David West finishes the Mavericks with a "Pick-Six."

Mavericks-Hornets: David West And Clutch Defense Secures 99-97 Win

Many touted this home-and-home between Dallas to be a mini playoff series, it proved to be just that as New Orleans squeaked out a tough fought win over Dallas. The Mavericks got off to another hot start in the first quarter getting out to a 15-5 lead. Even coach Monty Williams said before the game, “we have to do a better job of starting off the game, last time they [Dallas] got off the a quick start and we never really got into rhythm.” Well the exact same thing happened as New Orleans fought hard to get within striking distance.

With Dallas trying to extend the lead through amazing jumpshooting from Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki it was Willie Green who once again proved to keep New Orelans in touch. If it wasn’t for his defense I think the Hornets lose this one.

And with that New Orleans came out of the half rejuvenated and focused on defense being much more physical. It allowed them to get a 10 point lead on the Mavericks. However heading into the waining minutes of the fourth Dallas was able to keep in touch and had several chances to take the lead. But defense from David West closed the game out as he stole one from Dirk then intercepted a Tyson Chandler full court pass.

Let’s break-down some of the good stuff, bad stuff and any other strange and unusual observations over the jump…

Good Stuff:

  • Marco Belinelli‘s defense tonight was terrific. He stopped Nowitzki, Kidd, tried to slow down Terry and contained anyone else he was assigned to. I think his value is increasing exponentially because even when his offense isn’t on (he was good on offense tonight) he can still add value elsewhere. Belinelli finished with 17 points on 10 shots and shot 3-4 from 3 point range.
  • Chris Paul had another usual night finishing with 20 points on 13 shots and 11 assists. His leadership is paramount to this team and at current is the clear league MVP (even though it’s meaningless at this point in the season).
  • David West again had to work for his points as Dallas did a great job of putting Tyson Chandler on him forcing tougher shots than he’d like. West finished with 17 points on 16 shots, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. A real defensive game for David.
  • Willie Green continues to be solid off the bench.
  • Emeka Okafor had a Double-Double, nice.

Bad Stuff:

  • I am continually flabbergasted with the long leash that Jerryd Bayless gets with the staff. Sure he’s the only other back-up point guard option, but dear god he’s not playing well. He had several drives where he’d just put up a shot in the hopes for a foul.
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu had probably the dumbest foul I’ve ever seen an NBA player commit. He grabbed a handful of Dirk jersey right in front of the referee’s and didn’t let go, jeez.
  • Peja Stojakovic almost cost us that game. For all the crap that Marcus Thornton gets for “Scoring 20 on one end and giving up 20 on the other” Peja must be worse. I counted numerous times Peja would rotate slowly, wouldn’t rebound at all and really is totally ineffective on offense if he’s not catching and shooting. Oh and he’s one of the league’s best free-throw shooters yet he missed one when needed. ARGH!
  • Once again free-throw shooting a concern, we were 68% from the line while Dallas was 87%.

Other Observations:

  • Dallas had only 24 points in the paint, they really are a jump-shooting team. (We had 40).
  • Mark Cuban was at the game tonight
  • Trevor Ariza ran into Gary Chouest’s wife, she seemed alright but we need Chouest and his family to be in full health if they are going to purchase the team (god I hope it’s soon).
  • Attendance was 14,000. We need to get that 15,000 folks, come on!

Next up is the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Friday (I won’t be able to watch due to exams). Hopefully we get a much needed win against former Hornets coach Byron Scott.

Final Word: Relief.

Tags: Chris Paul Dallas Mavericks David West Dirk Nowitzki Emeka Okafor Jason Kidd Jason Terry Jerryd Bayless Marco Belinelli Marcus Thornton Monty Williams Peja Stojakovic Pops Mensah-Bonsu Trevor Ariza Tyson Chandler Willie Green

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