Chris Paul had never appeared in the playoffs when the New Orleans Hornets began their first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Fellow first-time All-Star David West was a rookie reserve the last time the Hornets were in postseason _ and they lost in the first round.
Yet, when New Orleans eliminated Dallas in five games with a 99-94 victory on Tuesday night, West and Paul kept their celebration brief.
"We're not going to pop champagne bottles or anything like that," said Paul, who had 24 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds in the clincher. "We're trying to set a new standard here with our organization. This isn't like a fairy tale for us. This is something that we're trying to keep going."
Also, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Phoenix Suns 92-87 to win that series in five games; the Houston Rockets beat Utah 95-69 to cut the Jazz's lead to 3-2; and the Detroit Pistons took a 3-2 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers with a 98-81 rout.
The Hornets' victory closed the latest happy chapter for a team that won only 18 games in the last full season it played in New Orleans before a two-year displacement to Oklahoma City because of Hurricane Katrina.
Their 56-26 regular season set a franchise record for victories. It also earned the Hornets the second seed in the tough Western Conference and the Southwest Division crown, the first division title in the franchise's 20-year history.
Earlier Tuesday, coach Byron Scott was presented with the NBA coach of the year award for the first time. Hours later, the Hornets' triumph gave New Orleans fans another first: an NBA playoff series victory.
The Jazz never made the playoffs during their five seasons in New Orleans. The last time the Hornets had won a first-round series was at the end of the 2001-02 season, their last in Charlotte.
Now the Hornets must prepare for the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, who eliminated Phoenix later Tuesday night. That series begins Saturday at New Orleans.
"Everything that we have done is all about this city. It's about rebuilding the city of New Orleans," Paul said. "The fans have been here for us. They are the reason we are playing so well."
That and the fact that the Hornets have young and talented players like Paul, West, Tyson Chandler, Jannero Pargo and rookie Julian Wright, along with savvy veterans like perimeter sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic.
"A lot of people may be surprised with how this thing turned out, but we're not too surprised," said West, who scored a game-high 25 points, including a couple of tough fadeaway jumpers as he was fouled.
Pargo had 17 points, while Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds and Stojakovic scored 11 points.
Dallas, meanwhile, must spend the offseason figuring out how to improve a team that looked to be a title contender after trading for guard Jason Kidd, only to bow out of the playoffs in the first round for a second straight season.
"We're better than what we showed this series," Dirk Nowitzki said after scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in his final performance of the season. "The summer is going to be long. ... You don't want to say stuff when you're emotional and disappointed. ... You've got to look at what you can do to make the team better. We've got to look at it this summer again, but it's not the time now."
Nowitzki gave mixed reviews to the Kidd trade, which cost the Mavericks young point guard Devin Harris, a former first-round draft choice.
"Honestly, things didn't look great before the trade. It would have been a struggle to get into the playoffs either way, so we just went for it," Nowitzki said. "Sometimes you have to take some risks in this business. We went for one of the best point guards ever to play this game. ... For some reason, we never got clicking the way we wanted to."
Kidd finished with 14 points and nine assists, while Jason Terry had 13 points and Josh Howard 12 for the Mavericks. Brandon Bass had 11 points, as did Jerry Stackhouse, who was ejected for a second technical foul with 1:47 left in the game.
Stackhouse was calmer after the game, saying New Orleans simply outplayed Dallas in the series and calling the Hornets "the feel-good story of the NBA."
Dallas coach Avery Johnson also gave credit to the Hornets, comparing Paul to a Hall of Famer when he called him "a young Nate Archibald."
While Paul's future looks bright, the same can't be said for Johnson's status with the Mavs. He's never won fewer than 51 games in any of his three full regular seasons, but has endured two first-round playoff exits since Dallas fell to Miami in the finals three seasons ago.
Johnson didn't discuss his job security, instead saying he expected to soon be in meetings concerning how to improve the team.
Spurs 92, Suns 87
Tony Parker scored 31 points, Tim Duncan added 29 points and 17 rebounds, and San Antonio advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by eliminating Phoenix in five games.
Boris Diaw, who had a near triple-double in the Suns' rout of the Spurs in Game 4, led the visitors with 22 points. But the Suns had a number of costly turnovers down the stretch and were sent home yet again by the Spurs, who have eliminated Phoenix in four of their last five playoff appearances.
Rockets 95, Jazz 69
Tracy McGrady scored 29 points, Luis Scola added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Houston staved off elimination by routing Utah in Game 5 of its first-round series.
Now, the Jazz can end the series at home, where they went 37-4 during the regular season. But it's no guarantee _ Houston was the first team to beat Utah in Salt Lake City during the regular season and won Game 3 there last Thursday.
Pistons 98, 76ers 81
Chauncey Billups scored 21 points, Richard Hamilton had 20 and Rasheed Wallace added 19 to lift host Detroit to a 3-2 lead over Philadelphia in its first-round series.
Detroit leads in the series for the first time after being the first team to win consecutive games. If the Pistons win Game 6 on Thursday night in Philadelphia or Game 7 at home, they will advance in the playoffs for the seventh year in a row.
Andre Iguodala scored a career playoff-high 21 points, finally putting together a night that resembled his play in the regular season, but he didn't have much help.