Hornets-Mavericks: Thursday news wrap

Here comes Thursday's dose of Hornets-Mavs talk from around the web. Enjoy!

Jason Terry is glad to have left New Orleans. From Brett Martel's AP article…

  • Perpetually upbeat Jason Terry came out smiling "because we are back home where we are loved, away from all of that voodoo down there in New Orleans.'' Then he echoed Nowitzki's themes about the comfort of being cheered by their fans and about a Game 3 win changing everything.

Scoop Jackson shows love for Hornets players not named Chris Paul, saying New Orleans is "the most complete team left in the NBA"…

  • The Hornets have things — let's call them sides — that don't exist on any other team in the Western Conference. They have the only player in the West who can defend Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire or Carlos Boozer for 48 minutes, a player who also led the league in offensive rebounds — Tyson Chandler. They have a player who might be the most dangerous and most difficult matchup coming off the bench, a player for whom no team has a clear-cut answer, a player who almost single-handedly took out the Spurs while he was playing for Sacramento — Bonzi Wells. They have possibly the best backup point guard in the league — Jannero Pargo. They have a third player in their starting lineup who can score 30 in any game of a series if a team makes a defensive decision to not let Paul or David West beat it — Peja Stojakovic.

Newsday's Shaun Powell believes Nets' GM Rod Thorn should also get some credit…

  • The best player in these NBA playoffs is Chris Paul, who is all over the floor and the boxscore, shooting and passing and dribbling the New Orleans Hornets past the Mavericks and toward the second round. He has many to thank for his good fortune, but one in particular: Rod Thorn.

    Thorn is responsible for putting Jason Kidd on Paul.

Some highlights from Tyson Chandler's latest blog, posted yesterday over at NBA.com…

  • Mo Pete came out very aggressive (in Game 2). It may have been the first time this year I've seen him get the ball, dribble the full length of the court, pull up for a shot and knock it down.
  • The way CP has played has been absolutely unbelievable. What's been more unbelievable is that he's scored 30-plus points in both games, but he hasn't been selfish at any point, trying to force the issue or anything.
  • We understand in our locker room that we haven't done anything but win on our home floor. And it's a series of four. It's not a series of one. It's not a series of two or three. All we have to do is stay focused, take it game by game, play hard, and try to win every game like it's Game 7.

From Eddie Sefko's article in today's Dallas Morning News, Jason Terry thinks playing in the AAC will help even up the series…

  • Asked if the team was suffering from self-doubt, Terry said, "Not at all. Not knowing this is a building where we have great success. I think we got a lot of fight left in us."

Also from the above article, Charles Barkley's thoughts on the series so far…

  • "I don't think you panic when you lose the first two on the road," Barkley said. "You're not going to come back from [three games down], so you've got to make sure you win Game 3. Then you say we've got to win Game 4, and then the pressure switches back to New Orleans. You can't panic, you've go to keep your confidence up."

More Sefko, this time from his bunch of notes in the DMN…

  • The numbers are flat-out ugly.

    Josh Howard has hit seven of 26 shots in the first-round playoff series, a 26.9 percent rate. He has four turnovers and no steals. He's averaging 13.5 points, more than six below his regular-season mark.

    The truth is the Mavericks can't survive with their supposed second-best player playing like this.

  • The Mavericks never got within 16 in the fourth quarter of Game 2. But the way they played late in the game was enough to give Jerry Stackhouse a feeling that the team is ready to play better.

    "In the fourth quarter there for a minute, it started to feel like we were playing with a little bit of bravado that we hadn't been playing with," he said. "So hopefully that's something that can carry over."

David Moore says the Mavs have to pick up their defense if Kidd is to be effective. From the foot of that article…

  • The irony isn't lost on Mavericks fans.

    The Mavs were eliminated in the first round last season by a point guard in Baron Davis who was too big and strong for Harris to defend. Now, they are down 0-2 to a point guard who is too quick for Kidd to defend.

There's a great Q&A between Eddie Sefko and Mavs fans over at DallasNews.com. Folks are criticizing Erick Dampier, the Kidd trade, and much more…

  • Q: What happens if the Mavericks get knocked out in the first round? Will the team be blown up? Will Avery Johnson be fired?

