Mavericks (57-25), Hornets (46-36)
It was over when
Dallas turned a three-point halftime deficit into a commanding advantage midway through the fourth period. The Mavericks, who were bidding for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, outscored the Hornets by a 63-28 margin in the second half. New Orleans now awaits the results of two West Coast games that were scheduled for 9:30 p.m.: Grizzlies at Clippers, Lakers at Kings.
Hornets MVP: Jarrett Jack was superb in attacking the Dallas defense in the mid-range area, as well as setting up teammates, finishing with 22 points and seven assists. Jack went 8-for-15 from the field. The Georgia Tech product now will prepare for the first postseason action of his six-year NBA career.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Quincy Pondexters aggressive outing consisted of 10 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes of playing time. Its uncertain how significant Pondexters role will be in the playoffs; hes essentially the teams only natural small forward other than starter Trevor Ariza.
The buzz on
the final night of the NBA season. New Orleans loss ensured that the outcome of games later Wednesday will matter in the seeding race. Its now this simple: If Memphis wins against the Clippers, the Hornets will get the No. 8 seed and face No. 1 San Antonio. If Memphis loses, the Hornets would get the No. 7 seed and face the No. 2. That No. 2 seed will be determined by the outcome of the Lakers visit to Sacramento.
The only matchup decided in the West right now is that No. 4 Oklahoma City will play No. 5 Denver in the first round. Everything else is up in the air, contingent upon the games being played right now in Sacramento and Los Angeles.
Blog question of the night: How do you feel about the Hornets based on the way they are entering the postseason? Does the three-game losing streak matter? Or is it irrelevant when the playoffs begin on the weekend?
END OF REGULAR SEASON QUOTES (courtesy Dallas Mavericks)
Hornets Guard Chris Paul
(On making the playoffs
) There was a lot of people calling us out, saying oh they wont make the playoffs. Weve been through a lot of adversity this season. You know trades and different things like that. What more can we ask for but an opportunity. We came in here and we realize that we lost and stuff like that, but this is a whole new season now. That is what I have learned. It doesnt matter if you win 60 something games, as long as you win enough to get in, now is when the fun stuff starts.
(On schemes he may see in the playoffs
) We will see who we match up against. I dont have a clue, probably depends on who we play. San Antonio they push up and go under. LA they keep the ball on one side of the court. It doesnt matter right now.
(On the possibility of coming back to Dallas
) Thats cool too. It dont matter, it dont matter. Ive been getting ready for the playoffs for a while now. I just cant wait. All of these last few games havent meant too much, it is now just who can win four games first.
(Do you still remember what happened last time you were in the playoffs..) Yeah, yeah I will never forget that. You know what I mean, but that is behind us now too. It doesnt matter what your season series is with a team, you get to start back over now.
New Orleans Coach Monty Williams
(On the second half) We let our guard down a bit. Its easy to say I sat guys in the second half, but they upped their pressure and hit a ton of shots. I dont know how many threes they made in the second half, but they were contested threes. I thought we played with some fight from the first half, but we still gave up 20 and 30 point quarters. Thats something I didnt like.
(What do you think about going into the playoffs on a three game losing streak with no momentum?) Well you say no momentum, but the fact that we are here is momentum for us, because there are a number of teams that arent playing after tonight. Obviously wed like to win games going in but not at the sacrifice of doing things the right way. I could have played Chris 45 minutes tonight giving us a better chance to win the game. And maybe I should have, but were in this position because weve done some things well and we cant lose sight of that. I think its easy for us to look at the negative, and I do that enough. Coaching makes you emotionally negative, but Im going to try to focus on the things that weve done to get here and try to make the most of this opportunity.
(The game got a bit physical in the first half. Do you think either team was trying to send a message?) Thats not physical to me, thats just basketball. Thats the way I want to play. Thats the way I think you have to play. You dont want to play dirty, but if youre complaining about that maybe you shouldnt be playing. Theres going to be physical play in the playoffs. Thats what its all about. The refs let a lot more go. Obviously we dont want to knock guys into the stands, but thats the way we played all year long. Our last game with Dallas at our place was no different. Guys were on the bench and in the stands. Were not going to back down from anybody from a physical standpoint.