Your Pregame Moment of Zen
The Maverick Outlook
The Mavericks, like the Hornets, have made defense their calling card in 2010-2011. Despite fielding a league average offense (106.4 points/100 possessions), they've managed to win 6 of 8 games. The Hornets and Mavericks currently rank first and second in the conference in defensive efficiency. Dallas allows about 2 points more per 100 possessions.
On offense, Dallas is heavily, heavily reliant on field goal percentages. They turn the ball often, which, considering their starting lead guard, shouldn't come as a surprise. Only Minnesota and the L.A. Clippers have done a poorer job of taking care of the ball in the West. Dallas doesn't rebound its own misses and hasn't gotten to the line well either. In a way, that's exactly the type of offense the Hornets want to face. New Orleans' defense is predicated on low eFG% and high defensive rebounding. Teams that can get to the line (as we saw against Denver) and teams that can rebound on the offensive glass (as we saw during short stretches against Portland) are more likely to give us trouble. But it also means that if Dallas can have a hot shooting night, our primary defensive advantages can be rendered moot.
- The Mavs have already done the home and home thing this year, splitting a pair with the Denver Nuggets.
- Dirk Nowitzki hasn't had an MVP type year (statistically) since 2006-2007. That actually comes as something of a surprise to me; I just kind of assumed he'd kept up his ridiculous 2004-2007 rates. Still, he's one of the game's best. When he gets going, he's easily one of the league's most un-guardable players.
- Jason Kidd's passing game appears to have drastically improved through 8 games this season. His 45.6% assist rate would be a career high if he can sustain it.
- Emeka Okafor takes on a fully healthy Tyson Chandler for the first time. Both players have been playing exceptional basketball this year, on both ends of the floor. Mek leads all qualified players in effective field goal % at 69.1%. Chandler has taken half as many shots, but he's converted a ridiculous 74%.
- Dallas' front court depth is crazily good. They've got Chandler starting, and Brendan Haywood is one of the best backup centers out there. Dirk's obviously at PF, and Shawn Marion can slide over to the 4, too. They're so deep that Ian Mahinmi, a guy I desperately wanted New Orleans to get over the offseason, has logged just 9 minutes. If ever there was a time to activate Aaron Gray...
- Whatever happens tonight, we'll do it again Wednesday at New Orleans Arena.
- Go Hornets.