Dirk Nowitzki lead the Mavericks out of their early season hole back to the .500 mark, shaved his horrible beard and scored the 25,000th point of his career in one night as the Mavs beat the Hornets,107-89.
Dirk had a pedestrian 19 points while once again as has happened to often this season, failing to take the most shots on his team. That honor went to Shawn Marion, who scored 21 on his 16 shots, while having another Shawn Marion stat stuffing night.
The Mavs finally broke through the .500 glass ceiling mostly because they had another shot against a sub-par team in the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans. Their were plenty of flaws on display, as the main distribution still came from Vince Carter, OJ Mayo and Marion. The nicest piece of offense came from the ball movement of Nowitzki who caught a ball on a back cut and moved it immediately to Chris Kaman seeing the help defense had reacted, allowing Kaman the easy basket.
Brandan Wright had another highly efficient game and I began to wonder, while surely Dallas will want him to return, has his second half driven him out of their price range?
Other than that, tonight’s performances just highlighted what we already knew, Shawn Marion, and Vince Carter are keepers. Mayo is a good player, but not a viable scoring option going forward. Kaman is talented but doesn’t complement Dirk defensively.
The 2013 Mavs couldn’t keep the 12 year playoff streak going, but they showed that a team could both lose 13 out of 15 and get back to .500. No one will talk about this version of the Mavs a decade from now, but they were good enough to provide entertainment.
Here is a look back at those hideous Mavericks beards:
Sidebar: The sweetest part of the night in the Kvaal house was my beautiful wife asking why it took so long for the Mavs to reach .500. When I asked what she meant she asked if it meant they had to just score 500 points or if they had to have a 500 point differential. I then stammered through laughter explaining that it meant winning at least half their games, which included a quick argument about why they do winning percentage on the one thousand scale instead of the one hundred scale. It was a classic.