With the Saints undefeated and going into a huge Monday Night matchup against the Falcons all on the tail end of Halloween/VooDoo weekend, it's excusable if New Orleanians overlooked the Hornets home opener (though the 17,306 in attendance would suggest otherwise). Well the Hornets did beat the Sacramento Kings tonight and stand at 1-1 on the season.
But what do we really know about this team? It's very hard to tell. Coach Byron Scott mentioned that his team was "lucky to get a win" tonight and that they still played effectively on both sides of the ball in the same breath. The Hornets were caught "bird watching" -- Scott's term when his players watch shots instead of looking for bodies to block out -- and lost the rebound battle 52-43.
Emeka Okafor, much maligned in the press because of having appeared in zero games during the preseason, turned in the performance of the night with a put-back dunk that put New Orleans up for good and two blocks in the final 15 seconds to cement the win.
"I'm very impressed," Chris Paul said of his new teammate. "The thing about him is that, no matter what, you can't take away his passion. I don't care how many days he missed, how many pre-season games he missed, he plays with a passion."
Indeed the Hornets showed flashes of passion and flashes of complacency. Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans notched 20 and 22 points, respectively for the Kings but the Hornets were able to completely shut down the rest of Sacramento's squad (save for Andrew Nocioni who scored 16).
"We're nowhere near where we should be," Scott said afterwards. And though this team is techinically off to a worse start than last season, the feeling is that this year it's just a matter of time.
Then again, when is it not?
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