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News » Paul, Hornets are rising to occasion


Paul, Hornets are rising to occasion


Paul, Hornets are rising to occasion
Two games, two victories by an average of 18 points, with the star of stars averaging 33.5 points, 13.5 assists and 3.5 steals — any more questions about whether or not Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets belong in their lofty No. 2 seed in the West?

Eschewing any doubts about their ability to deal with playoff pressure and questionable depth, the Hornets ran roughshod over the Dallas Mavericks again Tuesday night, this time to the tune of 127-103.

2008 NBA playoffs

Dwight Howard is averaging 27 points, 21 rebounds and 4 blocks in the two games for the Magic, who clipped the Raptors again 104-103 to take a 2-0 series lead. Chris Bosh, who had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, caromed a 20-footer off the rim at the buzzer for the Raptors. Magic point guard Jameer Nelson has averaged 21 points and 5 assists, while top Most Improved Player candidate Hedo Turkoglu has averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists for the Magic. Rashard Lewis is averaging 15.5 points in the two games despite making just 12-of-35 from the field. ... Anthony Parker had 24 points and 7 rebounds for the Raptors in Game 1, but was scoreless in 38 minutes in Game 2, missing all four of his shots from he field to go along with 6 rebounds. The Raptors bench, led by Jason Kapono's 20, outscored the Magic bench 57-18 and their own starters 57-46.

Chris Paul adding 32 points and 17 assists to his 35 points and 10 assists in Game 1 puts him in the company of Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, John Havlicek, Michael Jordan and Kevin Johnson as players who have had at least 30 points and 10 assists in consecutive playoff games. ... In the two games against the Hornets, All-Star point guard Jason Kidd has averaged 9.0 points, 8.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from the field. Jerry Stackhouse, who went 4-of-10 Tuesday, is 6-of-19 from the field in the two games.

Amare Stoudemire scored 25 of his 33 points in the first half and had just five points in the second half until hitting a big 3-pointer in the final minute. Steve Nash finished with 23 points and 10 assists, but had just one assist in the second half. Grant Hill was scoreless for the Suns in nearly 20 minutes, clearly hampered by a groin strain. ... Sixth Man winner Manu Ginobili had 28 points Tuesday and is averaging 26 in the two games, while Tim Duncan had 18 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks Tuesday compared to 40 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in Game 1.

Wednesday

We'll find out just how cool the Detroit Pistons really are after virtually collapsing in the fourth quarter of Game 1 in their 90-86 upset loss to the young Philadelphia 76ers at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The second-seeded Pistons led most of the game, building up a 15-point lead in the second half, and then proceeded to go to sleep.

It's still a seven-game series, and the Pistons should win, but this sense of nonchalance keeps creeping up and may very well be their fatal flaw.

Sixers (1-0) at Pistons (0-1)

That doesn't diminish the fact that the Sixers orchestrated the upset of the weekend with a great fourth quarter. The young players were everywhere for the Sixers, but veterans were also difference-makers, led by point guard Andre Miller with his 17 points and 6 assists, and generally one-dimensional forward Reggie Evans with 11 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. The Pistons All-Star backcourt of Chauncey Billups (3-of-9) and Rip Hamilton (5-of-17) set the tone for the Pistons, as the starting lineup was a miserable 24-of-69 (.348). It isn't likely that such poor shooting will continue for this bunch.

Nuggets (0-1) at Lakers (1-0)

Pau Gasol was magnificent in his playoff debut for the Lakers with 36 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocks, to go along with Kobe Bryant's 32 points and the brilliant all-around game from Lamar Odom, who had 17 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. The Nuggets didn't stray from type in the 128-114 defeat, flying to the offensive glass and never getting back defensively — and the Lakers responded by shooting 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3-point range and, just for good measure, made nearly 85 percent of their free throws. Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson contributed 30 points apiece, plus they got 23 points from Linas Kleiza off the bench. But having just 20 assists on 114 points spoke volumes, as did Iverson blowing his cool late in the game and getting ejected.

Hawks (0-1) at Celtics (1-0)

The Hawks hung around in the first half of the Celtics' 104-81 win in Game 1, but gradually fell apart against the super Celtics defense, featuring NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett, and shot just 38 percent from the field. Nobody was particularly overwhelming offensively for the Celtics, as Ray Allen led six double-figure scorers with 18, while Garnett and Paul Pierce added 16 apiece. Rookie of the Year candidate Al Horford led the Hawks with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while All-Star Joe Johnson came around in the second half to drop in 19. Josh Childress was the only other Hawk in double figures with 10 off the bench.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 23, 2008

 

 
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