Game 1 at New Orleans
Mavericks +4½ vs Hornets (193)
New Orleans is the No. 2 seed in the West, yet could be considered an underdog against the playoff-tested Mavericks, who had the best record in the league last year and won at least 50 games for the fifth straight season. The two teams met last week with Dallas rallying from a double-digit deficit late in the third quarter to post a 111-98 victory. That win came against a Hornets team that had clinched the No. 2 seed the night before with a 22-point triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dallas will try to capitalize on the playoff inexperience of the Hornets, who posted a stellar 50-28 mark against the spread. Unlike last year, the Mavericks had to battle Denver and Golden State in the final two weeks to secure a playoff spot. Jason Kidd, acquired in midseason from New Jersey, posted his first triple-double as a Maverick in that win over New Orleans. The Hornets counter with MVP candidate Chris Paul, who averaged over 21 points and 11 assists on the year. This will be a statement game for each and one the Hornets need to show they belong. The home court has been true for Hornets bettors most of the season and we’ll trust it. HORNETS.