Game On: Hornets @ Mavericks

Published: April 13, 2011

New Orleans Hornets (46-35) at Dallas Mavericks (56-25)

Hornets Offensive Rating: 106.3 (18th) Defensive: 104.9 (7th)

Mavericks Offensive Rating: 109.4 (8th) Defensive: 105.2 (10th)

Could this be the first game of an 8 game series for the Hornets and Mavs? The good news is that it is possible. The bad news is that the Hornets would have to lose in order to see the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. A Mavericks win, combined with a Grizzlies loss against the Clippers and a Lakers loss to Sacramento would mean a #2 vs. #7 matchup involving these two squads.

Memphis has already shown their hand. They will rest Zach Randolph and Tony Allen again tonight because they are “injured.” The unlikely part of the trifecta is the two-time defending champion Lakers losing to lowly Sacramento. But then agin, would anybody be really shocked if this were to occur? The Kings have played decent ball in the last month, they have the young legs that give LA trouble, Bynum is out, and this might be the final game ever in Sacramento. Throw in Marcus Thornton and I am starting to believe it is a distinct possibility.

But back to this game, a game that the Hornets will try to win, despite what the conspiracy theorists say. You can only control what you can control, and the last thing the Hornets want to do is head into the playoffs on a three game losing streak. They have been terrible on both sides of the ball in the last two games, as opponents have shot 58% while the Hornets have shot just 39% from the field. If the Hornets go into the playoffs playing like that, they wouldn’t be able to beat the Joe Alexander/Antonio Daniels led Texas Legends team, never mind the Dallas Mavericks.

Regardless of how the Western Conference standings shake out, the Hornets have to play the best basketball that they are capable of tonight so that they can have some confidence heading into the playoffs. Everyone knows David West is not walking through that door, and the hard truth is that on most nights (and every night in the playoffs) the other team taking the court with the Hornets will have a more talented squad. But talent is one thing, while heart, focus, and determination are different beasts entirely. The Hornets showed all three of those components in their last matchup with the Mavericks, a 93-92 victory that happened despite the absence of CP3.

The key to that game was that the Hornets were able to control the glass despite the fact that they were smaller at nearly every position. On paper, a team built like Dallas would control the boards. After all, they have two seven footers in their starting lineup and one of the best rebounding point guards of all time, but this game isn’t played on paper, and the Hornets will have to remember that tonight. They are going to have to outwork the other team in every game moving forward just to have a chance to win another game this season. And that starts tonight.

Other News and Notes:

– If you were to make a “Hornets top 10 games of the Season”, all three Hornets/Mavericks games would be on that list. Heck, they might all be in the top 5. The three games were decided by a TOTAL of 6 points.

– CP3 is averaging 29.3 PPG in his last 4 games at Dallas. If he lays another egg tonight against a team he usually dominates, does that mean Christopher Paul is back? Luckily, I dont think we have to worry about that. Expect a big game for CP3 tonight that will get him kick started heading into the playoffs.

– By the way- yes that is me cranking out the Hornets247 Tweets, and yes I am pissed about this Charlotte Bobcats non-story. Not pissed because of the content, but just pissed that journalism is such a joke nowadays. I know as a “blogger” that I was supposed to be angry at what Cuban said last week, but you know what? I agree with him. The majority of writers are hacks and the majority of sites have no integrity and just want to drive traffic. It is embarressing. And yes, I would be saying the same thing if it was a “Dwight Howard to consider playing in Charlotte” piece along the same lines. I just feel bad that writers have to stoop that low.

Vegas line: Dallas enter the game as 9.5 point favorites, with the over/under set at 186.5. Strange line considering how this series has played out so far this season, but I cant blame Vegas, considering the Hornets just got blown out at home by a non-playoff team. Hornets keep it close, the over is reached: Mavs 101 Hornets 97

– And a special, season finale Cap….That…..Pic. Top Three Captions will be placed into playoff ticket raffle. So far, we only have 7 people entered, so chances to win will be 10% should you land in the top 3 tonight. Not bad odds.


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