for this game

Paul's triple-double helps Hornets eliminate Mavericks

Apr 30, 2008 - 4:38 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Chris Paul showed that being a postseason neophyte didn't mean a thing.

Paul recorded his first playoff career triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high 15 assists as the New Orleans Hornets posted a 99-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday to capture their Western Conference first-round series, 4-1.

David West scored a team-high 25 points and Tyson Chandler had 10, 14 rebounds and three blocks for New Orleans, which advanced to the second round for the first time in the city's history.

"That was probably the toughest game we played," said Hornets coach Byron Scott, who was presented with the NBA Coach of the Year award in a pregame ceremony. "Dallas had no quit in them, they kept coming and coming. But we did what we had to do at home tonight to take care of business."

The Hornets had previously made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals three times when the franchise was in Charlotte, but were eliminated twice in the first round after they moved to the Crescent City in 2002.

"It feels great to know that we are out of the first round," Paul said. "We let them back in the game but, luckily, we pulled it out."

"It's been a long ride," West said. "The last few years we felt like we've taken steps to get better. It's just a culmination of all the things we've done. We're going to keep playing hard and keep fighting."

New Orleans will next play the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. The Spurs beat the Suns, 92-87, on Tuesday to win their series in five games.

Paul, playing in his first NBA postseason, also recorded his fourth double-double (points, assists) in five games vs. Dallas after registering a franchise-best 56 in the regular season.

"Chris is like a young Nate Archibald, he's relentless," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "The Hornets have just as good a chance as anyone to make it all the way. When you have a point guard like Paul, the sky is the limit."

Paul said of the Archibald comparison, "That's an honor, he's one of the best players of all-time, but I still feel like I got a long ways to go."

The 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year, Paul already had become the first player in postseason history to have 30-point, 10-assist games in his first two playoff contests. He now has five career triple-doubles.

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Jason Kidd added 14 and nine rebounds for Dallas, which has lost nine straight playoff road games and was eliminated from the first round of the postseason for the second year in a row.

"Right now I think we're all disappointed," Nowitzki said. "I think we're a little better than what we showed in these games. You don't want to say stuff when you're emotional and disappointed, but you've always got to look at what you have to do to make the franchise better. We didn't play well enough to win this series."

With the scored knotted at 32-32 in the second quarter, the Hornets went on a 17-5 run capped by a three-point play by West off an assist by Paul to give New Orleans a 48-37 advantage with 2:58 left before intermission. West, who averaged 21.5 points against Dallas, shot 10-of-17 from the field in the series finale.

After Brandon Bass made a pair of foul shots for Dallas, Peja Stojakovic nailed a 3-pointer and Jannero Pargo drilled a 19-footer with 34 seconds left in the half for the home team, which led by 15 at halftime for coach Scott.

"In second quarter we got back to being aggressive," Scott said. "For most of the game we were aggressive, but sometimes we looked at the scoreboard and tried to play the clock and that is something we can't do."

Stojakovic finished with 11 points six rebounds and Pargo added 17 points off the bench for New Orleans, which shot 49 percent (38-of-78).

The Mavericks cut their deficit to 68-63 on a pair of free throws by Jason Terry with 46 seconds left in the third quarter, but the Hornets pulled away with a 13-4 spurt in the first four minutes of the final period to open an 84-67 bulge.

Devean George scored all of his 11 points in the fourth for Dallas, which cut New Orleans' lead to 97-94 on two more free throws by Bass with 33 ticks on the clock, but Stojakovic iced the game with two free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining.

"I wanted to win, we wanted to win," Bass said. "But I wish the Hornets the best. I've still got a lot of friends over there. They're pretty good. I thought we could win it every night, but every night they kind of got the edge on us. Chris Paul and all their supporting cast, they made plays."

Terry had 13 points and nine assists and Bass had 11 and nine rebounds for Dallas, which shot 43 percent (35-of-82) and is just 3-14 in playoff action since leading the Miami Heat, 2-0, in the 2006 NBA Finals.