Monday, March 30, 2009

Ain't dead just yet...

What a game.

The Hornets were once again missing Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic, and James Posey was also missing after getting suspeneded for his silly ball-throwing incident against New York. The Spurs were in town with their big three of Duncan, Ginobli and Parker intact. It was, on paper, a game that the Spurs should have won. Luckily for Hornets fans, the Spurs did not win.

After a season full of mounting injuries and unfulfilled expectations, the Hornets pulled the rabbit out of the hat. A damn vicious rabbit with the word "DEFENSE" tattooed on its face. This game was all about effort. The Hornets played solid and aggressive team defense, rotating well on the perimeter and playing physical inside without getting into too much foul trouble. San Antonio did get some open looks from beyond the arc, but for the most part New Orleans did a fairly solid job of closing out and was able to prevent San Antonio from getting into any kind of rhythm from deep. Instead, the opposite happened. San Antonio kept chucking them up and they continued to miss, finishing a miserable 7-29 from deep. Mistakes were made, mistakes always are, but the effort was there for 48 minutes. The team played hard, and playing hard is atleast 50% of good defense. Thankfully, solid rebounding made the defensive effort pay off. West battled big and finished with 16 boards, Armstrong pulled down 6, Marks grabbed 5, and the little magician aka the merchant of grief aka the anti-Nate Robinson had 7.

On the offensive end, the team didn't shoot much better than the Spurs did. In fact, they shot worse from the field overall (37.5% to the Spurs 40.3%), but they had a slighty better showing from three-point range (30.8% on 13 attempts to the Spurs 24.1% on 29 attempts) and they lived at the free throw line, where they shot an impressive 32-33. The Hornets were just as aggressive offensively as they were defensively, which is why they were rewarded with so many free throw attempts. The Hornets pushed the break, and they pushed it hard. Chris Paul in particular ran coast to coast like a madman after what seemed like every long rebound or steal.

Energy, aggressiveness, effort, drive... its been missing, but it was there last night. Let's hope that what we saw last night was not an isolated case, but a turning point. Win or lose, I want to see the Hornets play like this from here on out.

Props to: Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks. Hilton had a workman-like statline of 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal and an assist in 29 minutes. He had only 1 turnover and just 3 fouls, and he made Tim Duncan work for his 19 points. Among the bright spots the past few weeks is Hilton's consistently solid play.

Meanwhile, Marks showed some white boy hustle at its very best. Swatting shots, grabbing boards, cutting to the rim, setting screens... as strange as it sounds Sean Marks was a force to be reckoned with in his 16 minutes on the floor. When Hubie Brown says you "are playing great basketball," well... that's quite a compliment.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Hornets lose to the Knicks

Injuries were no excuse here. The Hornets just decided to suck in the 2nd half for some reason. Memo to the Hornets: I am running out of optimism dudes, I've used a lot of it on this blog, but you are really starting to drain it.

That's all I have to say about this one.


Out for another 1-2 weeks.

My dream is that we fall to the 8 seed, get healthy for the playoffs, and surprise everyone by upsetting the Lakers in the first round. Gosh that would be nice.

The Denver Loss

Yeah so that game against Denver didn't go too well. Fire Byron Scott!

No, don't. Whatever complaints you might have against Byron (and we all have some), this wasn't a loss to due to bad coaching. It was (once again) a loss that can be explained by referencing the injury situation. It was also due to a fantastic defensive performance by the Denver Nuggets. Denver trapped aggressively, played very physical and clogged the lane well. The trapping and banging frustrated the Hornets and caused turnovers and sloppy play. I hate to use a cliche, but I will anyway because it works so very well; Denver came out and punched the Hornets in the mouth.
It didn't help that Chris Paul looked a bit "off." He was a bit lacking in speed, his jumper wasn't there, his dribbling and passing looked a bit out of control and he finished with six turnovers. Somehow he still managed to put up a ridiculous 19/13/6/2 stat line.

Still, props to Denver for having a plan and executing it perfectly. I imagine George Karl counted on the absence of Peja and Tyson because the Denver strategy was perfectly catered to that abscence. Peja wasn't there to spread the floor and be a perimeter threat, Tyson wasn't there to catch the lob... and Denver was able to clog the lane succesfully and trap without worrying too much about getting burned. It also hurt that Butler, who played well (10 points on 4/7 FG and 2/4 3PT), kept getting in foul trouble and thus couldn't really be the offensive threat he needed to be.

