Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seven games does not a season make

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2008 at 4:27 AM

click to enlarge Byron stewing


There's no question, that was an ugly as a loss as they get. The Hornets were shooting just 27% from the floor at the half, committed 17 turnovers throughout the game and found themselves down 19, 21 and 23 points at different times. For a team with championship aspirations, coming out flat against the defending Western Conference champions is not going to cut it.


Then again, there are 75 games left in the season.


"It's a long season," Rasual Butler said after the game.


Context is a beautiful thing. So when Coach Byron Scott talks about how disappointed he was with his team's effort, it's also important to listen to what he said when asked if there was anything that concerns him about his team's performance long-term.


"Not really," he said. "I know we can get our offensive game back on track. If we keep up the defensive intensity ... if we can keep doing that, the offense will turn around."


For now, it seems that the hardest thing the Hornets have had to adjust to is being in a position where they are expected to succeed. Last season wasn't a fluke and the addition of James Posey during free agency was a message to the league that this team is ready to compete right now. Unlike last year, no one will take New Orleans for granted.


"We got to come out more aggressive on offense," Butler said. "We're not surprising anybody anymore."


Poor offense is what has doomed the Hornets in their three losses. Tonight, there were mulitple instances where Hornets players stood around watching the ball and the offensive game became slow and stagnant.


"Looking around for someone to do something," is how Julian Wright described the team's play tonight. "We got to get some more movement. Especially when we're not in the groove. If one person is in the groove, we obviously cater to them on offense, but when no one's really hitting shots it takes the team to get things moving."


After they were done giving interviews, I overheard Hornets players talking about how they weren't really impressed by the Lakers. One insisted that he didn't think L.A. was that good and another seemed to agree. When talking to Butler, he assured me no one on this team is hitting the panic button.


"We'll be fine," Butler said. "We'll continue to work, you know, we got work to do. We'll continue to improve. We'll put together a nice little run."


Certainly, there is no confidence lost on this team. The Hornets have 75 more games to prove tonight was the exception, not the rule.

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