How it happened: Before the game, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle announced that Dirk Nowitzki would sit out the next four games to aid his ailing right knee, as well as to help Nowitzki get in better physical condition.
During the game against the Western Conference’s worst team, the Mavs didn’t always make it look easy or pretty -- take for example a 14-point second quarter, horrendous 3-point shooting and nearly blowing a 13-point lead late -- but they ultimately got the job done.
Sparked by a 12-0 run to start the third quarter after being tied 41-41 at halftime, Dallas was able to snap an eight-game losing streak on the Hornets’ home court dating back to 2007. The Hornets did scrap to within one point twice late in the game, but the Mavs' defense never allowed a good look with chances to take the lead.
Dallas, which set a franchise record by holding a 14th consecutive opponent to fewer than 100 points, limited New Orleans to 12 points in the third quarter to take a 64-53 lead into the fourth. The Mavs scored 23 points in the third, a good sign considering they had scored an average of 17 points in the third quarters of the past four games.
Lamar Odom got the start in place of Nowitzki and had a good night with a co-team-high 16 points. He showed some flashes of his L.A. days with a nifty baseline drive to go with four rebounds, a couple of assists and three turnovers in 26 minutes. He also converted some key free throws in the fourth quarter.
Shawn Marion, coming off a season-high 22 points at Utah, recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Delonte West picked up the scoring slack of Nowitzki’s 17.5-point average by matching Odom's 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, plus six rebounds and five assists. The Mavs needed it considering Jason Kidd (0-of-6, 0 points) and Jason Terry (3-of-16, 12 points) continued their massive shooting slumps.
Dallas spread its light-scoring night around to eight players. Brandan Wright got a shot to play and contributed six points. Rodrigue Beaubois didn’t have the highlight-type night like he did against Utah and had just seven points and no assists, but he did have three steals.
What it means: The Mavs ended this strange, four-game road swing through three time zones with a split to move to 10-7 on the season. The trip started with consecutive losses at the buzzer on 3-pointers to the Lakers and Clippers, and finished with the surprising news that Nowitzki won’t play the next four games. Dallas begins a four-game homestand Monday against Phoenix.
Play of the game: In the half-court offense, Jason Terry dished to a cutting Brandan Wright in the lane, who made a quick touch pass to Ian Mahinmi on the baseline for a slam dunk and a 62-51 lead with 1:18 to go in the decisive third quarter.
Stat of the day: Jason Kidd missed all five of his 3-point attempts to go 0-of-7 in the past two games and 1-of-20 during the four-game road trip.