Game On: Mavericks at Hornets

Published: March 9, 2011

Matchup: Mavericks(46-17) @ Hornets(37-29)

Off Efficiency: Mavericks 107.9(6th), Hornets 103.3(20th)
Def Efficiency: Mavericks 102.9(11th), Hornets 100.6(6th)

Dallas has Nowitzki, but his numbers aren’t mind-blowing this year. They are deep, but none of their other players except Jason Terry are likely to receive any recognition. (Sixth Man) The Mavs don’t have a top five offense, or a top five defense. Really, the only time they get any national spotlight is when owner Cuban pops off about something. The team itself simply carries on in the shadow of their own owner, winning and relying on the great depth Cuban’s deep pockets has purchased.

One of the prime pieces of Dallas’s arsenal is its ability to knock down the deep two-pointer. They far and away are the best shooters in the league from that distance, hitting shots at a 45.8% clip.(2.2% better than the next best team) Since most defenses are predicated on trying to force the other team into taking that shot, the Mavericks prowess from 20-feet limits the damage caused when forced into that type of shot. They also take advantage of their shooting prowess by taking the 4th highest percentage of three pointers in the league – and knocking them down at a top-10 rate.

For the Hornets to take this game, they will need to extend their defense and stay home on opposing shooters. There isn’t a lot of off the dribble brilliance on this team outside of Jason Terry – so this shouldn’t be a tremendously tall order. As always, the Hornets Defense will be reliable enough to keep them in this game. Will the offense show up?


Hornets: Paul is out, Ariza is probable.
Mavericks: Caron Butler is out. Tyson Chandler should return for the game.

Positional Analysis

PG: Jarrett Jack v Jason Kidd
Advantage: Mavericks
Jason Kidd’s shooting has completely deserted him this year. After two years of career highs from deep, he’s fallen to 36.8% from long range on 5 three attempts per game. Couple that with his inability to get to the rim and abysmal free throw rate(1 free throw attempt per game) and Kidd is posting point per shot numbers in the Trevor Ariza range. Happily for the Mavericks, Kidd is still remarkable at finding the right people in the open court, and is excellent at finding entry passes and lobs for easy scores. Couple that with nice rebounding and steal numbers, and Kidd can still contribute to a team. Jack, on the other hand, has been ripping cord to the tune of 1.5 points per shot over the last two weeks. As a combo guard, once he makes his move, he generally doesn’t find anyone for easy looks, but the reality is backup point guards come in two flavors: Those that score and don’t pass much – and those that pass and don’t score much. You can’t get both, because if they did both, they wouldn’t be available as back-ups.

SG: Marco Belinelli v Jason Terry
Advantage: Mavericks
Rodrique Beaubois will start here, but Terry has been getting 32 minutes to Roddy’s 16. So let’s compare the actual minute-getters. Terry remains an offensive sparkplug, but the sparks are growing a bit dim in his 32nd year, as he’s posting his career low in efficient scoring. It doesn’t matter much, though, as his job is to not only take shots, but create them for his team-mates, and he does so with some skill. Marco, on the other hand, has been freed from splitting time with two other shooting guards, and with those consistent minutes has been getting more and more comfortable and been knocking down shots at pretty much the same clip Terry does.

SF: Quincy Pondexter v Shawn Marion
Advantage: Mavericks
Again, Peja Stojakovic starts for the Mavs, but gets minutes in the teens while Marion plays most of the game. Marion is a nice utilitarian piece. He doesn’t score that efficiently, but he rebounds, passes, rarely makes mistakes and is a solid defensive player. With Quincy, I’ll probably be struggling to remember two plays he took part in.

PF: David West v Dirk Nowitzki
Advantage: Mavericks
Dirk is having one of his worst seasons when it comes to rebounds, blocks, and steals. It matters little though, as he’s having one of his best seasons knocking down shots at an efficient clip. The big german generates 1.47 points per shot, and almost never turns the ball over. West, by way of comparison, produces 1.27 points per shot, and though he is better than Nowitzki at rebounds, blocks and steals, the numbers are so close as to be nearly insignificant. Now – in the past, it is true that West has done well against the Mavericks, but this year, he’ll most likely be guarded by . . .

C: Emeka Okafor v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Mavericks
These two big men produce numbers that are a close mirror of one another. Until you look a little closer. Okafor gets nearly five more minutes per game, an Tyson Chandler is scoring an otherworldly and league-leading 1.8 points per shot. Okafor is no slouch, but if a team has capable enough passers to hit Tyson when he’s in the right spot, Chandler is nearly unstoppable. Then, of course, there’s the defensive side of the ball. Both are great defenders – but Chandler is simply a little more versatile. Do you want Okafor chasing power forwards out to the three point line? He’d be destroyed off the dribble. Chandler, however, is capable of doing that. And he’ll do that to David West, and West will not have an easy time scoring on his old buddy.

Jose Juan Barea, Roddy Beaubois, Peja Stojakovic, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson v
Carl Landry, Willie Green, Aaron Gray, Jason Smith
Advantage: Mavericks
Barea is a superb back up point guard. No, he’s not a terrific scorer, but he’s great at breaking down a defense and finding the open shooter – and he’s got options on this team. Beaubois is just coming back from injury, but is already starting to show the knack for scoring he displayed last year. Stojakovic has been bad, but he’s still dangerous, and Brendan Haywood is massively overpaid, but if you can look past that, provides decent backup minutes at center. Stevenson can hit threes and defend. The Hornets, without Jack providing scoring off the bench, can’t quite match the firepower of the Mavs lineup. Landry and Willie are decent, but they need that third weapon to be as dangerous as what the Mavs bring the fight.

Enjoy the game, and hope Paul is well enough to play. If he does, the dynamics of this game shift wildly, and the Bench and PG spots swing in favor of the Hornets.  That can be enough with only thin margins at the SG, PF and C currently going the Mavs way.


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