Mavericks Vs. Hornets: Dallas Losing Streak Reaches Four Games In 97-92 Loss

A season-high 25 points from Rodrigue Beaubois wasn't enough on Friday, as the Mavericks fell 97-92 to the lowly New Orleans Hornets in one of their most disappointing losses of the year.

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Mavericks Vs. Hornets Final Score: Dallas Fall To Hornets 97-92, Losing Streak Reaches Four

Playing the New Orleans Hornets seemed like an easy win for the Dallas Mavericks, but that was not the case as the Hornets were able to thwart the Mavericks 97-92.

And while the Mavericks were missing Lamar Odom and Delonte West, the Hornets were without guard Eric Gordon, forward Carl Landry and center Emeka Okafor.

Dallas lost the game early, allowing New Orleans to jump out to a 25-19 lead, which they never gave up.

The Mavericks defense once again cost them, as they allowed the worst team in the Western Conference, who were without three of their most important players, to score rather easily most of the night.

Xavier Henry, a second-year guard from Kansas who rarely sees the floor, scored a career-high 19 points on 8-12 shooting.

Jason Terry had one of his worst games of the seasons, scoring two points while shooting 1-9 from the field. Dirk Nowitzki, meanwhile, had 19 points but didn't look like himself for most of the night coming off injuring his back against Memphis on Wednesday.

With the loss, Dallas has now dropped four straight and five of their last six.

For more news and analysis on the Mavericks head over to Mavs Moneyball while At The Hive has you covered for all things Hornets.

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Mavericks Vs. Hornets Halftime Score: Dallas Trailing Against New Orleans, 52-46

Dirk Nowitzki called this a "must win game" for the Dallas Mavericks, but so far they are not playing well against the New Orleans Hornets, and trail 52-46 at the break. The Mavericks have lost three in a row and four of their last five, and are without Lamar Odom. The Mavericks should not be struggling against the eight-win Hornets, partly because they have not been good this year, but also because they are playing without guard Eric Gordon, forward Carl Landry and center Emeka Okafor.

The Mavericks have been trying to stay in this game by putting up a lot of three-pointers, but that strategy is not working as they are 5-of-16 from the field with Jason Terry missing all four of his attempts. Take away their poor three-point shooting and the Mavericks are actually shooting well. The problem for the Mavericks is that their defense has given up 15 points to Chris Kaman and a season-high 13 points to Xavier Henry in only nine minutes of playing time.

Leading the way for the Mavericks are Vince Carter and Brandan Wright each have nine points. Carter did help the Mavericks to a lead when they went on an 11-0 run to give the Mavericks a 44-43 lead late in the second half, but that would not last long as the Hornets ended the half on an 8-2 run.

For more news and analysis on the Mavericks head over to Mavs Moneyball while At The Hive has you covered for all things Hornets.

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Mavericks Vs. Hornets: Five Questions With SB Nation's Rohan Cruyff

To preview the Mavericks game tonight, we've brought in Rohan Cruyff who writes SB Nation's NBA rookie power rankings and doubles as a Hornets blogger over at At The Hive.

1) Three months after David Stern's veto or whatever it is that actually happened, how do you feel about the Clippers trade? Would you rather have had the Rockets/Lakers package for CP3?

I still feel the same way I did when it happened - ethicality aside, I much preferred the Clippers deal. It afforded the team a chance to start a completely fresh rebuild process, and for a small market team, that's absolutely essential. The Lakers deal would have given the Hornets a playoff team (I believe), but one with almost zero potential for growth. It's unfortunate the Eric Gordon injury situation has developed as it has, but the reality is that small market title contention really only happens through the draft. Of course, the lottery and draft themselves are hardly guaranteed, but the Hornets appreciably improved own pick was a critical, critical component of my preference for the Clippers' deal.

2) What's the latest on Eric Gordon's injury situation and how is that going to affect his impending free agency?

It's very, very uncertain at this point. Based on the Hornets' last announcement, it's not clear whether Gordon has been given permission to resume even basic training at this point, and an April return (as the team seems to be hoping for) would really be a best case scenario here. The injury situation didn't seem to diminish the contract requests of Gordon and his agent (they asked for 4 years/$58 million, the maximum another team can offer Gordon this summer). And the injury situation notwithstanding, I wouldn't be surprised if they still expect a similar offer in the summer. Restricted free agency complicates things of course, and I can't say with confidence whether an Indiana (or whoever else) will actually offer the $58M max.

3) Excluding Gordon, what players on the Hornets do you think have a future in New Orleans? Who do you want to still be on the team in three years?

This is a great question, and one I've been constantly re-evaluating throughout the season. On opening day? My answer was nobody. At the time, I'd have characterized Emeka Okafor as the team's second best player (considering all facets of the game), but obviously, his is a contract the team might very easily move if presented the opportunity. As the season has progressed, though, a few guys have really stepped up.

In ascending order from least to most important - Greivis Vasquez, Trevor Ariza, and Gustavo Ayon. I could see Vasquez as a long term backup point guard option (that's my personal assessment of his ceiling); his distribution has been more than decent on the year. Ariza's fascinating in that he's gone back to, in many ways, the "old" Trevor Ariza as opposed to the Houston and New Orleans jump-shooting incarnation we've gotten the past few years. His value is significant defensively, and now that he's coupling it with passable to even positive offense, I could see him sticking around. (Two months ago, I'd have laughed in your face if you suggested such a thing). As far as Ayon - he's been a revelation. Rebounds, fights defensively, high offensive IQ ... I'll be legitimately mad if the team can't hold onto him in the long term. I think he's very close to his ceiling as a player, but he's already such a top-notch role player that that hardly matters.

4) There are two schools of thought when it comes to rebuilding: tank as much as humanly possible or play veterans that will keep you competitive on a nightly basis. What do you think is the better plan for the Hornets going forward?

I hate that second school of thought. Staying afloat for no reason and no long term goal is something I simply can't get behind, and it really appears the Hornets feel the same way. I don't want to levy any accusations here, but let's just say that New Orleans has allowed its players to rest assorted injuries for surprisingly long periods of time. Emeka Okafor, one of the league's true ironmen for many years now, hasn't played in nearly a month with a "sore knee." Jason Smith, who had an impactful but not devastating collision with a Piston a month ago, hasn't played since February 4th. Again, I can't speak authoritatively on the nature of many of these injuries, but I do get the feeling that things would be tighter on a playoff contending team.

5) Let's pretend the lottery gods, a.k.a. David Stern, smile upon New Orleans and the Hornets have picks #1 and #2 in the 2012 Draft? Who would you take?

Without blinking, Anthony Davis at #1. At that point, I'd just pass out in joy and not really worry about #2, though I'd lean MKG over a Robinson or Sullinger ... I think.

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Mavericks Vs. Hornets: Game Preview, TV Info And More

Dallas will try to end their three-game losing streak as they continue the most brutal part of their schedule in New Orleans on Friday.

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