Although the New Orleans Hornets earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, they're not getting much respect from network analysts. Charles Barkley of TNT and Jeff Van Gundy of ESPN are predicting the seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks will upset the Hornets in the first round. ESPN analyst Mark Jackson is going with the Hornets.
Barkley: "I think the problem with New Orleans is they're just so young. I think they have a bright future, but I just think they don't have playoff experience. Byron (Scott) has done a great job, and I thought Chris Paul had the MVP until they faded the last couple of games. They've had a magnificent season.” Van Gundy, asked what it would take for the Hornets to beat the Mavs: "I think (Peja) Stojakovic would have to play better in the playoffs than he has before, Paul would have to play to an MVP level, which he has all year, David West would have to make his mid-range jump shot, which he has done.” Jackson on why he thinks the Mavs will lose to the Hornets: "The Hornets present problems offensively. Dallas doesn't play with the same vigor on the defensive end, and they are very predictable offensively.”