The home team squeaked out both those games and as the division rivals get set for their third regular-season meeting, this one in New Orleans, the teams are positioned for a possible first-round playoff meeting. The Mavs (45-17) are holding on to the No. 2 seed, trying to hold off the Los Angeles Lakers -- who come to the American Airlines Center Saturday night -- while the Hornets (37-28) are currently holding down the No. 6 seed in a crowded lower half of the Western Conference playoff bracket.
This time around the Mavs might not have to contend with All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who sustained a concussion in Sunday's game at Cleveland and was taken off the floor on a stretcher. He was later released from the Cleveland Clinic and joined the team on their flight to Chicago. Paul has been ruled out for tonight's game against the Bulls.
Paul (15.9 ppg, 9.6 apg) typically terrorizes the Mavs. He's averaging a double-double in the two games this season, 21.0 points and 10.0 assists. He's averaged more points this season against only Memphis (21.5) and Phoenix (26.0).
The Mavs play at the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.