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


Photograph by Jonathan Bachman


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.


"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."


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.


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


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.


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


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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