By Alejandro de los Rios
Maybe I do know a thing or two about basketball. I said the Hornets were playing sloppy, that they needed to wake up and that coach Byron Scott would likely give his team a tongue-lashing at halftime. Well, looks like someone was right.
Though the Hornets escaped tonight with a 118-110 victory over the New York Knicks, Scott said he was less that happy with his teams performance against one of the worst squads in the NBA.
"We waited so late to really start playing defense," he said. "I thought the first quarter we were terrible, the second quarter we were OK. ... I'm not real happy about the way we played."
Scott talked at length about how this type of performance is not going to cut it in the playoffs and how if the Hornets had been playing against Golden State or Utah (their next two opponents) they wouldn't have come out with the win.
So how does a coach adjust when his team comes out flat on the defensive end?
"You keep going through the rotations and the style of play you've been doing all season long and you kinda hope your guys come out of the little bit of a funk that they're in," he said. "If it doesn't happen then you go in at halftime at let them know and go from there."
The mark of a good coach is when his or her players repeat his maxim in their play and in their post-game comments. Julian Wright said that the team needs to do a better job of "imposing our will on teams" and sticking to their defensive strategy. Tyson Chandler said that, while the Hornets did turn it around in the second half, they can't expect to do it every time.
"We gotta come in with the mindset that we're conditioning ourselves for the playoffs," he said. "Because teams can't just turn it on and off."
Lucky for them, the Hornets did turn it on in the end.