The Mavericks got off to another slow start but came roaring out of the locker room after the half to destroy the New Orleans Hornets 121-89. This was a big win for Dallas, giving them a convincing win over a playoff team, showing that they are contenders. The win also gave the Mavs a chance to steal the second seed in the West, but the Lakers persevered and defeated the Kings, relegating the Mavs to the third seed.
As is their pattern, the Mavs were trailing after two quarters, 61-58. The Mavs came out swinging, going on a 7-0 run, with DeShawn Stevenson going 2-2 beyond the arc. They never looked back, dominating the rest of the game. The Maverick defense really stepped up, holding the Hornets to 28 points for the entire half. Dirk Nowitzki was his normal, dominating self, with 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. Jason Kidd finally found his shot, going 4-6 from the field, all from downtown. He finished with 12 points, 8 assists and 4 steals. Shawn Marion added 10 points, while Tyson Chandler knocked down 6 points and 7 rebounds.
The biggest surprise from the starting lineup was at the shooting guard, where Roddy Beaubois was benched and Deshawn Stevenson got the nod. Maybe Rick Carlisle is finally reading the Smoking Cuban! Beaubois barely even got on the court, playing only 5 minutes. Even with such limited minutes, Beaubois was able to pick up 3 personal fouls. Hey, the kid has talent. No doubt about it. But he is way too raw. He needs time to develop his enormous potential. But now is not the time. Carlisle, to his credit, admitted this and made the necessary changes. We can only hope that he stays the course.
The bench played well overall. Jason Terry contributed 13 points while J.J. Barea scored 14 and added 8 assists. Peja Stojakovic got the night off to attend to a personal matter. Thankfully he was not missed. The Mavs closed the season with 57 wins, not bad considering the amount of injuries this team endured. Dirk Nowitzki missed nine games. Caron Butler has missed almost the entire second half of the season with an injured knee. He is most likely not going to play in the postseason although we can still hope. 57 wins when your second leading scorer missed significant time ain’t bad.
Now the second season is about to begin. First up for the Mavs are the Portland Trail blazers. The series kicks off in Dallas on Saturday night. This is not going to be an easy opponent for the Mavs. The Blazers are athletic and have size. They have an assortment of lineups that will require the Mavs to create different lineups to match up well. Be assured that the Smoking Cuban has got you covered for all the action. Tomorrow we will preview the series and give a prediction. One thing is for sure, this should be an awesome and entertaining series. Lets hope the good guys win!