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Dallas Mavericks Vs. New Orleans Hornets

ROUND ONE - Western Conference
Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets Series Preview

The surprise team in the Western Conference, the New Orleans Hornets (56- 26), not only made the playoffs, but they finished first in the Southwest Division. The Hornets, averaging 100.9 PPG and allowing 95.6 PPG, had a plus-5.3 PF/PA differential.

New Orleans point guard Chris Paul has been spectacular all season, averaging 21.1 PPG and dishing off 11.6 APG. Along with being an excellent court general, Paul has smooth, quick hands that allowed him to average 2.71 SPG. He hits 49% from the field, 37% from downtown and 85% from the free throw line. Small forward Peja Stojakovic, a 93% free throw shooter, is accurate from the three-point mark 44% of the time. Stojakovic put up an average of 16.4 PPG.

At power forward, David West scores points, blocks shots and commands the boards. His 1.30 blocks per games leads the team and his 8.9 RPG make him second in that category. At center, Tyson Chandler posts a double-double with 11.8 PPG and 11.7 RPG.

The seventh-seed Dallas Mavericks (51- 31) made the playoffs having averaged 100.4 PPG and by allowing 95.9 PPG. As far as point production and defense are concerned, they match-up well with the Hornets.

Power forward Dirk Nowitzki is the leading point getter for the Mavs with 23.6 PPG. His 7.3 RPG and 0.92 BPG are both best on the team. Jason Kidd, acquired during the season from New Jersey, leads the club with 10.1 APG, while putting in 10.8 PPG. Kidd is deadly from the 3-point line, hitting 46% of his attempts.

Small forward Josh Howard puts in 19.9 PPG and picks off 7 RPG. Point guards Jason Terry and Devin Harris are both fine two-way players. Terry hits for 15.5 PPG and has 1.07 SPG, while Harris is good for 14.4 PPG and 1.44 SPG. The Mavs hit 35% of their shots from downtown and an astounding 81% from the free throw line.

This is a tough series to call. The Mavericks may have a difficult time upfront but can certainly hit from the perimeter. Nowitzki must be extra tough for Dallas. Is that possible? West and Chandler will give the Hornets extra power in the paint and Paul is almost impossible to stop.

Maddux Sports Series Prediction:

New Orleans Hornets in 7 Games

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