What it comes down to is that we need Peja and Tyson back desperately, especially for the playoffs. Though it would be great to finish as a top 4 seed, I'm more concerned about the Hornets having a healthy lineup once the regular season ends and the playoffs begin. Best case scenario is that Tyson and Peja are able to return soon for the stretch run, help the Hornets grind out some tough victories and capture a 2-4 seed. However, if Tyson and Peja continue to sit, victories will be much harder to come by, and a 5-8 seed finish will be much more likely. This is looking like the more likely scenario. Yet if that's what it takes to get those guys healthy for the playoffs, then that's the best course of action. Home court advantage is important, but its not everything. More important is team matchups, and with the way the standings are, landing an unfavorable matchup (Utah) is a possibility no matter the seeding. I don't know about you guys, but I still have my eyes on the Western Conference Finals.

Of course I should also mention the worst case scenario, in which we are a 5-8 seed but are still not healthy for the playoffs. That would suck.

Hornets take on New York tonight. New York handed New Orleans an unfortunate home loss earlier in the season, so hopefully the Hornets can get some revenge tonight.
After New York comes a huge home game against San Antonio on Sunday. A win against San Antonio would make everything all better, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cool Hornets picture of the day.

Jermaine O'Neal gets schooled in the ways of "Bowenball."

New Orleans vs Denver

Big game tonight. Big, large, gargantuan... BIG. Or maybe it's not that big, but it feels big to me. Basically, all games against Western Conference playoff teams are now "big games," and a win tonight means a 3-1 series win against Denver and a step towards securing homecourt advantage in the playoffs. However, it will only be the beginning. This will be the last battle with Denver, but there are games against Utah, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Phoenix looming large on the schedule. The "easy" stretch of the Hornets schedule is essentially over. There will be no more long home stands in which the Hornets are facing moslty sub .500 teams. In fact, there are only four games against sub .500 teams left on the schedule and all four of those games are on the road.

So it's time for the Hornets to play some seriously good basketball. It starts here tonight with the 45-26 Denver Nuggets. Denver is a solid team. They were a 50-win team last year and they will be a 50-win team this year. Their continued relevance surprised a lot of people this year, and much of the credit for the team's success has gone to point guard Chauncey Billups. I think guys like Nene and Chris Andersen should also get some of that credit. Nene is having a career year, averaging 14.6 ppg and 7.8 rpg on 60.3% shooting. Fifteen points a game on 60% from the field is a pretty great stat. As for Andersen, he's become one of the best backup big men in the league. The Hornets could really use the 6 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks that Andersen gives the Nuggets off the bench. But let's forget about all that. Despite Denver's talented roster, I firmly believe that the Hornets are a better team. Along with the Dallas Mavericks, the Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers, Denver is one of four playoff-caliber Western Conference teams that I know the Hornets can beat in a seven-game series. That's not to say that I don't think the Hornets can't hang with the rest of the West, they can, but its those four teams that the Hornets match up most favorably with.

But can the Hornets beat the Nuggets tonight? I certainly hope so. I've yet to hear whether or not Peja and Chandler will be playing. While the Hornets have been banged up in each of the three meetings with the Nuggets this year, having one or both of those guys available would make me a lot more confident about this game. Regardless, tonight will be a great opportunity for the Hornets to make a statement and show their fans and the rest of the league that they are still very much in the mix.

Update: Peja, Tyson, Hilton and Bowen are all "questionable" for tonight's game.

Random fact: Against Denver this season, Hilton is averaging 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game on 70.5% shooting

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I said a few days ago that this Hornets team was definitely not as good as last year's team and was not a top-tier team. However, now I'm asking myself, have the Hornets of 08-09 really had the opportunity to be? I downplayed the absence of Peja when discussing the loss to Chicago, but now I'm rethinking that to a certain degree.

Prior to the season most Hornets fans believed that the Hornets would have a great season as long as the team remained relatively healthy. Health is important to every team, but the Hornets lack of depth makes health even more important. As Hornets fans, we realized this. So now the question is: have the Hornets truly underacheived or have they simply been hurt by too many injuries?

Well, let's look at the injury situation last season and this season.

Rather than look at every single player, I decided to focus on last year's starting five.

Games played out of a possible 82 in the 2007-2008 season.
Chris Paul: 80 (missed 2.4% of the season)
David West: 76 (missed 7.3% of the season)
Peja Stojakovic: 77 (missed 6.0% of the season)
Tyson Chandler: 79 (missed 3.6% of the season)
Morris Peterson: 76 (missed 7.3% of the season)

Games played out of a possible 68 in the 2008-2009 season.

Chris Paul: 64 (Has missed 5.8% of the season)
David West: 62 (Has missed 8.8% of the season)
Peja Stojakovic: 53 (Has missed 22.0% of the season)
Tyson Chandler: 44 (Has missed 35.2% of the season)
Morris Peterson: 32 (Has misssed 52.9% of the season)

As you can see, every player on last year's starting five has missed a greater percentage of games this season. In the case of Chandler, Stojakovic and Peterson it's a very signifigant increase.

