It wasn't always pretty, but a win is a win.
Entering Thursday's clash, the Mavericks held a 3-14 record. That trend continued as they never got close enough to seize control of the game. In fact, the Mavericks never even lead. At this point of the season though, it's hard to fault them for all their struggles. Future hall of famer and the Mavericks only low-post scoring threat, Dirk Nowitzki, has missed 13 out of the season's 18 games. Seth Curry and Andrew Bogut were also inactive tonight.
Out of the gate, the Hornets appeared to be thankful for the day off, as both Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum got going early. The two combined for 10 of the team's first 13 points, and set the tone early in what would result in a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Also playing a key role in the first quarter was Roy Hibbert, who came in and made his first three baskets of the game. Hibbert would go on to add a total of 11 points and four rebounds in just over 17 minutes of play. The bench-unit as a whole was a huge lift all night, and deservingly-so, may the be the greatest reason they won. They not only scored 49 of the the team's 97 points, but also played a huge role in holding the Mavericks to 19 points in the third quarter. We even got to see Hibbert and Spencer Hawes work some magic together.
To add a cherry on top, Jeremy Lamb stepped up in the fourth quarter by scoring seven of his 11 points and helped close the game alongside Walker.
As for the Mavericks, they struggled shooting the ball like they have all season. Dead last in the NBA in shooting percentage and 3-point percentage, the Mavericks to no avail, shot at a 37.2 percent clip and 29 percent from deep. Wesley Matthews couldn't have bought a bucket even if he tried, shooting 1/11 from beyond the arc and 4/15 overall.
Even Dallas' best offensive players of the night had their limitations. Deron Williams, who scored 14 points and added eight assists was only able to play three fourth quarter minutes because of a minutes restriction, while Harrison Barnes didn't get it going until the fourth quarter when it appeared to be too late.
In terms of style of play, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle wanted a slow-paced, gritty game because of the limitations of his team. He got what he wanted, even though it didn't pan out.
Frank Kaminsky struggled again in his fourth consecutive start with Marvin Williams sidelined. After shooting 1/11 on Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons, Kaminsky only took four shots tonight, looked hesitant and missed them all. Even Hibbert looked frustrated with the game's lackluster pace as he was awarded a technical foul after a scuffle with Salah Mejri midway through the fourth.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the other hand, loves these types of games, as he was a noticeable disturbance on the defensive end all night. What better way to display your stability as a defender than in the half-court? And what better player to matchup with than Barnes, who you've had profound success against throughout your career?
Here are some crazy head-to-head numbers that Fox Sports Southeast was able to compile:
It wasn't until the fourth quarter where Barnes found a six-point groove. He certainly isn't the first player to be visibly frustrated with Kidd-Gilchrist, and he certainly won't be the last.
All in all, it was an ugly, a frustrating and, at times, an uncomfortable game, but the Hornets got a much-needed win. There have been a few visible flaws to the offense over the past few games but nothing of too much concern. They just need some rest. Thankfully, they'll get that rest until they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at home Saturday night.