When we last saw the Heat in New Orleans, the Hornets were in the middle of a lackluster preseason campaign that left us with more questions than answers. I don't think anyone (me included) expected New Orleans to get off to such a hot start coming into likely their biggest early-season, non-division/conference game of the year.
The Heat are being followed very closely by the sporting press (so much so that Deadspin has dedicated a blog post for every game) and tonight will be no exception. As you may recall, it was James managed to drag CP3 into this drama-laden off-season and Hornets fans were pulling their hair at the prospect of their once-in-a-generation point skipping town for greener pastures.
Now? Well coach Monty Williams seems to be pushing all the right buttons and the Hornets are undefeated facing a Miami team that had been absolutely wiping the floor with teams not named the Celtics. Surely, this is the Hornets biggest test so far, but the season remains very young. If the Hornets win tonight, not only will it be a big stepping stone for a team that still coming together, it may prove that New Orleans may have itself a legitimate NBA playoff contender. If they lose, it will prove that the Hornets are just like every other team not named the Celtics.
Hornets fans, though, need not stress out about tonight's game. There is little expectation for the Hornets to win this one but, though CP3 and James are close friends, they are also extreme competitors. You can bet Paul will bring his usual fire to this match-up and that his teammates will have his back.
Whether or not that will be enough to even keep tonight's game close is anybody's guess.
(For an in-depth preview of tonight's game, check out Hornets247.com)