Now, some of you may cry foul since I'm using last year's starting five for both seasons. It's true, the emergence of Rasual Butler as a starter and as very solid contributer does offest the loss of Morris Peterson to a certain extent. He's in fact a more productive starting two guard this season than Mo Pete was last season (a 13 PER compard to an 11 PER), and he's yet to miss a single game. Nonetheless, having Mo Pete healthy more often could have certainly strengthened the Hornets weak bench. Even if we take Mo Pete out of the picture there are still the drastic increases in time missed from Peja and Tyson. And unfortunately, it looks like Peja and Tyson are going to continue to miss games. At the very least they'll both be missing the game against the Warriors tonight.

We should also keep in mind that Antonio Daniels, Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks have also missed games due to health.

So what's my point? Am I trying to excuse a somewhat dissapointing season? Not exactly. Sure, there's no doubt that the 08-09 Hornets have lost some games that they shouldn't have, and there's been times when health has not been an issue and the team did not properly take advantage of that fact.

On the other hand, this team is still going to win 50 games and the five most important players from last year's squad have missed a combined 85 games. CP3 for MVP? Yes.

Really I just wanted to write a post that illustrated how much injuries have been a part of the Hornets 08-09 season, and I think that Hornets fans should keep this in mind when evaluating this season.

Let's hope that the Hornets have Peja and Tyson back for the playoffs. If the Hornets are healthy come playoff time anything is possible.

Cool Hornets picture of the day

Chris Paul and Antonio Daniels slam asses in the hope that talent can be transferred rectally.

Seriously though, this is a great picture.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Orleans vs Memphis

The Memphis Grizzlies will be visiting the New Orleans Arena tonight. I don't know that there's much to say about this game. New Orleans has a 2-1 lead on the season series thus far, and I'd be very surprised if it doesn't turn into a 3-1 series win. The one loss was mostly the result of Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler all being sidelined. How good do you think Boston would play without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen? Would that team lose to Memphis? I think that yes, they probably would. That said, our star-less Hornets put up a good fight and only lost by a few points in what was one of the ugliest games I've ever seen.

Now of course Memphis could find a way to win tonight... it's entirely possible. I don't think that will happen though. The Hornets will win this, and what I'm hoping is that Chris Paul doesn't have to play more than 35 minutes to ensure that victory. If Mo Pete and the rest of the reserves can play like they did against Minnesota, then Chris Paul (along with David West and Rasual Butler) having an easy night is also entirely possible. Come on New Orleans, let's put em away early.

One last note: please participate in my poll on the right, and if you'd like to comment on the subject of annoying fans do that here. Let's make fun of other teams and the people who like them!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I can has victory?

The New Orleans Hornets will be taking on the T-Wolves tonight in the New Orleans Arena. A victory is a must for the simple reason that if the Hornets lose on their home floor to the T-Wolves, a 20-win team missing their primary offensive weapon, the suicide rate among basketball fans in New Orleans and the surrounding area may quickly surge upwards.

You don't want blood on your hands, do you Byron Scott?

Go Hornets!

Update: Hornets win... by a SINGLE point. That was way too close. Still, Byron Scott can sleep tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well, the Hornets are about to lose.

And what I said below hasn't changed, I still can't give up on this season. That doesn't make this loss any less painful though. This team is NOT as good as last year's team and this team is certainly NOT a top-tier team. Chris Paul is great, but this team is not. I know, Peja was still out... and that is a huge part of what the Hornets do, but the Hornets had plenty of chances to win this one.

I'm sick of the regular season. Bring on the playoffs and let's see what happens.

New Orleans vs Houston

Tonight's game will be important. The Houston Rockets are Western Conference/Southwest Division rivals with a slim lead on the Hornets in the standings. A win tonight would help the Hornets in the standings, but it would also help the team and the team's fans rebound from the absolutely atrocious outing against Chicago that occured on Saturday. Will it matter if the Hornets do win? At the Hive doesn't think so, and that post makes some good and very depressing points.

That said, I don't know if I can give up on this team even if I want to. I'm too invested in this team and this season to decide that the Hornets are too flawed to make any noise in the playoffs. Make no mistake, this is a heavily flawed team. The depth problem continues to haunt the team and the bench has become not just bad but ridiculously, patheticly unproductive. The bench's lack of offense is not surprising, but their inabilty to stop the opposing team is. Because of these issues, a single injury (Peja) cripples the team. Even if Peja had been in the lineup, I'm not sure the outcome of the Chicago game would have been much different. Why? Well, this team has had games that were as bad as the game in Chicago despite a fully healthy lineup.

Yet it's impossible for me to declare this season over. I've seen the 08-09 Hornets play at their best, and its fantastic.

I've seen David West drop 40 points and 11 rebounds on the Lakers in the Staples Center.

