Sunday, November 23, 2008

Could two wins against the Thunder turn the Hornets' season around?

Posted By on Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 4:32 AM

click to enlarge CP3 jumping


Photo by Jonathan Bachman


It seems like it's been an eternity since the last time the New Orleans Hornets  were able to have two-straight blowout wins. After dominating Oklahoma City by 25 points last night, there was no let-down, no lack of energy and no lack of focus during the Hornets 109–97 win tonight. For a team that has struggled of late to put together solid back-to-back performances, you can't understate how much these two wins mean. But don't start planning the championship parade just yet.


"I'll let you know in about a week or two," Coach Byron Scott said when asked if these two wins are an early turning point for his team. "You could say that after two games it's a little bit of a turning point, but I don't know. The challenge for us is to continue to play hard every single night."


In a sense, this a completely different team than what we've seen thus far in the season (that 3–0 start not included). The Hornets too nothing for granted tonight against a reeling Thunder team. Take note, Chris Paul notched his first triple-double of the season (29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds) and David West scored a season-high 33 points.


But there are more telling stats about the teams overall play: New Orleans had a 35–29 edge in rebounds, the bench players committed just four turnovers and the team did not trail again after taking the lead with 4:42 left in the second quarter. Not bad considering Oklahoma City played considerably better than they did last night.


 "We knew they were going to come out tougher, come out with more energy," Tyson Chandler said. "And they did it, but we were able to hold them off."


That's what great teams do: take their opponents best shot and still find a way to win. Now, with three straight road games coming up this week (against, L.A. Clippers, Denver and Portland) the Hornets will look to build even more momentum. Just think about how much three more wins will do for this franchise, the least of which being able to completely forget that mediocre start.


As Scott said, it's still to early to tell if these two games are the ones where the Hornets found themselves as a team and regained last season's swagger. But like Chris Paul said after the game, "A win is a win in this league." Two wins are even better.

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