One game is just that, one game. That is what every coach and player will always say after a game; a game which they have lost.
Monday night’s showdown between the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets was not just one game. It was a statement. The Hornets came into the game as the NBA’s last unbeaten team at 8-0 while winning by an average of over nine points per game.
You might tell yourself that teams sometimes have bad nights and therefore lose to lesser teams. After all, we are only a few days removed from the L.A. Lakers losing to the Denver Nuggets for their first loss of the year. But that was not the case last night.
The Hornets shot over 44 percent from the field and the three point arc. They made 11 three-pointers, out-rebounded Dallas 42-38 and forced 15 Dallas turnovers. The Hornets did not have a bad night and you might argue they actually had a good one.
Another key clue about the game is that the Hornets did not look dominant at any point during the game against the Mavericks even playing their best basketball. The Mavericks were able to keep their composure and execute down the stretch both offensively and defensively.
In the Western Conference, the Lakers and Spurs along with the surprising Hornets round the top 3. The Mavericks sit at fourth. The Lakers have looked dominant through the first few games with Pau Gasol at the pivot, but have struggled recently. The next few weeks should be favorable to the Lakers as they face several teams that are struggling.
The Spurs have looked dominant, but have played mostly against terrible teams. The Spur’s eight wins are against teams with a combined record 27-53 (They beat the Clippers twice). Their only loss was to the Hornets who at that time were unbeaten. Not to take anything away from the Spurs since they are clearly winning games they should, but their record might be a bit deceiving.
On the other hand, the Mavericks wins have been against teams with a combined record 32-34. They suffered a one-point loss to Philadelphia after a terrible fourth quarter and a double digit loss to Denver in a game in which they had a double digit lead.
In the next few weeks, the Mavericks will play the Hornets again, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio. The outcome of these matches will determine the Mavericks standing among the NBA’s elite teams. It would not be surprising if the Mavericks are at the top of the Power Rankings come December.