The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of a disappointing loss at home to the Boston Celtics. Once again they couldn’t hold on to the lead, and they allowed guard Rajon Rondo to run right through them at the end of the game. Tonight, they play a Hornets team getting back their superstar point guard, Chris Paul, after a 25-game stint with rookie Darren Collison at the helm. The Mavericks are looking for big games from Shawn Marion, who has been strong as of late, and Caron Butler, who was doing well until his poor showing against Boston. Sitting just a half game behind the Denver Nuggets, Dallas needs to take every game seriously to grab the two-spot in the West.
Will Rick Carlisle play it safe with his veteran lineup, or will he match speed with speed by giving Rodrigue Beaubois significant minutes?
Game As A Whole:
If only basketball games were comprised of one twelve minute quarter, the Mavericks would be sitting pretty with another win and we could say that they had put the loss to the Celtics behind them. Unfortunately, this game had four quarters and the Mavericks played without any sort of fire for three of them. Dallas should have known better to “relax” after the first quarter as the Hornets suddenly became re-energized by the return of Chris Paul.
Beside Paul’s return, the Mavericks fell down in the free throw department. In their last win (it was the Bulls) they had 33 free throw attempts hitting on 25 of them. Tonight’s action saw the Mavericks only attempt 13 free throws and convert 7 of them to bring them to a solid 53% for the game. To compliment the poor free throw shooting, a majority of this Dallas team forgot how to score. Only Jason Terry had a decent night (24 points) but he had to take 16 shots just to get there.
Some more bad news, this loss means the Mavericks are 2-2 against a team that isn’t even going to make the playoffs and they are currently 9-8 for the month of March. Good news, James Posey picks up a flagrant at the end of regulation because he wants to stop a layup that has no effect on the outcome of the game (now that’s smart basketball).
Let’s Look at the Quarters
Quarters brought to you by LJRotter tonight.
- Hornets win the tip. Paul misses his first shot, a three.
- 10:55, Marion gets the first basket of the game with his awkward jumper.
- 10:17, Butler makes a long two. His shoot looks nice so far.
- 9:49, Butler and Haywood fail to communicate, forcing a turnover.
- 9:32, Haywood is paying attention this time, slamming it home with the assist from Kidd.
- 8:59, Dirk makes his first shot, a smooth turnaround jumper.
- 8:28, Mavs force a turnover with their tight defense.
- 8:16, Dirk is 2 for 2, what a pretty shot that is.
- 7:46, Butler fights hard inside for a rebound and draws the foul. He misses both free throws.
- 7:15, Butler blows by Thornton for a little lay-in.
- 6:29, Kidd makes a three, making the Mavs 8-10 so far.
- 5:13, Marion gets nervous about the shot clock and shoots an airball.
- 4:25, Kidd is two for two on three pointers so far.
- 3:13, Kidd tries to dish it inside to Haywood who can’t complete it.
- 2:57, Terry comes off the bench and scores.
- 2:13, Najera thinks about a three, but dishes to Terry who hits it instead.
- Dampier comes in to finish the quarter.
- 1:42, Najera makes a long two.
- 1:05, The Mavericks can’t miss. Terry makes another three.
- Mavericks shoot 67% in the first quarter.
- JJ Barea in running the point for the start of the quarter.
- 11:44, JET is feeling his oats. 4-5 in six minutes, including the first shot of the 2nd quarter.
- 10:06, Barea runs right into Collison as he tries to bring it down the floor and turns the ball right over.
- Suddenly the Mavs look sloppy. Turnovers and hurried shots.
- 8:49, Terry dishes a nice assist to Butler, giving them their double-digit lead back.
- 8:15, Rodrigue Beaubois comes in for JJ Barea.
- 6:45, After a series of shot fakes, JET makes a looong three.
- 6:04, A fast break leads to a Dirk lay-up with a dime from Terry.
- 5:23, Cylinders are clicking again, with a Butler making a shot.
- 4:26, Roddy makes a lay-up in traffic.
- Suddenly the Hornets are making their shots. The game has crept too close for comfort.
- Kidd comes in after a timeout to finish the quarter.
- 3:30, Dirk gets fouled, but no shots.
- 2:06, Hornets take the lead.
- 1:26, Haywood gets an authoritative block, but Hornets get the ball back.
- Kidd has now traveled twice, giving Dallas 8 turnovers this quarter.
- Mavs have two turnovers to start the half.
- Make that three.
- 9:56, Dirk breaks the 23-0 Hornet run.
- 9:09, Caron gets fouled and makes both free throws. Currently he’s the only starter in double figures.
- 8:35, Sloppy play is saved by a quick put-in from Haywood.
- 7:53, Dirk puts back in a Kidd miss.
- 6:38, After Marion gallantly saves a bad pass from Kidd, Dirk makes an easy jumper.
- 5:40, Haywood has another huge block.
- 5:33, Kidd blocks the 6’10” Okafor.
- 4:10, Haywood gets a resounding dunk over Okafor to silence the crowd a bit.
- 3:31, Haywood is waking up: he gets Kidd’s rebound and puts it back for the score.
- 3:04, JET comes in off the bench and scores a quick three to cut the Hornet’s lead to 7.
- 2:14, JET gets his 18th point with the assist from Kidd.
- :50.3 JET runs right into the lane for an easy layup. He’s boosting the Mavs in a big way.
- Barea and Najera in to start the final quarter.
- 10:39, Najera very aware of the ball, gets a steal and an easy layin.
- 10:10, Barea gets his first basket of the game.
- 9:31, Great ball movement and a lot of patience lead to a Dirk basket.
- 9:01, Dirk to Najera, and he gets the and-1. The 60% free-throw shooter can’t convert, however.
- 8:23, Mavs run out of time and turn over the ball again.
- CP3 is getting way too hot. Hornets go up by 20.
- 6:46, Terry shoots a technical for a Hornets defensive 3 seconds. Just their sixth free throw of the night.
- 5:41, Marion hustles inside to get a basket and the foul. He can’t convert.
- 5:00, Marion makes a fast lay-up, Mavs still down 16.
- 2:50, Carroll misses a layup, Marion puts it back in for him.
- 1:42, Apparently Marion is still trying to play.
- :30, Roddy makes a long three. Could we have used him earlier in the game?
- With almost no time left on the clock, Posey commits a flagrant 1 on Roddy. He makes both his free throws.
Some Choice Statistics:
- Jason Terry’s first three-pointer of the game brings him to 1,500 career threes.
- The Mavericks are tied for having the fewest losses after leading a team by 10+ pts with 4.
- Mavericks went 7-13 from behind the line tonight. They are first in the NBA in free-throw percentage with 81.7%.
Maverick fans can’t like where this is going. Here’s to hoping that Dallas doesn’t roll into the playoffs with a loss streak stowed securely in their carry-on.