Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Hornets let a great comeback slip away, still not as popular as the Saints

Posted By on Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 4:45 AM

click to enlarge Emeka blocked

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Photograph by Jonathan Bachman

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After coming back from a 15-point third quarter deficit and having the lead with less than 10 seconds left in the game, the Hornets seemed poised to ride their home-court magic to another improbable victory. Then one bad David West pass and one bad Darren Collison turnover spelled doom for Bees as they fell 108-106 in overtime to the resurgent Chicago Bulls.

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"That one's on me," the rookie Collison said after his turnover sealed the Hornets fate tonight. "I let my team down. Definitely going to lose sleep on that play."

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Granted, Collison's turnover came at the worst possible time and prevented the Hornets from even attempting a game-tying shot, but there were many other factors that contributed to this loss. For one, the Hornets could have called a timeout before Collison dribbled wildly into the opposing defense. Secondly, New Orleans could have come out of the halftime break a little stronger than they did before giving up a 15-point lead. Most importantly, the Hornets would've won if they weren't so sloppy.

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"We weren't real sharp in the first three quarters," head coach Jeff Bower said.

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If there's any positive to take from this game is that the Hornets shot just 39.4% the entire game and were outscored 60-36 in the paint, yet still only lost by two points. This on a night where the Hornets PA system did everything it its power to channel the Saints' good vibes by playing the Ying Yang Twins' "Get Crunked" and showing black and gold-clad fans as often as possible in the fourth quarter.

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"We gave ourselves an opportunity to win," Chris Paul said. "We made a few mistakes there at the end."

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No, the Hornets are most definitely not the Saints right now and, yes, they have a long way to go to before becoming a team that can be relied on to consistently win these types of games. But what have the Hornets done to have their fans expect anything else this season? At 25-21, New Orleans is just good enough to compete for the eighth and final playoff seed in the West. Against a 23-22 Bulls team doing just the same in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets came up short. The question is whether this is a reflection of the Hornets season as a whole, or just a bump in the road on this teams' road to finding itself in the winner's circle.

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