New Orleans Hornets vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview and Pick

New Orleans Hornets +6 (48-30) at Dallas Mavericks (47-31) O/U 195 8:30 PM ET Friday April 10, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight the New Orleans Hornets head to the Big D to play the Dallas Mavericks. Both these teams have secured playoff spots, but each wants to improve their seed in the post season. The Mavs are currently in 8th place in the Western Conference and the Hornets are in 6th place, but they are only separated by 1 game. With only 4 games to left to play in the regular season it looks as if the Mavs, Hornets, and Utah Jazz will battle it out to try to avoid the number 8 seed, so they do not have to face the Lakers in the first round.

The Mavs have won 2 in a row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games and the Hornets are coming off a costly loss and are only 5-5 in their last 10. The Mavs can jump all the way up to the 6th position with a home win tonight.

This season the Mavs are 29-9 at home and the Hornets are 21-17 away from the Big Easy.

Basketball bookies have the Mavs as 6-point favorites in this game with a total around 195. The Mavs are posted at -200 as home favorites and the Hornets are posted at +170 as road dogs.

The Hornets are coming off a tough home loss to the Phoenix Suns 105-100 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Hornets in that game was Chris Paul going for 29 points on 23/29 shooting. For the game the Hornets shot 42/90 for a FG% of 46.7%. On D the Hornets took the night off allowing the Suns to shoot 37/72 from the floor for a FG% of 51.4%.

The Mavs come into this game after absolutely crushing the Utah Jazz 130-101 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Mavs in that game was Dirk Nowitzki going for 31 points on 12/18 shooting. For the game the Mavs were shooting lights out going 45/82 from the floor for a FG% of 54.9%. On D the Mavs allowed the Jazz to shoot 34/75 for a FG% of 45.3%.

This season the Mavs rank 9th in scoring (102.1 ppg) and the Hornets rank 25th (96.1 ppg). On D is where the Hornets shine, as they rank 4th in points allowed (94.2 ppg), while the Mavs rank 15th (100.1 ppg). Both teams are pretty close in terms of rebounding differential, as the Mavs are at +1.1 rpg and the Hornets are at +0.4 rpg.

This season the Mavs are 37-40 ATS and the Hornets are 33-42-2. In terms of Over/ Under games this season the Mavs are 36-40-1 and the Hornets are 35-41-1.

On the injury front C Tyson Chandler is Out for the Hornets and SF Josh Howard is day-to-day for the Mavs.

In the Mavs last win over the Jazz PG Jason Kidd (9.1 ppg) played great D on Deron Wiliams holding him to 5/14 shooting. He will have to play good D again tonight on another score-first PG in Chris Paul (22.6 ppg). If Kidd and the Mavs can contain Paul they will have a huge advantage in this game.

Dallas will win this game if they can play good perimeter defense on Paul and Peja Stojakovic (13.8 ppg). David West (20.8 ppg) will have to score some buckets inside tonight so the Mavs do not stack the perimeter on defense.

The Hornets are without Tyson Chandler, who is out with an injury, so they will have to suck it up and rebound as a team and play good interior D on the Mavs. Luckily for the Hornets the Mavs do not feature a lot of interior offense.

For the Mavs it all starts with Dirk Nowitzki (25.7 ppg). As he goes the Mavs go so if the Hornets can keep him from having a big scoring game they may pull the upset tonight.

Josh Howard (18 ppg) is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury, but he played last game and should go tonight. He gives the Mavs another scoring option and also is a legit defender.

These teams have met twice this season and the Hornets have won both games.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Mavericks to win and cover.