Final

New Orleans wins series 4-1 (Game 3 of 5)

New Orleans wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Mavericks92Final
Hornets104
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Mavericks103Final
Hornets127
Game 3: Friday, April 25th
Hornets87Final
Mavericks97
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Hornets97Final
Mavericks84
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Mavericks94Final
Hornets99

Hornets 87

(56-26, 26-15 away)

Mavericks 97

(51-31, 34-7 home)

Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

7:00 PM ET, April 25, 2008

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
NO 16 24 23 2487
DAL 23 24 27 2397

Top Performers

New Orleans: J. Pargo 30 Pts, 1 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 32 Pts, 19 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Blk

Dallas duo of Terry, Nowitzki lift Mavs to first win of series

DALLAS (AP) -- Even with Jason Terry guarding him, the crowd booing him and Dirk Nowitzki setting the tone for a renewed intensity among the Dallas Mavericks, Chris Paul insisted being on the road in the playoffs wasn't much different than being at home.

Well, except for that whole thing about him and his New Orleans Hornets teammates putting the ball in the basket with ease.

"I think we got a lot of shots we wanted," Paul said. "We just missed them."

With 13 of Paul's first 16 shots falling out instead of in, and fellow All-Star David West clanging 11 of his first 14, the Hornets couldn't get into a groove until it was too late. Nowitzki and Terry came up big on both ends of the court, pulling Dallas right back into this first-round series with a 97-87 victory in Game 3 on Friday night.

Mavs get JET fuel boost

Jason Terry was one of the Mavs' top reserves all season, but replaced Jerry Stackhouse in the starting lineup for Game 3 and the move paid dividends. Here's a look at how Terry fared in Games 1 and 2 compared to Game 3.

Jason Terry vs. Hornets,
2008 Playoffs
Game 1 & 2 Game 3
Pts 24 22
3-pt FG/FGA 6-10 3-8
FG-FGA 8-15 8-18
Ast 6 6

Nowitzki had 32 points, 19 rebounds and six assists to get the Mavericks within 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday night in Dallas, where the Hornets haven't won since January 1998.

"We wanted to make sure we made it a series and win this first one," Nowitzki said. "They're going to keep coming. It's going to take the same effort, the same intensity."

And, very likely, the same new lineup.

Terry replaced Jerry Stackhouse as a starter and replaced Jason Kidd as Paul's primary defender. The MVP candidate went from ringing up consecutive games with at least 30 points and 10 assists -- something nobody had ever done in his first two playoff games -- to having 16 points and 10 assists.

Terry cut off Paul's first step early and the speedster seemed a lot more content running the offense from the 3-point line. He kept getting the ball to West in hopes he would find his touch, but that didn't work either.

"Jet had a lot of energy. It takes lot energy to guard Paul," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said.

Paul finished 4-of-18 and West was 6-of-20 for 14 points. His late surge helped New Orleans cut a 17-point deficit to 90-83 with 2 minutes left, but the Hornets couldn't close the gap.

"We can't have the type of stretches I had to start the game off," West said. "That really put us in a hole."

New Orleans' only consistent scorer was Jannero Pargo, who had 30 points, his most of the season and most ever in a playoff game. Peja Stojakovic was the only other double-digit scorer with 13. The Hornets shot just 38 percent.

"They came out with a Game 7 mentality, we came out with a Game 3 mentality," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "From the start, they outworked us. They were more physical, more aggressive."

Terry gave the offense a lift, too, with 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:39 left to help hold off the Hornets' final surge. He had six assists. Kidd had eight points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Josh Howard scored 18 points for Dallas, but was only 5-of-16. His performance drew extra scrutiny because hours before tipoff he went on local radio and admitted to using marijuana in the offseason. Team owner Mark Cuban said Howard will be disciplined.

"I'm sorry things have gone the way they are," Howard said. "I never meant to hurt nobody's feelings. ... It's over with now. I'm trying to talk about basketball."

With all their playoff experience, the Mavs opened the series with two strong quarters. Then came six poor ones, which happened to coincide with the six best for the Hornets. Dallas players insisted they'd be better simply by being home -- and they were right.

The Mavericks led by 11 points in the first quarter and were up by seven at halftime. Then came a third quarter that might get NBA conspiracy theorists going.

Dallas took 22 free throws in the period, compared to just seven for New Orleans. Yes, the Mavericks went to the rim harder than the Hornets. They also were aided by getting into the bonus just 3:17 into the quarter.

"They shot more in one quarter than we did for the game," Paul said -- accurately. The Hornets took only 13 free throws, making them all. Dallas made 15 in the third quarter alone.

The game, and series, nearly turned midway through the third quarter. With Dallas up 62-54, Nowitzki was conked from behind by Tyson Chandler, then run into by Pargo. He was sprawled on the court, the crowd silenced.

Then last season's MVP got up and hit four straight free throws, then a jumper.

"You could tell from the start he was really into it," Scott said.

So, how did Paul's first road game and his first playoff loss change his mind-set?

"Now we're trying to win it in five games," he said. "This is fun. I love this. We lost tonight, but we get to see them again Sunday. This isn't the end of the road."

Game notes


Dallas won for only the third time in its last 13 playoff games. ... Paul missed shots at the end of the first two quarters, then couldn't get one off at the end of the third, with a bump by Kidd helping prevent it. ... Pargo's first miss came with 3:21 left in the third quarter. His second miss came a half-minute later. ... Johnson was tightlipped about lineup changes before the game, joking that Juwan Howard would be at point guard. Told about it, Howard grinned and bragged about his point-forward skills.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NO
DAL
Points 87 97
FGM-FGA 33-87 (.379) 32-75 (.427)
3PM-3PA 8-16 (.500) 5-17 (.294)
FTM-FTA 13-13 (1.000) 28-38 (.737)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-43 14-52
Assists 18 20
Turnovers 10 8
Steals 2 6
Blocks 5 7
Fast Break Points 4 23
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 16 (1/1)
Largest Lead 3 17

Top Performers

New Orleans
Dallas
Jannero Pargo Pargo
Points: 30
Reb: 1
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 32
Reb: 19
Ast: 6
Stl: 0
Blk: 2