Hornets, With Shut Down Defense and Improved Shooting Percentage, Down Mavs in Game 1

Posted: April 20, 2008 in Hornets

The Dallas Mavericks had a 12 point lead at halftime due to poor shooting from the Hornets and less than impressive defense. In the second half, the Bees came out and cut the lead from 12 to 6. From there, the defense improved considerably and the Hornets shooting percentage improved. The Hornets went up by 6 and the Mavs offense suddenly shut down and nobody was making shots. That allowed the Hornets to open up as much as a 15 point lead on the Mavs and later, leading by 12, Peja knocked down a three pointer with under 2 minutes to go to seal the game. The Hornets now lead the series 1-0 with Game 2 right back here Tuesday night, start time 6:30pm on TNT.

NEW ORLEANS, April 19 (AP) — So much for playoff experience.

Chris Paul had 35 points and 10 assists in his first career playoff game Saturday night, lifting the New Orleans Hornets to a 104-92 come-from-behind victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their first-round series.

David West, in his first playoff game since he was a rookie reserve, scored 23 points, and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 15 rebounds to help New Orleans storm back from a 12-point halftime deficit to win going away.

Dirk Nowitzki had his way with New Orleans early and finished with 31 points, but scored only four during Dallas’ fourth-quarter collapse. Josh Howard added 17 points for the Mavericks, a team that hasn’t missed the playoffs in eight seasons and was in the finals two years ago.

Jason Kidd, the All-Star point guard the Mavericks were hoping would be the missing piece to a championship run when they traded for him midseason, finished with 11 points and nine assists.

But the Mavericks had only nine field goals in the second half and no answer for Paul, whose third year in the NBA has included a maiden All-Star game nod and serious consideration for league MVP.

The Hornets also got 14 points from Peja Stojakovic, one of their few grizzled playoff vets, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final period to help squelch any notion of a Dallas comeback.

Dallas, which lost, stunningly, in the first round of last year’s playoffs to eighth-seeded Golden State, won’t go down without a struggle. With this game out of reach, the Mavs seemed to be already psyching themselves up for the next contest with physical play.

Nowitzki and West were assessed double technicals after exchanging words, nose-to-nose, with West holding his hand up to the edge of Nowitzki’s cheek.

New Orleans, a young team making its first playoff appearance in four years, looked like a tight group in the first half, missing open jumpers, free throws, even a layup. The Hornets were 9-of-27 shooting in the first quarter, when Dallas took a 26-19 lead behind 11 points from Nowitzki.

Hustling defense kept the Hornets within single digits most of the first half, but Dallas, which missed its first nine 3-point attempts, went ahead 49-38 on Kidd’s open 3 late in the second period. Howard added another in the final seconds, putting the Mavs ahead 52-40 at halftime.

The Hornets desperately needed a player to rise to the occasion on offense in the third quarter, and Paul did so, scoring 15 points in the period.

He had a 7-0 run by himself on a jumper, driving floater and fast-break layup as he was fouled to pull New Orleans to 65-63. The Hornets tied it at 68 on Bonzi Wells’ jumper with 2:20 to go in the third period, then Wells’ steal led to Paul’s fast-break layup for a 70-68 lead.

Chandler’s follow-up dunk made it 76-72 at the end of the third, during which New Orleans outscored Dallas 36-20.

Paul then hit a floater, set up Chandler’s alley-oop and West’s layup during a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter to put New Orleans up 86-74.

Notes: Before tipoff, the Hornets hung their Southwest Division championship banner from the rafters after a brief comment from team owner George Shinn. “Many people didn’t think would come back; they were wrong,” Shinn began. “Many people didn’t think we’d have fan support; they were wrong. Many people didn’t think we’d make the playoffs; they were wrong again.” … The Hornets missed five of their seven free throws in the first half, while Dallas made 16-of-19 during that span.

“Paul Lifts Hornets Over Mavs For Game 1 Win”. NBA.com. April 19, 2008. “http://www.nba.com/games/20080419/DALNOH/recap.html”.

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Comments
  1. Ashley says:

    As a basketball sport lover, I have a special love for Dallas Mavericks and always follow them wherever they go if only have some time. I do not care if Mavericks tickets are always a little bit pricy but I don’t care about prices. Dallas Mavericks tickets are pricy but never mind when you want to watch your favourite team. There are other great NBA teams that might be great teams too but Blazers is my best team and always do my best to attend heir games.

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