Shawn Marion got the start tonight in place of an injured Caron Butler, who is still dealing with back spasms. Marion promptly picked up two quick fouls which allowed Brian Cardinal to get some playing time. Cardinal hit a couple of 3s but was otherwise ineffective. The Mavericks started out the game on a nice 8-0 run that even included a Jason Kidd jump shot. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone.
Midway through the first quarter the Mavericks went to the strange lineup of Kidd/Terry/Stevenson/Cardinal/Chandler that allowed the Hornets to cut it the Mavericks lead to 27-24 by the end of the 1st quarter. Predictably, Chris Paul destroyed the combination of Kidd/Barea scoring 20 points in the first half. The Hornets rode Paul to a 52-47 lead at halftime. And of course, Peja transformed into Sacramento Maverick Killing Peja and gave the Hornets a spark off the bench.
The Hornets had 10 second-chance points midway through the 3rd quarter, the Mavericks had 0. They were getting completely outworked on the boards and reverted back to the Nellie Mavs jacking 3 after 3. Things only got worse when Chandler picked up his 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter. The Hornets built their lead to 62-52. Shortly after that, Paul picked up his 4th foul and moments after that, the Hornets went over the limit with five team fouls and 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Perfect opportunity for the Mavericks to get back in it. That didn't happen as the Mavericks only cut it within 9 at 78-69 by the end of the 3rd quarter, but they ended the quarter with a nice little spurt.
That spurt carried into the 4th quarter and Jason Terry continued his sizzling start to the season by drilling back to back threes cutting the Hornets lead to 78-75. The two teams exchanged a barrage of 3's in the 4th quarter. The exchange was punctuated by a Dirk 3 to tie the game at 90. Dirk had a quite 25 point-10 rebound game. He does that. Terry had 10 points in the 4th including the go-ahead jumper with 33 seconds left, finishing with 26. Chandler was a beast in the 4th quarter. Altering Paul's shots and getting key rebound after key rebound. I love Chandler so much.
Haywood had the nice stat line of 0 points and 1 rebound in 24 minutes.Not so much love on Haywood. Kidd gets love as he held his own in the 2nd half against Paul finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Also holding him to 2 points in the 2nd half. Though that was more of a team defense/Chandler thing but love is given. And now the important news of the night...
is out of the walking boot and will be re-evaluated in 10 days for practice.
"We're going to continue to err on the side of the caution," Carlisle said. "It will be awhile before he's back on the court in a uniform, but this is progress."
Progress. I'll take it.
Next game: Wednesday at the New Orleans Hornets.