Game Recap: Mavericks Hold Off Hornets, 108-100

The New Orleans Hornets have found another great point guard in Darren Collison, too bad it took Chris Paul going down with a knee injury to come to that realization.  While their 31-28 record makes it seem like they are underachieving, the Hornets are only six games back in the race for the 8th playoff spot.  The "red hot" Dallas Mavericks have rattled off six straight wins since adding Butler, Haywood, and Stevenson from the Washington Wizards.

Do the Mavericks make it 7 straight or do the Hornets play spoiler? 

Game as a Whole:

The game looked like it was in the bag at the half and then late in the fourth quarter I could have sworn the Hornets had Chris Paul back on the court.  While the Mavericks have "renewed energy" and are "The NBA’s hottest team right now", hopefully this game gave them a bit of a wake up call.  Even a championship contender has to play the full 48 minutes to get a win.

The Mavericks clearly took a few possessions off late in the third quarter (all those turnovers) and this happened just as New Orleans started making shots.  Without a spectacular rebounding effort from Brendan Haywood and a handful of clutch baskets from Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks do not escape with the win tonight.  Dallas also got away from the ball sharing that worked so well for them in the first half.  After only seven games together the "new look" Dallas Mavericks are still very much a work in progress. 

Let's look at the quarters...

1st Quarter:
  • Welcome back Caron Butler.  Let’s see how that knee holds up tonight.
  • 11:41, West tries to drive to the basket and is immediately met by Nowitzki and Haywood. 
  • 11:16, Kidd makes his first three of the game and puts the first Maverick points on the board.
  • 10:46, Butler takes a quick jumper coming off a screen and drills it.  That is an early confidence builder for Caron, sans straws.
  • Mavericks are pushing the ball hard up the floor on every miss.  The quicker pass seems to suit them. 
  • 8:53, Collison shows why you don’t gamble for the steal on a veteran.  Butler gets the fast break two. 
  • 7:42, Nowitzki is just watching Butler work right now.  Caron takes the feed from Dirk and finishes with a smooth jumper.
  • 7:17, Marion gathers a bunch of offensive rebounds but he can never seem to finish on the put-back. 
  • 6:52, Stojakovic takes a "what were you thinking" three and it leads to a fast break bucket for Kidd. 
  • Early timeout comes for both teams.  There currently isn’t too much defense being played, and the guys need a breather. 
  • 6:14, Nowitzki’s first shot attempt is a rolling lay up in the paint.  Attacking the paint early is a little out of character for Dirk.
  • 5:21, Nowitzki gets schooled by Collison on a nasty crossover. 
  • 4:59, Nowitzki fights hard and nails his first basket in the paint. 
  • 4:43, Haywood running the floor takes the feed from Kidd and finishes at the cup.  Have to reward the big man for running the floor.
  • 3:56, First turnover of the game for either team.  Hornets cough up the basketball. 
  • Nowitzki has been spending a lot of time bodying up David West.  The energy he is saving on the offensive end is flowing right into his defense.
  • 3:11, Terry switches to another gear and knifes into the paint for a score.  He then stays back and denies Collison the ball. 
  • ESPN says Jason Kidd got  "a man’s triple double", whatever that is.
  • 2:07, Haywood gets an early dunk.  Everyone likes easy offense. 
  • 1:24, Butler gets another easy score and the Mavericks are running a lay up line.
  • :33.1, Butler, playing full court defense, gets a quick steal that leads to another quick basket for Dallas. 
  • Mavericks turned up the intensity on defense (really it was only Peja hitting shots) and that led to early offense.
2nd Quarter:
  • 11:43, Assist from Barea to Terry for a short jumper.  I am hoping the Mavericks go up big so we get to see Von Wafer.
  • 11:08, Haywood at the line for the second time tonight.  Makes both free throws. 
  • 10:51, Carlisle makes a smart move by putting Barea on Collison.  Even though Barea gives up size at least he can stay with the Hornets point guard. 
  • 10:30, Terry gets an excellent look thanks to a Marion offensive rebound.  The three ball goes down for the Dallas sixth man.
  • 9:45, The Hornets are giving up a lot of "soft" fouls around the basket.  Marion gets the basket and a foul.
  • 9:12, Barea and Marion are playing a little two man game.  Nowitzki doesn’t look like he is coming back in anytime soon. 
  • 8:35, Give the Barea/Marion duo another basket. 
  • 7:19, Collison goes to the crossover again and Barea falls victim. 
  • The Mavericks are currently shooting 65% from the floor.  Not going to win many games that way, Hornets.
  • 6:38, Caron gets Najera into the scoring act with the perfect pass. Butler is playing better without the straws.
