Final: Hornets 108, Mavs 94
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
A huge key to the Hornets’ first-half success came as a result of penetration into the lane. Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin used ball-screens and crafty dribbling to knife their way into the paint, and as a result Charlotte was able to score 1.28 points per possession when the ball entered the paint. The Hornets drove it into the paint 24 times in the first two quarters. In contrast, the Dallas defense limited Charlotte to just 0.88 points per possession in the first half when preventing any entry into the lane. That’s the goal for the Mavs moving forward, and the difference in efficiency in those situations is massive.
The Mavs came into this game as the second-best three-point defense in the NBA. The team’s success continued against the Hornets, limiting the bugs to 6-of-27 shooting from beyond the arc.
Dwight Powell continued his hot streak against Charlotte, scoring 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting and grabbing 5 rebounds in the first half alone. He led the team in scoring and was a +2 in his 13 minutes of playing time in the first two quarters. His most positive contributions came on passes from the Mavs’ guards — including an alley-oop pass from J.J. Barea. Powell has already flashed a consistent mid-range jumper, and if he can add forceful finishing at the rim, he could become an offensive super-sub off the bench. You’ve got to like his potential.
After not starting in the first half, Chandler Parsons opened the third quarter in the lineup, promptly hitting a jump shot immediately after coming into the game. It must be kind of weird to sit for the entire first half before finally making an appearance in the game, but that was actually Parsons’ desire. Playing on a minutes limit as he recovers from a knee injury and surgery, the small forward said he’d rather play late in games than early on. But even as he remains limited in terms of playing time, it’s easy to see how he influences the Mavs’ offense. He can both make plays off the dribble and also shoot if the defense leaves him open. That’s a rare combination for a small forward.
The Hornets jumped out to a 39-29 lead early in the second quarter, mostly due to the Charlotte guards’ penetration. Of those 39 points, 26 came in the paint. But Dallas turned the tide defensively after Rick Carlisle called a timeout, holding Charlotte to just 4 points in the paint in the final 8:20 of the quarter as the Mavs won the rest of the half 24-15.
During one possession early in the fourth quarter, Devin Harris absolutely hounded Jeremy Lin up the floor, guarding him very closely for 13 seconds. Harris was eventually called for a foul, but on the ensuing inbound pass Harris forced Lin to travel. It was an inspiring display of defense at a time when the Mavs really needed a boost.
The Mavs (2-3) play the New Orleans Pelicans (0-4) Saturday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.