HORNETS VS. MAVERICKS
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
November 17, 2010
Two Southwest Division members meet for the second time in a three-day span. The Mavericks were 6-2 entering this weeks consecutive games against the Hornets, a solid start for a team thats been one of the NBAs most successful franchises over the past decade. Dallas has won 50-plus games for 10 consecutive seasons, highlighted by a trip to the 2006 NBA Finals, where the Mavs were defeated in six games by the Miami Heat.
While Dallas has enjoyed phenomenal results in the regular season, the Mavericks are trying to advance further in the postseason this time, after losing in the Western Conferences first round three of the past four years. Behind a veteran cast headlined by All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki and proven pros such as point guard Jason Kidd, shooting guard Jason Terry and forward Shawn Marion, Dallas boasts one of the most experienced rosters in the league.
As members of the same division, New Orleans and Dallas meet four times each regular season. The two latter matchups of 2010-11 will both take place after the All-Star break. The Mavericks second visit to the Big Easy is slated for March 9, while the Hornets close the 82-game schedule on April 13 by traveling to Big D.
The rivalry between the clubs has gradually increased over the six-year span since the Hornets joined the Southwest Division in 2004-05. New Orleans and Dallas met in the first round of the playoffs in 2008, with the Hornets prevailing in five games.
Point guard, Chris Paul vs. Jason Kidd
In an era when many NBA point guards are described as shoot-first players, Paul and Kidd represent more of the traditional mold at the position. Kidd, in particular, has been much more adept throughout his career at setting up teammates than in scoring himself. Entering this week, the 6-foot Paul and 6-foot-4 Kidd both ranked in the top three of the NBAs assists leaders. Known early in his career as a very erratic shooter, the now 37-year-old Kidd has improved his accuracy from three-point range, making him even more dangerous on offense. The 25-year-old Paul will focus on trying to prevent Kidd from getting the multi-dimensional Dallas offense rolling, as the Mavs attempt to post a big early-season road victory.
HORNETS.COM SCOUTING REPORT - Dallas
A closer look at the Dallas Mavericks:
One of the NBAs best bench scorers throughout much of his tenure in Dallas, Jason Terry was moved into the starting lineup for the first handful of games this season, before being shifted back to his customary role as a sub. Nicknamed Jet (his initials, but also a reference to his quickness), the 6-foot-2 shooting guard is a dangerous perimeter scorer. He began this season on a roll from beyond the three-point arc, connecting on 15 of his first 30 attempts.
Now in his second stint with the Mavericks he began his lengthy career after being drafted by them in the mid-1990s Jason Kidd is in the twilight of his playing days, but continues to show few signs of slowing down at age 37. The 17-year pro has compiled a staggering list of accomplishments, perhaps highlighted by leading the New Jersey Nets to consecutive NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003, the only conference championships in that franchises NBA history (incidentally, former Hornets head coach Byron Scott was the head coach for those Nets clubs). Kidd has also been extraordinarily successful while playing for USA Basketball, never losing a game over 56 appearances.
At 6 foot, 175 pounds, Jose Bareas listed dimensions are exactly the same as Chris Pauls. A native of Puerto Rico, Barea starred in college at Northeastern, but went undrafted by the NBA in 2006. He eventually earned a roster spot with the Mavericks and has spent his four-plus seasons with them, emerging as a bench sparkplug capable of putting up points quickly, even in brief stints of action.
DeShawn Stevenson is perhaps best-known among NBA fans for some of his mini-feuds during past playoff series with LeBron James, while Stevenson played for Washington and James was with Cleveland. Stevensons biggest strength is his defensive ability, having struggled mightily with his jump shot in recent seasons.
Rookie shooting guard Dominique Jones was one of the NCAAs premier scorers at South Florida. Over the first two weeks of his pro career, he was trying to carve out a role in the Dallas rotation.
Rodrigue Beaubois was projected to be a key component of the Mavericks plans this season, but an injury he sustained during summer league caused him to miss the outset of 2010-11. The explosive offensive player his nickname is Roddy Buckets racked up 40 points in a March 2010 game at Golden State during his rookie year.
The NBAs Most Valuable Player award winner in 2006-07, power forward Dirk Nowitzki has been a revolutionary figure in the game of basketball. Nowitzki was the first 7-footer in NBA annals to play so effectively away from the basket; hes made at least 51 three-pointers in every season since 1999-2000. Three times during his decorated 13-year career, hes shot over 40 percent from the three-point arc, a feat that was previously unheard of for a player of his stature. The native of Wurzburg, Germany has also been a model of consistency from year to year, averaging between 21.8 and 26.6 points each of the previous 10 seasons.
Small forward Caron Butler has been a valuable performer at four different stops during his NBA career, including Miami, the Lakers, Washington and now Dallas. Nicknamed Tough Juice in Washington due to his hard-nosed style of play, Butler is a rugged defender and versatile offensive player. He uses his 6-foot-7, 228-pound frame to overpower smaller players, but is also very skilled (he shot 87.7 percent from the foul line last season, for example).
Its a testament to the Mavericks talent and depth that theyre able to frequently use combo forward Shawn Marion as a reserve. Marion received recognition earlier in his career with the Phoenix Suns as a high-flyer who excelled at finishing fast breaks and scoring off rebounds. At age 32, he remains capable of highlight-reel dunks. Though he no longer launches three-pointers as frequently as he did as a young player, Marion is a relatively accurate mid-range shooter, despite one of the NBAs most unorthodox shooting forms.
Early in his NBA career, blue-collar hustle guy Brian Cardinal earned the nickname The Custodian, due to how frequently he swept the floor while diving for loose balls.
Former New Orleans pivotman Tyson Chandler took over the Mavericks starting job this season, after spending 2009-10 with the Charlotte Bobcats. The 7-foot-1 Chandler appears fully healthy after missing large chunks of the past two campaigns due to injury. He played in 51 of 82 games for the Bobcats last season following the trade in the summer of 09 that brought Emeka Okafor to the Hornets. In Chandlers final season with New Orleans, he appeared in 45 contests. As New Orleans fans learned during the personable players three seasons as a member of the Hornets, Chandler is an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker, using his impressive wingspan and athletic ability to get to the ball amid big bodies in the paint. Hes also a high-percentage scorer, converting the bulk of his baskets from close-range via alley oops or putbacks.
Brendan Haywood turned in one of the best seasons of his career in 2009-10 after coming to the Mavericks in a trade from the Washington Wizards. At 7-foot, 263 pounds, Haywood is bulkier than Chandler, but not as mobile or athletic. The University of North Carolina product was rewarded this summer with a free-agent contract by the Mavericks, after he helped Dallas secure the No. 2 seed in the 2010 Western Conference playoffs.
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