Game 3 Aftermath: Saturday news wrap

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Published: April 26, 2008

The Mavs took Game 3 last night in Dallas to cut the Hornets series lead to 2-1. Here's the morning-after chatter from around the web.

First off, over at The X's & O's of Basketball, there's some excellent commentary and video on the Mavs' defensive adjustments against the Hornets' pick and roll last night…

  • In games 1 and 2, the Mavs tried to trap Paul. The problem with that strategy is that nobody on the Mavs has the footspeed to successfully trap Paul and either he split the double or he found Chandler for multiple alley-oops.

    Instead, for game 3, Coach Avery Johnson made the adjustment to fight thru the picks, and stay at home on Chandler protecting the basket. Then they would rotate from the weak side to prevent penetration and only allow the mid-range shot.

From that little Elias Says box over at ESPN.com's Hornets page

  • Chris Paul had 10 assists in the Hornets loss, giving him 37 assists in his first three career playoff games. The only other player in NBA history with as many assists in his first three postseason games was Kevin Johnson, who had 39 in 1989.

From John Schuhmann over at NBA.com

  • The lone bright spot for the Hornets was Pargo, who finished with a season-high 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting. He was a +14, which means that the Hornets were -24 while he was on the bench.

This whole "Josh Howard smokes weed" thing blew up yesterday after J5 went on the airwaves and talked about his drug habit. (What is it with Dallas ballers saying dumb shit on the radio anyway?) From Marc Stein over at ESPN.com…

  • Expounding on comments about marijuana that he made over the weekend to The Dallas Morning News, Howard joined "The Michael Irvin Show" on ESPN Radio 103.3 FM on Friday afternoon and told the Hall of Fame wide receiver that he "probably" would not smoke marijuana in-season even if the league did not have a random testing program. But Howard also described "smoking weed in the offseason sometimes" as his "personal choice and personal opinion."

    "I don't think that's stopping me from doing my job," Howard told Irvin.

In the Dallas Morning News, Kevin Sherrington says Howard just proved he's no leader, while Eddide Sefko thinks Howard might have bought his ticket out of Dallas

  • Sherrington: A leader doesn't set up a radio interview Friday to "clarify" comments in The Dallas Morning News about his off-season use of marijuana.

    Especially when the clarification is that most NBA players are tokers.

  • Sefko: Friday might not have been the beginning of the end for Josh Howard as a Maverick. It may have come a week before or nearly a year earlier.

    But when the Mavericks forward used a local radio show to detail his off-season marijuana use for the second time in a week and third time in a year, he certainly made his future cloudier.

Last thing on Howard: Henry Abbott says this is old news, and wonders why it's such a big deal now anyway…

  • What is the news here exactly? It's hard to even find presidential candidates who haven't done what Howard says he has done. The club of people who have smoked pot has membership in the millions. Has anyone here ever spent any time on a college campus? At a rock concert? I swear I smelled pot smoke in the bathroom at the Sixers game this very night.

Jim Eichenhofer's notes on Morris Peterson last night…

  • With Jannero Pargo rolling, he only played 10 minutes, the least playing time for Mo Pete of the entire season (not including a Dec. 7 game vs. Memphis in which he was injured early after six minutes). He went 1-for-2 for two points.

A good read again from Stein, this time recapping Game 3. Words on the free throw disparity in there, and some quotes from Byron Scott…

  • The Mavs went to the line 22 times in the third quarter alone. They missed as many free throws in the period — seven — as New Orleans attempted. With 4:30 to go in the quarter, Dallas had attempted 18 free throws to the Hornets' two.
  • "They came out with a Game 7-type mentality," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I thought our guys came out with just a Game 3 mentality.

    "But I would love for those guys [Paul and West] to get 38 more shots Sunday," Scott continued. "I just don't think between the two of them they'll [only] make 10."

Jason Terry isn't letting one win get to his head. From Sefko in the DMN

  • [The Mavericks] didn't want to get too happy about the defense they applied to Paul.

    "Don't read [too much] into that," Terry said. "We just wanted to make it tough for them. They just missed some shots they were hitting at home. He [Avery Johnson] told us the matchups, and I got the task tonight on Paul. It may be Devean George or J-Kidd the next game. It's going to take a team effort. He's a tough cover. And they just missed some shots they usually make."

Avery Johnson had similar thoughts. From Randy Galloway's article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram…

  • "I thought Jet was highly motivated. He had a lot of energy, and it takes a lot of energy to attempt to guard Paul," said Johnson, who also added, "We didn't shut down Paul. He missed a lot of shots."

