Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Kings steal one from the Hornets

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 4:22 AM

click to enlarge David West loses the ball

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Photo by Jonathan Bachman

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It's possible that people should start to show concern about this Hornets team. Sure, it's still early in the season and many an NBA team has come back from slow starts to finish strong and make the playoffs. But just how many jarring losses to poor teams do the Hornets have to endure before they start playing like everyone expected them to?

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"Hopefully this is it," Rasual Butler said, his voice barely above a whisper after the game. "This one is really a tough one to swallow. You don't want to get used to that type of deal. Hopefully this is the last time we allow something like this to happen."

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The hope, of course, is that the Hornets begin to resemble last year's team a little more. The Kings came in here at 4–8 and missing three starters due to injury yet they still managed to beat a New Orleans team that has been on edge since its loss to Houston on Saturday. The loss drops the Hornets to 5-5 on the season, the first time the team has been at .500 since December 11, 2006. And while everyone at the Hive left the game stunned at the outcome, Byron Scott expressed a different emotion.

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"I'm more pissed than anything," Scott said. "Even when we came back to tie it before the fourth quarter started, I told [the team] that it was my initials, it was B.S. because of the fact that we, again, allowed them to come out real hard, get some easy buckets and then we decide we have to play harder."

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Scott mentioned that his team was playing in spurts, up one minute and down the next. To wit, the Hornets found themselves leading by as much as nine or ten points at different points in the game and then ended up being down by the same amounts.

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"If we're going to play in spurts like that, guys, we're probably gonna win 41, 42 games," Scott said. "It's going to be that type of season. We're going to be so up and down because you can't play in this Western Conference like that."

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Now the Hornets are lucky to have three relatively easy games in front of them, playing home and away against Oklahoma City (1–11) on Friday and Saturday and against at the L.A. Clippers (2–9) next Monday. But, as Scott said, there are no easy wins in the Western Conference. Hopefully for the Hornets, though, this will be the last game where they think of all the ways they could have, would have or should have won.

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