« Not Gently
Mavericks’ interior dominance leads to 107-89 Hornets loss
The Hornets send their fans home for the summer with a bitter taste in their mouths, never coming close to victory.
While I admitted in tonight’s game preview that I was not exactly rooting for a Hornets victory, I was certainly hoping for a better showing than the one I saw tonight. The New Orleans defense was a mess all night long, letting a Dallas team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in points in the paint per game convert nearly every time they got the ball inside. Dallas totaled 52 points in the paint tonight, more than every team in the league averages per game except for the Nuggets. What’s worse is that it only took them 36 shots to get those points; conversely, the Hornets scored 42 points in the paint, but it took them an abysmal 51 shots to do it, shooting a horrendous 41.1% from that area. Shawn Marion and Brandan Wright combined to make 14 out of 18 attempts from the paint to lead the way for the Mavs, while only two Hornets players – Aminu and Roberts – made over half of their shots. Just a brutal game on both ends for New Orleans, who will wrap up their season against this same Mavericks team in Dallas on Wednesday night.
- While the Hornets could have looked a lot better, part of the lopsided score could be due to the fact that Monty used some lineups that he hasn’t used much this season. He quickly went to a 3-guard lineup in the first quarter, subbing Roberts in for Aminu around the 6 minute mark, and Aminu saw some minutes as a small ball power forward, something I’ve been wanting to see. The results weren’t great for Aminu, but Dirk Nowitzki isn’t exactly an easy match-up. Regardless, it’s nice to see Monty start to look at these things; I just wish he had done more experimenting before the final two games of the season.
- As Jake and I talked about during the game, Lopez’s overall numbers (10 points, 13 rebounds) may not look too bad, most of them came in the second half when the Hornets were already in a huge hole. He totaled just 2 points and 1 rebound in almost 14 first half minutes, providing practically nothing while he was on the court.
- Crazy stat of the game – Xavier Henry attempted more free throws (10) than the entire Mavericks team (8). Almost as impressive is the fact that he actually made 8 of those 10! However, his 0-6 shooting night from the field brings down his overall performance a decent amount. X has always been good at getting to the line; unfortunately, no other parts of his game have ever really come around. He’s still only an end of the bench type of player.
- Roberts once again played very well on offense – 13 points on 8 shots, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and no turnovers. However, not being able to stop Mike James from getting past you is worrisome.
- A few of the Mavericks players made a pact not to shave until the team’s record got back to .500. With tonight’s win over the Hornets, that goal was accomplished, and those players didn’t waste any time shaving them off.
- I’m a big fan of Brandan Wright, and happy to see him getting more minutes with Dallas. There’s a reason I took him in the 8th round of our Hornets247 mock draft last summer – the kid can play. Hopefully he earns himself an even bigger role next year; unfortunately, there’s just no room for him within the Hornets’ current front court rotation.
Season finale on Wednesday night in Dallas!