By Alejandro de los Rios
Win and theyre in. Its that simple: a victory over the listless Knicks would put New Orleans in the playoffs for the first time since they relocated from Charlotte. A loss and the Hornets would have to try again against a Golden State team with its own post-season aspirations (on national television no less).
But despite the Knicks dismal record, despite that they team just hired Donnie Walsh to be GM and could thus mark the end of Isaiah Thomas as head coach, and despite Birdman telling me before the game that the Hornets should blast these guys even worse than the Heat, the Knicks are not making any of this easy.
At least not for now.
The Hornets lead by just four points at the half and Byron Scott has scowled at his players multiple times. You can bet hell be doing more than that in the locker room during half time.
Statistically the biggest thing that stands out is that the Knicks are shooting almost 55% from the floor. For a team that prides itself on defense, the Hornets cant be too happy with how well the Knicks are shooting the ball.
Maybe the Hornets were looking past this team. Maybe they thought the Knicks, a team with nothing to play for, would just roll over. Or maybe the guys are distracted by the copious amount of attention the cheerleaders are getting on Honeybees night (though one would question the Knicks havent been affected). Whatever the reason, this team doesnt look like the one that just completed a 5-1 road trip and is at the top of the Western Conference.
The second half is underway, and the game is still tight. Let's see if the Hornets can wake up and start playing some defense. Maybe they're waiting for the fourth quarter. Or maybe this is just one of those nights.