Game Notes: Dallas at New Orleans, Game 5

by April 30, 2008

By Aggrey Sam

Since it’s already been talked about plenty, I’m gonna try to make this quick.

–Byron Scott: Vindication! Jason Kidd is dying on the inside. And getting booed every time he touches the rock.
–I spot a lady with one of the best signs I’ve ever seen at a game. It reads “Stop the Flop” and painted on it is a No. 41 Dallas jersey. Catchy, and the Hornets are smart enough to show it on the JumboTron every time Dirk gets fouled. Dirk is rattled.

–Was that smoke from the intros or is Josh Howard already on vacation? Speaking of rattled, that man is shook. I thought weed was supposed to calm your nerves. I said the Mavs should trade Dirk in the off-season, but Josh went and made the decision for him. Unfortunate, because his trade value has to be extremely low right now. My guess? A package of him, Jet and/or Stack for a so-called impact guy.

–Speaking of Stack, he has that disbelief-at-his-own-decline thing going for him right now. It leads to incidents like Tyson Chandler meeting him at the summit on dunk attempts and getting ejected for no reason. Compare his situation with Mike Finley’s. Is he more important to the Mavs than Fin is to the Spurs? Yes. Is that a good thing? No.
–CP is amazing. 24, 15 and 11. Wow. That is all. Wait–has anyone noticed how he’s become a master irritant on the court, a la Bill Laimbeer or something? Of course, he’s a lot more likable, but he gets under the opposition’s skin constantly (see: Stackhouse, Jerry) and works the refs like no other (including Kobe; CP doesn’t gets techs). Also, he might be the best non-shotblocking off-ball defender in the League.
–Brandon Bass is the future. At least against the Hornets. Straight beast. More skilled than you think, too. Avery starts him in the second half. That should happen next year, too. He’s not just getting putbacks and garbage buckets anymore; the Mavs are consistently running post isos for him.

–Jason Kidd is trying to will Dallas to victory early. He’s not capable of that anymore. But people shouldn’t act like this just happened. He was just in a system that highlighted what he still does well and hid his weaknesses better. Steve Nash may look worse than him next year. Last night was a harbinger. Defense is back.

–Tyson Chandler’s stats mean nothing, even when he’s playing well. His energy, hustle and willingness to get dirty in the paint are almost as important to the Hornets as CP’s playmaking. Forget his Baby Bulls days, forget his heralded high school career, who would have thought the 7-foot seventh-grader on “60 Minutes” (who remembers that?) back in the day would turn into what we see today? Seemed bound for more of a Kwame Brown-type career. Party and bullsh*t, like Big said.
–Mo Pete has been quietly solid. He (and Pargo) adjusted to Bonzi (and Julian Wright) taking stealing minutes pretty well and has been doing the big-shot vet thing. Him, Peja and Bonzi will have to come up big against the Spurs. Only guys with any kinda postseason experience.

–Dave West is a monster. His mid-range game is cash, he’s now an automatic double in the post and he’s proving to be capable of pulling off the tough guy thing well. He hits big shots, too. Surly yet smooth, hard yet humble.

–The Mavs bench is shallow like bathtub water. Tyronn Lue and Devean George are not quality subs. Damp should be a sub.

–Julian Wright is extremely confident, which is usually good and sometimes bad. Good outweighs bad, however, when you’re 6-9, athletic and play hard. You can see him getting hype based off the crowd’s reaction to him. Energetic young colt.

–Pargo has established himself as one of the better gunners/combos off the bench in the League. Not Ben Gordon level, but the man gets buckets. Side note: Have you ever seen two brothers look less similar than him and Gonzaga’s Jeremy? Not just in complexion, but facial structure, etc. One must be adopted.

–I was too hard on Stack earlier. He can still help a team, just not Dallas.

–Greg Monroe in the building. The 6-10 Georgetown signee really seems to enjoy “Eye of the Tiger.”

–I see a fan with a Baron Davis Hornets jersey, with black tape over “Davis” in the back.

–Didn’t realize Dirk was putting up such good numbers in this series. Quiet production isn’t always good.

–Let me reiterate: Brandon Bass is a beast.
–Reggie Bush is here. The crowd gives him a standing O, then starts the “Reg-gie, Reg-gie” chant. Hugo the Hornet has him autograph a football, acts like he’s gonna throw it into the stands, then has Reggie do it himself. Madness and chaos ensue.

–Hugo sits atop a tower that rises unexpectedly from the floor, something like Puff in the “Hate Me Now” video and is kinda tight, actually.

–Ric Flair: “To be the team, you gotta beat the team. Woooo!”
–The inexperienced and overly hype Hornets let the game get interesting toward the end–they had an 8 to 15-point cushion for most of it–but hold on for the win, 99-94. Fittingly, CP ends up with a rebound to end it.
–Did Avery deserve to be fired? Probably not. Was it time for him to go? Of course it was. My gut says they get a defensive-minded coach, as they’re no longer a “running team” anymore. Josh Howard is more than likely out the door, but I don’t know if there’s a quick fix for the Mavs. Time to rebuild.

–Winning this series was obviously a big step for N.O., especially since they dispatched Dallas so quick. They match up better with the Spurs than a lot of people think, but obviously San Antonio has that championship pedigree. If they keep their heads, hold it down at home and steal a game on the road, they can get it done. Will it happen? Time will tell…

–CP vs. TP. I don’t think either one of them can guard the other. HOWEVA, if CP doesn’t get caught up in the individual matchup, his shooters (Pargo and Peja) knock down shots and West is consistent off that pick and roll, I think he can come out on top. His dime game is more important than his scoring game, as opposed to Tone’s.

–The factors, to me, are Manu and Bonzi. I don’t think any of the Spurs want it with Mr. Wells and I don’t think any of the Hornets want it with Manu, although I’d like to see them try young Julian on him.

–I actually think the Hornets have the advantage down low. West is simply a problem for the Spurs (and most other teams) and if Tyson stays out of foul trouble, he should do a better job on Duncan that most cats.

I’m out, but stay tuned for another Honeybee feature tomorrow.