I've seen Rasual Butler play the best ball of his life. I've seen him block a shot, lose the ball, steal the ball, run the floor and then hit a jumper all in the course of about 15 seconds in a huge, pressure-filled game against the San Antonio Spurs.

I've seen Sean Marks... yes, Sean Marks, slam home a game-winning dunk.

And I've seen Chris Paul play his heart out every single night, and I know that when Chris Paul is on the floor, its never over.

So here's to the 08-09 Hornets in all their flawed, inconsistent glory. I hope you guys win tonight.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Me and the Hornets

To get this blog rolling, I figured it might be helpful to talk a little about who I am and how I came to be a Hornets fan.

As you can see in the "about me" box on the right, I'm 25 years old and I live in Lake Charles, Louisiana. If you're not familiar with Lake Charles, it's a small(ish) city of about 80, 000 and is powered by casinos, petrochemical plants and a state university (McNeese). It's a three hour drive east from Lake Charles to New Orleans.

Lake Charles, unfortunately, is not really a hotbed of Hornets fandom. Sure, Hornets fans in Lake Charles exist, but the average sports fan in Lake Charles is much more concerned with high school football and all things LSU. The Tigers have a big fanbase in Lake Charles. You can also find a lot of diehard New Orleans Saints fans here, but the Hornets have yet to completely catch on. Driving or walking around town you'll see plenty of gold Fleur-de-lis symbols on stickers and shirts, but aside from the occasional adoloscent wearing a CP3 jersey you'll rarely see any Fleur-De-Bees. I'm not sure why that is, but I expect gradually Lake Charles will come to embrace the Hornets in the same way that they've embraced LSU and Saints football. I've embraced the Hornets, the rest of this town just needs to follow my lead. If any Lake Charlesians read this: the freaking Rockets are NOT your team.

Actually, my leap into Hornets obsession occured relatively recently. In fact, some might be tempted to call me a "bandwagon fan." That is, I didn't start following the team until well into the historic 07-08 season. That's because I had stopped following basketball completely for a number of years. As a kid I was a Utah Jazz fan. I have memories of watching the 97 and 98 playoffs that are both fond and heartbreaking. Yet after the 97-98 season I kind of lost interest in basketball and sports in general. I passed through my teenage years and early twenties barely following the NBA. I knew that the Spurs had become a semi-dynasty, that Steve Nash was the golden boy, and that Kobe Bryant scored a lot of points and might possibly be a rapist... but that was the extent of it.

So one day I sit down in my parents living room and turn on the TV. I see that the New Orleans Hornets are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I decide I'll watch the rest of the game. It was a New Orleans team after all, and I had nothing better to do. Keep in mind that I had no idea that the Hornets were having a great season or that they had the best point guard in the world running the ship.

So anyway I'm watching the game, and it's a close game so I'm getting into it. I start to remember why I liked watching basketball so much as a kid. Good games have a constant ebb and flow, there's a rhythm to it it all that I love. Additionally there's the stunning athleticism and fierce competition mixed with something that I can only describe as a unique aesthetic quality. I like other sports, but basketball is the only sport that I find real beauty in. It's a personal thing, I know, but to me there' s something aesthetically gratifying about a 3-point jumpshot that swishes through the net or a perfectly executed fast break. Anyway the game is coming down to the wire, and the Cavs have a one-point lead. The Hornets get the ball with the clock winding down, and Chris Paul is able to dish it off to David West for a game-winning midrange jumper. I was ecstastic. I had not follwed the team, I didn't know who Chris Paul and David West were, but I knew I had seen a good team make a great play and I was excited.

Instantly I was once again an NBA fan and I began to follow it more closely. By the time the playoffs rolled around I was once again hooked. Though I had only been following the team for a couple of months, the Hornets playoff run felt magical to me, just as it did to that sea of yellow shirts I saw sitting in the stands on TV. The infamous game seven broke my heart, and I remember walking outside to smoke a cigarette, bitter dissapointment on my face and the beginnings of tears in my eyes. I felt a little silly, so upset over a basketball game and a team that I had just recently become a fan of. But, I decided, it didn't matter - I had connected with the team and become a part of its fanbase and I shouldn't feel silly just because my fandom was recent or because it was "just a game." I've been a dedicated fan of the team since that Cleveland game, and I've followed the current season intently. Well, more like obsessively. It's been a roller coaster ride, and somewhat dissapointing, but I'm still excited about every game and I still feel that the Hornets are capable of making a serious run.

So, that's me and my relationship to this team in a nutshell (a rather long nutshell though.. sorry).


I started this blog so I'd have a space to ramble about my favorite NBA team, the New Orleans Hornets. I'm calling it "another" because there are a number of other Hornets blogs that are more important than this one will ever be. For top-notch Hornets blogging, please see,, and Those are the cream of the crop. Still, if you are interested in reading and talking about the Hornets, please check in from time to time. I'll try to get some actual content up soon.