continued his trend of looking progressively more comfortable serving as the Mavericks’ primary focal point on any given possession. The spacing Dirk creates just by finding a jumper rhythm early on is absolutely vital to the Mavericks three-point shooting and scoring efforts (Dallas was 8-20 from three tonight).
  • A couple of other thoughts: Bernard James (2-2 FG, four points, six rebounds, seven blocks) played an aesthetically pleasing and effective game tonight. He finished well, rebounded very well, and defended tenaciously. Seven blocks in 15 minutes is pretty impressive, no matter how you view it. I also want to mention how well the Mavericks passed tonight: 26 assists to 12 turnovers, a ratio I’d partially assign to Dirk’s presence and partially to the measure of perimeter spacing the Hornets allowed, which the Mavericks seized strongly.
  • Matt Hulme

    Until the Mavs can figure out how to maintain a lead, predominately against lottery teams, they’ll never be able to compete for a playoff spot.

    This recent stretch has been promising, particularly concerning Dirk’s continued reemergence as Dallas’ offensive focal point and Carter’s spectacularly Vinsane play of late, but the Mavs tendency to surrender double-digit leads in the second and third quarters (coupled with and as a consequence of clinically poor defensive rebounding) has got to be our largest Achilles’ heel, and likely biggest reason for our current position in the standings.

    Winning a couple close ones late has been huge, but I need to see more to believe that we’re somehow overcoming this season’s chronically debilitating anti-clutch problem.

    Biggest game of the season tomorrow night. I have a good feeling it will be a highly entertaining game of basketball, if nothing more.