  • 5:43, You know the Mavericks are having an amazing night when Najera has 4 points in the middle of the second quarter. 
  • 5:21, Nowitzki comes back in to practice his jump shot.  He gets a front row seat to Butler hitting another midrange jumper.
  • 3:01, Nowitzki is just wearing James Posey down on the offensive end.  Posey tries to pull the chair out but Dirk still hits the jumper.
  • 2:11, Nowitzki notches 14 points as the shot clock expires. 
  • 1:30, Najera, with a dunk?  If only every game was like this. 
  • :46.9, Barea feeds Nowitzki the ball for a lay up.  Hornets try to contest but there is little defense to be found.
  • Didn’t you just want that last three pointer to go in?
3rd Quarter:
  • Butler starts his quarter off with a short jumper, that gives him 14 for the game.
  • All of the starters are back on the floor to start the second half.  I don’t think they will stay on the floor for long. 
  • 10:12 Screen going to the basket for Butler results in a foul.  Caron makes 1 of 2.
  • 9:23, Kidd hits another three and is 2 of 3 from behind the arc.
  • 8:36, Butler, after his last made field goal, is currently 8 of 11 from the floor.  The knee looks good.
  • The Hornets go to the zone to try and disrupt the barrage of offense coming from the Mavericks. 
  • 6:43, Nowitzki thinks about a lay up but instead goes for the two handed jam.
  • 6:18, Dirk gives up the ball on a fast break to pad Butler’s point total for the night, unselfish play all around.
  • 5:44, The Mavericks are winning by so much that Dirk actually has time to tie his shoe.  In case you wondered, it was a double knot. 
  • 4:53, Peja doesn’t get an easy basket as Nowitzki fouls him hard on his way to the basket. 
  • 4:21, Carlisle takes a timeout to stop a Hornet run, a strategic timeout. 
  • 3:35, Dallas has turned into a turnover machine this quarter.  They have already racked up seven turnovers and the Hornets are on a 10-0 run. 
  • 2:36, Stevenson comes in to give the team more activity on the defensive end.  The lead is now down to 14.
  • 1:42, Haywood slows the game down with a post move and gets fouled by Okafor. 
  • As they say, every team makes a run. 
  • See you in the 4th quarter, starters.  There goes any chance of Von Wafer getting into the game tonight.
4th Quarter:
  • 10:58, Barea draws the offensive foul on Thornton.  That is the first thing to go the Mavs way this quarter.
  • 10:15, Terry makes the first basket of the 4th quarter. 
  • 10:03, David West picks up a travel, hopefully that gets the Mavericks rolling again.
  • 9:33, Najera sky’s for a lose rebound.  Najera negates this play by getting called for a moving screen.
  • Hornets are insisting that the Mavericks play the full 48 minutes. 
  • 8:15, Butler and Kidd come back into the game.  Kidd is giving Collison a ton of space so that he doesn’t get taken to the rim. 
  • 7:39, Key rebound for Haywood on the last play.  The Mavericks need every possession they can get right now. 
  • 7:22, Terry hits
  • 7:19, Kidd with a veteran move, wrapping Collison up as he goes to the rim.
  • 7:16, Have there even been back-to-back jump balls in the NBA?  Kidd with another crazy play. 
  • 6:46, Where does Dallas go when they need a big play? Answer: Nowitzki. 
  • 6:21, Haywood tells Emeka "not in my house’.  Two blocked shots lead to a shot clock violation.
  • 6:05, Bower picks up a technical foul for the Hornets, for an instant momentum killer. 
  • 5:10, Thornton shows his inexperience as he coughs up the ball in the lane.  Jason Kidd forces a pass and it ends up going back to the Hornets.
  • 4:16, Nowitzki with another big jumper, that gives him 31 for the night.
  • 3:30, Haywood backs down Peja exploiting the obvious mismatch.
  • 3:21, West and Haywood pick up the double foul as the play gets a little chippy.
  • 2:44, Collison has 32 points, do you bring Roddy in to try and play some defense on him?
  • 2:15, Haywood gathers in a crucial rebound to give Dallas an extra play. 
  • 1:54, Butler draws iron on a fade away.  Hornets fail to get any points on their next possession.
  • :58.2, Nowitzki takes the ball straight into the paint and puts it up right over Posey’s head. 
  • :45.0, Butler anticipates Collison’s crossover perfectly and gets a steal to ice the game. 

Some Choice Statistics:

  • Mavericks shoot 67% from the field and 50% from three in the first half.
  • Jason Terry was +20 for the first half and Darren Collison was -19 for the first half; a tale of two guards?
  • Brendan Haywood (53%) actually shoots worse from the free throw line than Erick Dampier (59%). 

Closing Thoughts:

Rick Carlisle has some great footage to run through with his team after tonight’s game.  One can see both how well and how poorly the Mavericks can play just by comparing the two halves.  We will all have to wait to see how the Mavericks respond to making this win harder on themselves when they could have embarrassed the Hornets.  

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