More from AJ, this time on what he felt was the biggest key to the Mavs win

  • "More than anything, our men hustled and rebounded the basketball," Avery said. "We were physical tonight, which this is the first time in the series we've actually been really physical on both ends of the floor. More than a lineup change or somebody starting on West or Stojakovic, I just think our men were very physical tonight."

From Kevin Whitmire's article in the Dallas Morning News…

  • It started from the opening possession when Nowitzki drove the lane for a layup. Johnson said the Mavs were determined to start the game by driving to the basket, if only to signify they were ready to play a physical game.

    "Dirk played great," the Hornets' Scott said. "That's why he's an All-Star, a former MVP. He was big tonight on both ends. … You could tell from the start he was really into it."

David Moore talks of subtle changes the Mavs made to win Game 3

  • Having Terry open the game on Paul allowed Kidd to move to Morris Peterson and made it easier for the Mavericks point guard to cheat off his man and clog the passing lanes.

    The Mavericks also made a fundamental shift in what they wanted to do with Paul in this game. If he burned them for 30 or more points, so be it. What they didn't want him to do was dissect their defense with his penetration and assists.

Courtesy of Teddy Kider in the Times-Picayune, here's Byron Scott's response to those comments by Jerry Stackhouse

  • "You see me laughing about it, right?" Scott said. "No big deal. Don't think about it at all, to be honest with you."

    Scott said he remembered the incident that Stackhouse was discussing and added: "Nah, it's not that accurate. But again, he said what I said, but he forgot to put what he said in there. But no big deal. Like I said, we'll just play basketball."

    After a couple of more questions drew the response, "We'll just play basketball," Scott finally said: "I hadn't laughed this morning, so it was a good laugh for me. It made me feel pretty good."

I haven't heard any real complaints from the Hornets about the officiating last night. Apparently Chris Paul was asked about the disparity in foul calls during the postgame press conference, but he just turned to David West and said "You comment." As for Tyson Chandler, he thought the Hornets only had themselves to blame

  • "A lot of times in the playoffs, the team that's the aggressor gets the calls," Chandler said. "They came out playing with more desire."

Jerry Stackhouse is apparently still suffering from a sore groin

  • "I'm still a little apprehensive to go all out," he said. "Just that hard burst to the right that I always do, I don't feel as comfortable with it right now. Hopefully, I'll just continue to build up to it. But I'm getting some looks that I feel I should be knocking down, regardless of what's going on."

Toney Blare recaps Game 3 from Handsome Willy's in New Orleans. Some excerpts…

  • Why is some 12 year old who resembles Devin Harris sitting courtside?
  • Quarter ends with Jason Terry flashing 3 fingers a hand at the crowd. For what, 3 consecutive playoff disasters?

Kelly Dwyer over at Ball Don't Lie

  • Chris Paul was able to put up 18 shots. He wasn't dominating or trying to dominate, but he was still able to get up a whole batch of shots from the field. And he hit four of them. And while Jason Terry did a great job in being able to stay that half-step closer to Paul than Jason Kidd was able to earlier this week, there was nothing in Paul's game that suggested that he was interested in taking this one over.

Mike Fisher on the incident between Erick Dampier and Chris Paul late in Game 3…

  • With 28 seconds left and Dallas up 12, the smallish Paul squirted loose and wanted to attempt a layup. He encountered the largish Erick Dampier. For the blood-sporting among you, your long-standing wish was granted: Damp collided with Paul from behind as is CP3 was a parked Volkswagen Beetle and Damp a Peterbilt 18-wheeler.

    Paul got a bruise. Damp got a flagrant. You got your blood. The Mavs’ muscle got asserted.

Over at Mavs Moneyball, Wes Cox figures out that the Mavs best lineup in the series, in terms of plus-minus, has been the unit of Kidd, Terry, Howard, Nowitzki and Bass. The issue…

  • That lineup has been on the court for 16 minutes total.

At the Hive has plenty of thoughts on the game (along with some questionable Photoshop skillz)…

  • All you can do is tip your hat to Dirk and the Mavs. It wasn't an elimination game, but it sure was a must win contest, and Dallas responded well. Now look, you can dispute the validity of whistles, that too many touch fouls were called, that Dirk flopped around like a beached whale (even Mavs fans surely admit as much). But here's what you can't deny: the Mavericks players took first steps past defenders way too easily and often. They were the aggressors and made us suffer. 

Leaving you with a warm fuzzy: here's twenty Honeybee pics from SI.com, via Hornets Asylum.

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