Saturday, January 31, 2009

The look on David West's face says it all

Posted By on Sat, Jan 31, 2009 at 6:07 AM

click to enlarge D-West is pisssed


Hornets fans will surely rack their brains over tonight's 91–87 loss to the Golden State Warriors. They'll wonder how it is that the Hornets could be held to just 35.9% shooting against a 15–32 team or how is it that they could go 5-of-21 from three-point range. Skeptics will no doubt point to this loss and line it up with other Hornets' losses to sub-.500 teams this season as a reason to say that New Orleans is not a championship-caliber team.


The Hornets players and coaches, though, aren't thinking about all that. Sure, no one in the Hornets locker room after the game was happy with the outcome — Byron Scott said "this leaves a bitter taste in our mouths" — but it's not like players were on suicide watch. It was a disappointing loss, no doubt, but tomorrow's game against division-leading San Antonio is much more important. So, did the Hornets overlook Golden State?


"I hope that's not what we did," Scott said. "I hope that we've gotten to the point where we're more mature than that."


David West, seeing his first action after missing the last five games with back spasms, insisted that the Hornets did not have a mental lapse against the Warriors. In his opinion, the Hornets lost because the Warriors presented matcup problems for the Hornets.


"We struggle against teams like this that play kind of unconventional," he said. "They don't really play a traditional lineup. We've really struggled against teams like this."


Of course, West meant that the Hornets struggle against small, quick teams that like to run the floor. But he could have just as well been talking about how the Hornets have struggled against losing teams this season. Tonight's loss marks the fifth time this season that New Orleans has lost to a team that was under .500. To make matters worse, this was the first time that Golden State has won on the road against a winning team.


For those looking to toss around some blame, you can certainly leave West (12 points, 15 rebounds) and Chris Paul (game-high 31 points, eight assists, and three steals) out of the conversation. Paul did have six turnovers, but four of them came early in the first half. New Orleans simply did not play the high-intensity defense that they're known for. On several occasions, Hornets players were out of position, leaving Warriors players to make wide-open jumpers.


"We did an aweful job as far as moving," Scott said. "Moving the ball, moving our bodies, we just tood around and we kind of reverted bacy to what we wer doing a couple of months ago."


A couple of steps forward then a couple of steps back; it's been the story of the Hornets all season. With the All-Star break just 12 days away, fans should start worrying about whether the problem with their team isn't why they keep losing to bad teams, but why the Hornets haven't figured out how to play like a great one.

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