The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 99, New Orleans Hornets 87

Posted by Connor Huchton on April 17, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to 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 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks’ season ended as it began about six months ago, with a victory.
  • Darren Collison (10-15 FG, 25 points, four assists) led the charge and scored at will over the course of 28 minutes, deftly darting into the lane and finishing at the rim in textbook Collison-y fashion.
  • And yes, he deserves his own adjective.
  • His 10 fourth-quarter points helped silence any chance of a fledgling Hornets’ comeback.
  • When it comes to Collison’s future and the Mavericks, possibilities remain difficult to quantify. When Collison plays like this, on the odd one of three games when his mid-range jumper is working and everything else follows, he fulfills the role of starting point guard without question.
  • But the other type of Collison performance, the one that includes wayward perimeter defense and a frequent disappearing act, makes it difficult to believe in such an idea. Perhaps Collison would function best in a sixth-man, heavy-minutes backup PG role, one in which he could score at will and not be tasked with running an offense for 30+ minutes a night.
  • It’s up to Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson (as well as Rick Carlisle) to decide if they think bringing Collison back next season in such a role would be a wise course of action.┬áBut unless free agency fails the Mavericks for a third consecutive offseason, it’s unlikely Collison will return as the 2013-14 Mavericks as the team’s starting point guard.
  • Shawn Marion (7-12 FG, 15 points, seven rebounds) and Dirk Nowitzki (7-15 FG, 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists) carried the team the rest of the way, as they have done for what now seems like an eon.
  • Marion’s flip shots were in full splendor, and Dirk embraced his old Dirk persona by simply making standstill mid-range jumper after standstill mid-range jumper. Neither of them were at their individual best, but they both played well enough to defeat a young and injured Hornets’ team.
  • “It begins with defense.” Those were my first words after a Mavericks’ victory against the Lakers on opening night, and the same is true 81 games and a lost season later. Disregarding Chris Kaman’s (3-5 FG, six points, five rebounds) slight struggles with Robin Lopez (6-11 FG, 14 points, 13 rebounds), the Mavericks played quite well defensively, especially within the interior, limiting the Hornets to 36.9% shooting from the field.
  • It’s rare that a team out-rebounds another team by a margin of 21 (58-37) and still loses handily, but the Hornets managed it tonight. This was partly due to the Hornets’ 19 turnovers, and partly due to the Mavericks’ typically strong mid-range and three-point shooting.
  • With this final bullet point of the campaign, I’d like to say goodbye for the year and thank everyone here at The Two Man Game for a great season, irrespective of win-loss record and turmoil. Thanks to Rob Mahoney, thanks to Bryan Gutierrez, thanks to my fellow recapper Kirk Henderson, thanks to the rest of the staff, and most of all, thanks to all of our readers. The 2012-2013 season was not one of emotional triumphs and stunning success, but it was one of unwavering resiliency and ever-present hope. For that, I am grateful.