Monday, April 6, 2009

New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 4-6-09

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 7:50 PM

Back to back losses, sub-par performances, and wasted efforts from All-Stars Chris Paul and David West have all become reoccurring themes for the New Orleans Hornets this season. After an inexplicable loss to Jamal Crawford and the Short-handed Golden State Warriors, the Hornets were beaten 108-94 at home by a Utah Jazz team that hadn't had a road win against a Western Conference team with a winning record-that is until they came to New Orleans.

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The game was close early on and at one point New Orleans led 12-10. But by the end of the first quarter the Hornets had given up 24 points in the paint alone and were getting run out of their own gym 19-41. They had allowed Utah to put on a  lay-up drill and by halftime New Orleans was down 66-39. In the end the Hornets made a few runs and had even cut waht had snowballed into 30 point lead down to just eight.But an atrocious first half, and Paul's early foul trouble cemented the games outcome.

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As usual Paul and West showed up with double-doubles and even managed to get a cameo from Rasual Butler who had 21 points. Paul added 19 points and 12 assists to go along with West's team high 23 points and 12 rebounds-unfortunately for New Orleans, lead by Ronnie Brewer's 23 points the entire Jazz starting line up scored in double figures including Paul's rival and Olympic teammate Deron Williams. Williams posted a comparable 21 points 11 assists but like Paul sat much of the fourth quarter because fouls.

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Clearly, the Jazz have the Hornets' number.The Hornets were bested in every major category except blocks and three point percentage. Since the 05-06 season the Jazz have dominate the Hornets 11-3 and swept this season's series 3-0. But the Hornets were at home and trying to clinch playoff berth and still came out with an anemic performance.

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The Hornets are showing concerning signs at a crucial part of the season. Had they won against the Jazz, they would have assured themselves a playoff spot. Instead they have found themselves clutching to the six seed, just a half game ahead of Utah-who in the event of a tie would advance do to their 3-0 series lead. Hopefully these are just symptoms of a problem that will be remedied with the return of James Posey and Tyson Chandler-because the Hornets would be sick if they found themselves in street clothes during the playoffs.

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