Dallas Mavericks (3-1 3-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Hornets (1-3 1-3 ATS) New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA 9:30 PM EST Wednesday November 4, 2009 on ESPN
By Jason Green of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Dallas +4 vs. New Orleans -4
Tonight in the Big Easy the struggling New Orleans Hornets host the Dallas Mavericks. Even though the Hornets are 1-0 at home they are 1-3 overall and in last place in the Southwest Conference while the Mavs are in 1st place at 3-1. The Mavs have lost 4 straight in New Orleans and it looks like they can snap that streak if Dirk Nowitzki plays anything like he did last night scoring 40 points, including 29 in the 4th quarter, in their win over the Utah Jazz. The problem with the Hornets this season has been their D, as last season they allowed their opponents to score 94.3 ppg, 5th best in the league, but in their last loss they gave up 117 points to the New York Knicks. The Mavs are looking to start the season 3-0 on the road for the first time since the 2002 – 2003 season. To do that they will have to contain Chris Paul, who killed them last season averaging 33.3 ppg, 12.5 assists per game, and 8 rpg.
In last night’s game the Mavs beat the Utah Jazz 96-85. Dirk Nowitzki was the high scorer going for 40 points on 12/22 shooting. For the game the Mavs were cold only shooting 34/86 for a FG% of 39.5%. On D the Mavs allowed the Jazz to shoot 34/82 for a FG% of 41.5%. One of the main reasons the Mavs won, besides the 7-foot German, is the fact that they out-rebounded the Jazz 50 to 37.
On Monday night the Hornets lost to the New York Knicks 117-11 in the Big Apple. The high scorer for the Hornets in that game was Chris Paul going for 32 points on 12/18 shooting and he dished out 13 assists. For the game the Hornets shot 42/86 for a FG% of 48.8%. On D the Hornets the allowed the Knicks to shoot 43/93 from the floor for a FG% of 46.2%.
This season the Hornets rank 18th in scoring (97.8 ppg) and the Mavs only rank 24th (93.5 ppg). The reason the Mavs are 3-1 is the fact they rank 4th in points allowed (87.8 ppg) and the reason the Hornets are 1-3 in that they rank 22nd in points allowed (104.8 ppg). Dallas has been great on the glass this season with a rebounding differential of +4.3 rpg while the Hornets are at -6.3 rpg, which is the 2nd worst rebounding differential in the league.
As stated above the Hornets are getting killed on the glass and if they allow the Mavs to dominate the boards tonight, especially on the offensive end, they will lose.
Emeka Okafor has been legit averaging over 10 rpg, but David West has struggled. West averaged 25 ppg and 8 rpg last season, but this season he is only at 15.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. West also has to play good D on Nowitzki and not let him blow up in the scoring department.
Since Chris Paul is so damn quick Jason Terry may get more minutes at the PG position, as Jason Kidd is no spring chicken any more.
Paul has begun the season right where he left off averaging 27.8 ppg, but the rest of the starters are only averaging a combined 43.5 ppg.
Hornets head coach Byron Scott made the decision to put Julian Wright (7 ppg) in the starting lineup over Peja Stojakovic (12.8 ppg), but that experiment may not last long if the Hornets continue to struggle on offense.
Shawn Marion (15 ppg) has been solid this season and his defense is one of the reasons the Mavs are playing well on the defensive end.
Mavs’ C Erick Dampier (8 ppg 9.5 rpg) is also playing well on D and if he shuts down Emeka Okafor and is beast around the rim the Mavs have a great chance to win this game.
To stay in contention in the Western Conference the Hornets may need to trade for a backcourt mate for Paul since Morris Peterson may not cut it. In 3 starts this season Peterson has played 16, 19 and 15 minutes with a FG% of 33% on 6/18 shooting only averaging 6.5 ppg.
The Mavs will have to play good D in this game, especially since 20-point scorer Josh Howard is still out with an injury.
On the injury front PF Drew Gooden is day to day and PF Tim Thomas and SF Josh Howard are out for the Mavs while PF Ike Diogu is day to day for the Hornets.
Jason’s Pick: The Mavs are playing well and the Hornets are not. Paul’s supporting staff has struggled big time and I see the Mavs rolling over them in their house and stopping their 4 game losing streak on New Orleans’ floor in the process.