The AP reports: With 13 of Chris Paul’s first 16 shots falling out instead of in, and fellow All-Star David West clanging 11 of his first 14, the Hornets couldn’t get into a groove until it was too late. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry came up big on both ends of the court, pulling Dallas right back into this first-round series with a 97-87 victory in Game 3 on Friday night. Nowitzki had 32 points, 19 rebounds and six assists to get the Mavericks within 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday night in Dallas, where the Hornets haven’t won since January 1998… Terry replaced Jerry Stackhouse as a starter and replaced Jason Kidd as Paul’s primary defender. The MVP candidate went from ringing up consecutive games with at least 30 points and 10 assists—something nobody had ever done in his first two playoff games—to having 16 points and 10 assists… Josh Howard scored 18 points for Dallas, but was only 5-of-16. His performance drew extra scrutiny because hours before tipoff he went on local radio and admitted to using marijuana in the offseason. Team owner Mark Cuban said Howard will be disciplined… Dallas took 22 free throws in the period, compared to just seven for New Orleans. Yes, the Mavericks went to the rim harder than the Hornets. They also were aided by getting into the bonus just 3:17 into the quarter.
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Mavs shot 42.7%, the Hornets just 37.9%. The Mavs were lousy from three-point range at just 5-of-17, while the Hornets nailed 8-of-16 (Pargo had 4 threes, Stojakovic had 3). The Mavs won rebounds 52-43. The Hornets had just 2 steals. For the Mavs, Nowitzki had 32 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. Terry had 22 points, 6 assists and 2 steals. Josh Howard shot just 5-of-16 for 18 points and not a lot else. Jason Kidd had 8 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. For the Hornets, Jannero Pargo shot 12-of-20 for 30 points. Chris Paul shot just 4-of-18 for 16 points and 10 assists. David West shot just 6-of-20 for 14 points and 9 rebounds. Stojakovic was hot from three-point range but cold elsewhere, going 6-of-20 for 14 points and 9 rebounds. Tyson Chandler had no blocks.