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HORNETS VS. MAVERICKS
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
March 9, 2011

When the Hornets and Mavericks square off Wednesday evening in a Southwest Division contest, it will have been over three months since the clubs last faced each other. New Orleans and Dallas played a pair of thrilling games on Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, with both matchups being decided on the final possession.

In the Nov. 15 game, the Mavericks handed the Hornets their first loss of 2010-11, after NOLAs franchise-best 8-0 start. Dallas narrowly prevailed with a 98-95 victory, clinching the win when an Emeka Okafor three-point attempt at the buzzer misfired. Two days later, the Hornets notched a 99-97 triumph in the Crescent City, with David West coming up with two steals in the final five seconds of regulation. With NOLA leading by a point, West stripped Dallas All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki of the ball near the top of the key, helping preserve the win and even the season series at one game apiece.

Following Wednesdays game in the Big Easy, these teams have only one more regular season game remaining, April 13 in Big D. That game will take place on the final day of the 82-game schedule, meaning it could have significant playoff-seeding implications.

The Mavericks, who have been one of the NBAs premier teams for the past decade, are again vying for one of the top records in the Western Conference.



INTRIGUING MATCH-UP


Center, Emeka Okafor vs. Tyson Chandler
Two players who were traded for each other in the summer of 2009 square off in the paint. After playing his first five NBA seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats, Okafor arrived in New Orleans prior to the 2009-10 season in a deal that sent Chandler to North Carolina. Both players experienced some adversity last season, with Okafor adjusting to a new system in NOLA and Chandler appearing in only 51 Bobcats games due to injuries. The 2010-11 has been drastically different for both big men. Okafor is as a key reason behind New Orleans emergence as one of the NBAs most improved teams, while Chandler is providing a much-needed defensive and rebounding presence in the paint for the Mavericks.



HORNETS.COM SCOUTING REPORT
A closer look at the Dallas Mavericks:


Jason Terry


Peja Stojakovic

Now in his 17th season, Jason Kidd will turn 38 in two weeks, but remains one of the NBAs more effective point guards. Kidd entered the NBA in the mid-1990s with a reputation as an outstanding passer and playmaker, but a very poor shooter. Over time, hes improved his perimeter accuracy to the point where hes an above-average scorer from beyond the arc. Kidd compiled two of his typical all-around performances in the November games against the Hornets, averaging 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists.

DeShawn Stevenson has revitalized his NBA career since coming to Dallas as part of a trade from Washington. Known as an erratic shooter prior to coming to the Mavericks, hes hovering around 40 percent from the three-point line and also provides solid defense.

Jason Terry has consistently produced big games against the Hornets during his 12-year career. This season has been no different. The bench sparkplug has averaged 22.5 points in the two New Orleans games, on 15-for-27 shooting from the field (5-for-10 on treys).

Second-year combo guard Rodrigue Beaubois missed the first three-plus months of the season with a foot injury, but was elevated into the starting lineup before the All-Star break. The promising native of Guadeloupe had a 40-point game at Golden State during his rookie season.

Like Beaubois, Jose Barea is a 6-foot Mavericks backcourt player capable of putting up points in a hurry. The native of Puerto Rico has been relatively effective against the Hornets this season, though he has struggled with his shot at just 5-for-20 from the field.

A first-round pick in 2010, rookie Dominique Jones has seen sporadic playing time with Dallas. Jones logged a total of three minutes in the two November games vs. NOLA.

FORWARDS
When Dirk Nowitzkis been healthy this season, the Mavericks have at times been nearly unbeatable. Dallas went just 2-7 over a nine-game stretch with Nowitzki sidelined, but has a spectacular record in its remaining games. The 7-foot German was the Mavericks best player in both of the teams contests against the Hornets in November, averaging 27.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. He was also 17-for-20 from the foul line.

A member of the Hornets for four-plus seasons, from 2006-07 through November of this season, Peja Stojakovic has been traded twice in 2010-11. After New Orleans dealt him to Toronto a few weeks into the regular season, the Raptors traded him to the Mavericks. Over the first weeks of his tenure with Dallas, the native of Serbia was shooting relatively well from long range and playing a little over 20 minutes per game.

Shawn Marion was recognized as one of the NBAs premier rebounders and fast-break finishers while playing for the Phoenix Suns during the previous decade. Now in his second season with the Mavericks, Marion has settled into a role where he primarily comes off the bench and provides contributions in multiple areas.

Nicknamed The Custodian for his hard-working style of play, Brian Cardinal often receives limited duty but made two key three-pointers in Dallas home win over NOLA on Nov. 15.

Hard-nosed scorer and defender Caron Butler was initially believed to be out for the season due to a knee injury he sustained on New Years Day in Milwaukee, but said recently hes hopeful to return for the playoffs.

CENTERS
Tyson Chandler was one of the stalwarts on the Hornets 2007-08 club, which captured the only division championship in franchise history. Chandler missed a large number of games due to injury over the previous two seasons with the Hornets and Bobcats, respectively, but has been healthy virtually all of 2010-11. The California native remains an excellent rebounder and team defender in his 10th NBA season.

Brendan Haywood was signed to a lucrative free-agent contract by the Mavericks last summer, but with the elevation of Chandler to a starting role, Haywood has seen his minutes decrease. Hes a shot-blocker and rebounder whos comfortable around the rim at both ends.

Ian Mahinmi provides frontcourt depth for the Mavs. The native of France was a deep reserve for San Antonio in his first two NBA seasons.


Players the DAL/NOH want shooting free throws in a close game
MAVERICKS HORNETS
Peja Stojakovic
Dirk Nowitzki
Brian Cardinal
Jason Terry
Shawn Marion
89.4
87.6
85.9
84.4
81.6
Chris Paul
Jarrett Jack
David West
Marco Belinelli
Carl Landry
85.4
84.9
84.0
79.9
77.1
If the DAL/NOH need a three-pointer, their best options are
MAVERICKS HORNETS
Peja Stojakovic
Dirk Nowitzki
Jason Terry
Brian Cardinal
Jason Kidd
40.0
38.2
38.0
38.0
35.0
Marco Belinelli
Chris Paul
Jarrett Jack
Willie Green
Trevor Ariza
39.0
36.3
34.7
31.8
31.5
Career FT percentage (through Feb. 28) Career three-point percentage (through Feb. 28)




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