Game On: Mavericks @ Hornets

Published: February 22, 2013

The Mavericks roll into New Orleans having won 4 of 5.  Will the Hornets slow their roll?

The Mavericks struggled mightily through December, but since the new year has rung, their team has been improving steadily.  Starting from season lows in December, Dallas has improved its eFG%, Free Throw Rate, Turnover Rate, Opponent eFG% and Opponent Offensive rebound rate each month.  They are now at the point that they are only below the league average in two of Dean Oliver’s Four Factors (8, really) – offensive rebound percentage, and opponent free throw rate.  Those two things, of course, feed off one another.  If a team crashes the offensive boards, they usually get fouled.

As odd as it seems to say it, a lot of the improvement for this team is being generated by Vince Carter, the Half-Amazing/Hardly-Cares man of mystery.  Quietly, he’s been putting up a surprisingly good season for the Mavericks, who receive spikes in free throw rates and three pointers made and attempted when he takes the floor.  Combine that with a bench that continues to get solid contributions from Brandan Right and – bizarrely – Mike James, and the team makes a fight of it every night.

Keys to the Game

  • Crash the offensive glass.  Like I said above, the Mavericks don’t control their defensive rebounds.  The Hornets actually have five guys posting offensive rebound rates that are better than average for their position.  If they perform, this will be a big advantage for the Pelicans.
  • Hate the Concussion policy.  It will probably prevent Chris Kaman from playing and turning the ball over.  Sad Face.
  • Don’t match our Bench with their Bench for too long.  Wright, Brand, Carter, Mike James – and now Anthony Morrow after the trade – these guys form one of the most effective bench mobs out there.  C’mon Monty – no six-minute runs with all subs, please.


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