    SEFKO: We got this question from what seemed like 90 percent of the Mavericks' fan base. The best answer to both questions right now is "probably."

Jennifer Floyd Engel has similar thoughts on Johnson in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram…

  • While it is easy to pile on and say "Fire Avery," this series has to be allowed to play out before anybody calls for anything. My gut reaction is do not fire Avery, but it is a fair point. He is a good coach, but the reality is that he's getting outcoached in this series.

    And that makes three in a row.

Jeff Caplan on the Mavs' efforts to trap Chris Paul

  • Jason Kidd said the big men must better understand angles to limit Paul's escape routes.

    "Dirk probably feels he's fast, but unfortunately Chris is probably a little bit faster," Kidd said.

    "We have to get Dirk to understand a little bit about geometry and look at maybe an angle or two."

Teddy Kidder tells us how Paul feels about those traps in today's Times-Picayune…

  • "There's only so many different things you can do in basketball, and that's either trap or go under or go over the pick-and-roll and stuff like that," Paul said Wednesday. "So whatever they're doing, we've adjusted to it. We had 82 regular-season games to see what different teams try, and that's what it's all about, making adjustments."

Also from the T-P, John Reid focuses on the play of the Mavs' Brandon Bass, who has averaged 13.5 points in the first two games. Tyson Chandler's thoughts…

  • "I think now he's playing more freely, and I've always felt he was going to be a good player in this league," Chandler said. "He works very hard. It's really good to see when we can still get a win out of the situation. I don't mind him playing well, but I don't want him playing well (enough) to lead to any victories."

There's a couple of nice Q&A's with Art Garcia and Jim Eichenhofer over at NBA.com. A bullet from each…

  • Garcia: The first two games have honestly been a shock, especially after what happened Wednesday night in the last game of the regular season. A team winning its first two games at home isn't surprising, but two blowouts are.
  • Eichenhofer: Can they keep it up in Dallas? Realistically, probably not. The Hornets are a much better offensive team at home than on the road. Of the 27 times they have scored 110 points or more, 17 of them were in the New Orleans Arena. In the two trips to Dallas, the Hornets scored 80 and 98 points, so getting to the century mark is probably a more reasonable objective than thinking they're going to rack up 120-plus points again.

From Jannero Pargo's blog over at Hornets.com…

  • The first game was just a bad case of me wanting to do well in the playoffs (when Pargo shot 1-for-9 from the field). I put too much pressure on myself. I had wide-open shots, but I just couldn't make them or even come close. In Game 2, I came with the approach of just playing the way I've been playing all year, and let whatever happens happen (Pargo finished with 10 points, including 2 three-pointers).

Over at the at the Star-Telegram blog, Jeff Caplan reports on Mavs practice

  • The Mavs went through a light workout and some film study Wednesday. Coach Avery Johnson said some players were angry when they got there, angry at their play in Games 1 and 2 in New Orleans. Jason Kidd said he was upset and embarrassed by Game 2's pitiful display.

David Moore remarks on a humble Chris Paul over at the DMN Mavs blog

  • So, what does he think about what he's done?

    "It's cool,'' he said after Wednesday's practice. "At the same time, the best part of it is we won two games.''

    And what about the 2-0 lead New Orleans will bring to Dallas?

    "It means absolutely nothing,'' Paul said. "It's the first team to four. We could easily go 2-4 now. Even if we go up 3-0, there's still a possibility (Hornets could lose). It's never satisfying until you get four wins.''

Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com

  • AVERY JOHNSON, AFTER THE GAME: "We need some home cookin'."

    This is Cliché'vry Johnson at his best/worst, spewing platitudes — even conflicting ones — to politely answer questions when, really, there is nothing of substance to say. The Mavs on the road are a 1976 Ford Pinto afire. The Mavs always win at home and they haven't been beaten by the Hornets in Dallas since… well, almost since the last time you saw a Ford Pinto.

Photos of the now infamous Peja on a Stick, courtesy of Hornets Hype. 

And finally, the Hornets come in third among all the pro sporting franchises in ESPN's 2008 Fan Satisfaction Rankings. To add credibility to the write-up, ESPN quoted some dude named Ron Hitley.

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