Despite a solid 51-31 record last year, the Mavs barely made the playoffs, earning the seventh seed in the Western Conference. They proceeded to get their asses handed to them as the New Orleans Hornets won by double digits in three of the first four games on their way to a 4-1 series victory. Point guard Chris Paul, who finished second to Kobe Bryant in the MVP voting, dominated the Mavericks, scoring 35 points with 10 assists in the opener. Paul added 32 points and 17 assists in Game 2, and he finished off Dallas in Game 5 with a triple-double, 24 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds. This season, Paul continues to be among the top players in the league, and the Mavs don't look to be in any better position to stop him. In their first match-up since last year, Dallas will be counting on big nights from Dirk, Jet and Josh to help neutralize Paul. Watch the Mavs and the Hornets Wednesday at the American Airlines Center; tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. For tickets call 214-747-6287 or visit nba.com/mavericks.
Wed., Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m., 2009