Game On: New Orleans Hornets @ Dallas Mavericks
The Hornets try to end their two-game slide against the Nowitzki-less Mavericks.
Back in March, most NBA insiders believed that Dallas had positioned themselves to become the big winner in the 2012 offseason while the Hornets remained an afterthought. Flash forward seven months later and it is the Hornets who are coming off a grand slam of an offseason while the Mavericks look like a rudderless ship without a plan. To make things worse, they recently had their one proven commodity, Dirk Nowitzki, go down with a right knee injury that will cause him to miss a few regular season games.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, it isn’t all roses as our team’s best player, Eric Gordon, is also nowhere to be found and will likely miss the rest of the preseason. If there is good news, however, it is that Monty has implied that the knee soreness has gone away, and he is now holding Gordon out because of a lack of conditioning. So wait, let me get this straight, a guy is out of shape and you want to keep him out of a situation that will force him to run? It doesn’t quite add up to me. Why not give him spot minutes to see exactly where he is at and therefore assertain how much further he has to go?
I am not calling anybody a liar, but I don’t buy that the knee is back to 100% and I won’t until I see the guy play two straight weeks without it being brought up as an issue. I know he participated fully in warm-ups today, but that is not a game. And in addition to our best player being hurt, we are also missing our most experienced Hornet, as Jason Smith figures to miss the remainder of the preseason with a shoulder strain. There is a silver lining, however, as Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis, and Ryan Anderson have all admitted in the past week that there is a steep learning curve with the new playbook and their new roles. The 50 or so minutes that would have otherwise gone to Gordon and Smith can now be distributed to these three, which should hopefully allow them to work out most of the kinks in meaningless games.
What to Watch For
1. Getting out in Transition
The Mavericks have been a turnover machine this preseason. We all know Chris Kaman’s knack for turning over the rock, but now add in OJ Mayo, Darren Collison, and several youngsters with no clear center point on the offensive end and the Mavs are a mess. The Hornets need to use the opportunities Dallas gives them to get out in transition and score some easy points, be it Anthony Davis lobs or wide open Ryan Anderson threes.
2. Battle on the Boards
The Mavericks have a starting front line that were beasts on the glass back in their day. If this were 2007, Marion, Brand, and Kaman might be the most devastating unit on the glass in the NBA. But this is 2012 and the Hornets have the young legs. It will be interesting to see what wins on in this battle: youth and athleticism or age and guile.
3. Jae Crowder
I hate the Mavericks, but I absolutely love this guy and I don’t know how much time he is going to get in the regular season, so I will enjoy him now. Crowder has no real NBA position and can’t shoot a lick, but he is a difference maker with his energy and hustle. Basically, imagine Kenneth Faried minus 2-3 inches. While others pined for Perry Jones III or Quincy Miller, this is the guy I wanted the Hornets to move up to get and I just hate that he was drafted in the division.
Other News and Notes:
– NBA2K13: If you play the Mavs in 2K13, you got little to worry about. Anderson does a great job on Nowitzki if you put “on ball” and “off ball” at play tight. Mayo likes to chuck it and I usually let him and Vince Carter is nothing to fear in the video game world anymore. The one guy who could kill you on this team, surprisingly, is Delonte West. He can get hot from team and drop 20 in a half, so make sure you take notice when he gets subbed in and match-up with him accordingly.
– Vegas Line: Mavericks are -5 in this game and the over/under is 190.5. I don’t have a feeling either way about the spread because I don’t know how much either coach will be playing for the win, but I like the over in this game because both teams turn the ball over quite a bit and both benches have offensive minded/defensively liable players.
– TV: This game does have a Dallas Mavericks feed, so there is a chance it will be on TV, and worst case scenario you should be able to roam the internet and find a stream. This is the LAST time we have to deal with this crap, as Wednesday’s Rockets game is on NBATV and Friday’s Heat game is on ESPN. Then, the regular season starts!
McNamara, what's your 2K13 handle? We need to get all of the 247 community that plays 2k13 to list their screen names so we can get some challenges going.
If we're giving away GamerTags mines is Dru17th on ps3 & if you pick the Lakers, Heat, Thunder or Knicks I will pick the Bobcats :)
If interested, my 2K13 username is MGinsberg88 and my PS3 handle is RollWave2010 (I made it way back before I knew that rooting for Tulane was pure torture). This is also the first video game I've bought in 2 years, so I will probably be... well, as bad as Tulane.