01/14/2009 Mavericks vs. New Orleans
In their first matchup of the season, the New Orleans Hornets came alive in the second half as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 104-97 at the American Airlines Center.
Playing just 24 hours after a last second defeat against the Denver Nuggets, the Mavericks appeared a step slow down the stretch on Wednesday night.
While the Mavericks at one time enjoyed a nine-point lead midway in the second quarter, Chris Paul came alive in the second half as he recorded 20 of his 33 points after intermission. In addition to his game-high scoring honors, Paul recorded 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season.
New Orleans head coach Byron Scott was pleased by the way his team responded in they second half it outscored the Mavericks 53-41 in the final two periods.
“We came out and set the tone,” Scott explained. “In the second half we came out and boom, boom, boom. We stayed aggressive and it was a whole team effort.”
At the end of a fast paced third quarter which featured 10 lead changes and five ties, the score was deadlocked at 79 apiece heading into the fourth quarter.
Things would slowly unravel for the Mavericks in the final period. Paul’s fast break lay-up with 3:36 left in regulation put the Hornets comfortably ahead 98-89. The Mavericks were unable to generate any sort of last second heroics.
In the second half, the Mavericks shot 40% and converted only five field goals during the fourth quarter.
Although Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was disappointed with the loss, he hopes this Mavericks team will respond and fight back, just as it did earlier in the season after starting the year with a 2-7 record.
“We’ve got to fight back from this,” Carlisle said. “Every game is huge for us. We’ve just got to battle. We went through something like this, very similar, earlier in the year and the only way you dig out of these is as a group and as a team. You help each other and you fight.”
Coming off a 44 point outburst a night ago in Denver, Dirk Nowitzki responded with 20 points and 13 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season.
With the loss, the Mavericks (22-17) are now winless in their previous four outings.
One bright sport for the Mavericks was the play of their reserves in the first half. Led by Jason Terry’s 18 first half points (6-8 FG), the reserves were a perfect 10-of-10 shooting midway through the second quarter. Dallas shot an accurate 59% from the floor in the first half as they amassed a 56-51 advantage after two quarters of play.
The Mavericks will square off against the Utah Jazz Saturday at 8:00 PM before departing on a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents. The week-long trip is highlighted by an afternoon match-up versus the defending NBA Champion Boston Celtics on Sunday, January 25th.
Individual game tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 214-747-MAVS or by visiting MAVS.com.