Setting the Table: New Orleans Hornets (Game 80)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 14, 2013 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (39-40) will once again be in a shave game as they head to the bayou to take on the New Orleans Hornets (27-53). Since their game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Mar. 26, Dallas has had three opportunities to get back to .500 and have failed miserably in each attempt. On Mar. 28, they suffered a 103-78 loss to the Pacers. In the biggest game of the year, the Mavericks brought a dud to their game against the Los Angeles Lakers, suffering a 101-81 loss on Apr. 2. The most embarrassing of the previous three attempts came against the Phoenix Suns as they fell asleep in a 102-91 loss on Apr. 10.

Their fourth opportunity sends them to an unfriendly location. Dallas is looking to hit the .500 mark since they were 11-11 on Dec. 12. Pride and beards are on the line.

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

Series Notes:

Seven of the last nine meetings between Dallas and New Orleans have been decided by five points or less (Dallas has gone 5-4 in its last nine meetings with New Orleans). The 2012-13 season series is currently tied at 1-1 (the road team has won both meetings). The first two meetings between the two clubs this year have been decided by a total of seven points (New Orleans defeated Dallas 99-96 in OT on Jan. 5, and Dallas defeated New Orleans 104-100 on Feb. 22).

Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 22.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 33.5 minutes in two starts against the Hornets this season. Vince Carter is averaging 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 32.5 minutes in two games against New Orleans in 2012-13.

With the victory at New Orleans on Feb. 22, the Mavericks improved to 17-16 (.515) all-time on the road against the Hornets. The Mavericks have taken two of the last three
meetings in New Orleans. The Mavericks lost eight straight road meetings with the Hornets prior to winning at New Orleans on Jan. 21, 2o12.

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.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.

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.

Things to Play For:

1. 25,000 for Dirk. Dirk Nowitzki needs 10 points for 25,000 in his career. He will become the 17th player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point mark. Nowitzki will also become one of only nine players in NBA history with at least 25,000 points and 9,000 rebounds (joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett). If it were me, I’d seriously consider sitting Dirk in this game against the Hornets to ensure Dirk reaches the milestone in front of the home fans. That might be a conflict as the team is dead set on getting back to .500 and that’s asking the team to win out if they happen to lose the game against the Hornets.

2. Homage to Vince. Vince Carter has clearly established himself as a warrior on the Mavericks. He refuses to give in with the season being done. With his performance against Denver, he became just the second Mavericks reserve in franchise history to record at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game (Bill Robinzine had two such games for Dallas in March 1981). Carter also became only the fourth substitute this season to have a game of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists (Mike Dunleavy, Will Barton and J.R. Smith are the others). Vince is playing to the end and if he’s doing it, everyone else needs to follow his lead.

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.