Seeking at least a split in two head-to-head games against Dallas this weekend, the Hornets came out sputtering tonight, falling behind by 20 points early in the second quarter. Despite a huge fourth-quarter surge and a near career-high scoring game from Chris Paul, New Orleans (48-31) couldnt notch its third straight win over Dallas this season. As a result, the Mavericks (48-31) moved into a tie with the Hornets in the standings for sixth place in the Western Conference. However, New Orleans owns the tiebreaking edge and technically remained the No. 6 seed.
When these clubs meet again on Sunday, the Hornets will again have the opportunity to wrap up the season series vs. the Mavs. It didnt happen tonight, even though Paul finished one point shy of his career high in points, with 42. Other than CP3 and fellow All-Star David West, New Orleans received scant production from the balance of the roster. Through the first 21 minutes of the game, there were only two other Hornets baskets one each from Melvin Ely and Antonio Daniels.
Dallas dominated all game on the backboards, outrebounding New Orleans by a 54-38 margin. More specifically, the Mavericks pulled down 20 offensive boards, including six apiece from Josh Howard and Brandon Bass. That was a big factor in Dallas reaching the century mark in scoring despite shooting 40 percent from the field.
One piece of good news for Dallas as well came a few minutes after the final buzzer, when Utah lost to San Antonio 105-99. The Jazz (47-32) dropped to eighth place, one game both behind the Hornets and Mavericks. However, Utah owns the tiebreaker on those clubs and hosts Golden State on Saturday. Since the Hornets and Mavericks face each other again in two days, by defeating the Warriors tomorrow, the Jazz would guarantee a move out of the No. 8 spot at the end of the day on Easter Sunday.
HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES (courtesy Dallas Mavericks)
On the game
They came out a lot more aggressive than we did and I told our guys that at halftime that we didnt come out ready to play, we didnt come out ready to match their intensity level that they were going to play with. We warned out guys about the first quarter and that they like to get off to a good start, in particularly Josh (Howard) and he got off to a great start and got them going. We did not react to everything we had talked about early in the game, but after that we played good solid basketball. You look at two stats. You give up 20 offensive rebounds which means they get 20 more chances to score and you give up 27 points on the free throw line, it is hard to win games like that.
Is it frustrating that you havent began games like you wanted to
Yes, there is always going to be a little frustration. I like to win. That is something I have been doing my whole career, so when you are not getting the job done there is going to be some frustration. But, in the long run you have to keep your head level and keep teaching to these guys to keep playing and keep competing every single night. But again, we just have to get more out of more people. We did a terrible job on the glass and when you look at the stat sheet it was David (West) and CP (Chris Paul) and nobody else. So, we have to get other guys involved and they have to do a better job of getting involved.
On the importance of Sundays game
I dont know if it is so much credibility, I think that the way they (Dallas) kind of acted then they were playing tonight, I think that we should have a little more fire in our belly for Sundays game, you know with all the antics they (Dallas) were doing. But again, if we come out like we did the first quarter tonight on Sunday, it wont be that much of a different story. Rubbing it in, showing off, I dont know what you want to call it. But all those antics, I am old school and it didnt sit well with me and I hope it didnt sit well with our guys.
On Chris Pauls big game
It doesnt matter. He knows it, he wants to win. Is it a bad sign (that he carried most of the scoring load), not necessarily. It just showed that we didnt get enough other guys involved. The other guys when they had shots didnt make them on a consistent basis. Him and David, like they have been doing the last two or three weeks, just took matter into their own hands. But, again, we have to get some other touches for some other guys."
(You and Chris Paul had big games but the support wasnt there
Weve just got to keep playing, thats all I can really say. Weve got a chance to get these guys our last our home of the year on Sunday. Its going to be another difficult game. They came out like it meant more to them and did what they were supposed to do in winning a tough game on their home floor. And we never matched their intensity. I thought we played pretty solid defense. They just killed us on the glass and we didnt have an answer for him.
(On Mavs 20 offensive rebounds and not being able to match Mavs intensity
They had 20 so they got 20 extra possessions. Guys have to take it personally. Weve got to take the challenge to defend and shore up that part of the game to give us a chance. And were not going to beat anybody if you give them 20 offensive rebounds not in the NBA.
They game out, and we know going into every game if you watch the Mavericks play, they go as Josh [Howard] goes to start the game off. Josh got off to a great start and then everyone else started to get involved and we decided to play in the second half.
(You personally had a great game but you didnt win
what do you take away from that?)
Not a lot. Its the second game in maybe like three or four games that Ive had 40 something points and weve lost. But its not about how I do; its about how we do.
(How much do you miss Chandler?)
We miss Tyson a lot. Brandon Bass really killed us on tonight on the glass. And the guys that are stepping into that spot have to fill that by committee. But weve all got to try and rebound as much as possible.