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.


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.


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.


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.


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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