The Dallas Mavericks defeated the New Orleans Hornets 107-89 in the last home game for the Hornets nickname. Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 21 on 16 shots, while Dirk had 19 on 14 despite not playing more or less the last ten minutes. Mavericks' killer Ryan Anderson had 20, but needed 20 shots to do it.
The Mavericks will finally--finally, finally, finally--shave their beards. And honestly, that matters to me. In some ways it mattered to me more than making the playoffs, which, as nice as it would be to keep one streak going from the glory days, would probably have been a short trip. I honestly don't care if they finish the season under .500. They're shaving the beards. After being as many as 10 games under .500 (January 9th), they came all the way back to record another respectable season.
It's not a whole lot. .500 isn't what they came here to do. But it's not nothing. None of us have done a good job of looking at the bright side this season, but probably most of us have to admit that the eye test really failed us here. The Mavs did not look good, all season. Their longest win streak was 4, achieved twice. It SEEMED like they were always losing games they should have won, and they certainly lost more OT games than was imaginable.
And yet somehow, two steps forward, one step back, they have, at last achieved their goal. Here's to that.
Obviously, the big news of the night besides the beard is Dirk hitting the 25k plateau, and being just the 17th man in NBA history to do so, the 9th to do so with 9k+ boards. I can remember arguing about Dirk with friends, 5-8 years ago, when they'd say he was just a scorer and there were better scorers and I'd always do the math and say, you realize in a decade Dirk could be in the top ten all-time of NBA scoring?
As Kobe's achilles has shown us all, nothing's guaranteed. But Dirk needs less than 2,000 points to break into the top ten.
Overall, this was a good game. The Mavs shot well in the first half and the Hornets poorly. They dodged a bullet in the third period where their usual slump was met by a less than stellar effort to claw back in. The Hornets shaved 8 points off the Mavericks' lead, but it could have been a lot worse.
In the fourth, Dirk scored 8 quick points to drive the lead back to 21 with 9 minutes left, and some timely jumpers from Carter and Collison sealed the deal.
So, good night sweet Hornet. As I mentioned on our twitter page, the Hornets nickname is dear to me--we'd play it in NBA Jam 95, LJ and Mourning, although that was a different city and a different time. Off it goes, for now, though who knows? It may come back to Charlotte.
And good night sweet beards. A flight of trimmers sing thee to thy drain.