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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chris Paul, David West and Peja Stojakovic lose to the Suns

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 3:59 AM

If the New Orleans Hornets were the English alphabet, Chris Paul and David West would be the vowels, Peja Stojakovic would be the letter "Y" and everyone else would be consanants. Think about it for a second. Without Chris Paul and David West (and sometimes Peja), the Hornets wouldn't even be sniffing the playoffs. The rest of the squad, the consonants, would resemble a professional basketball team, but they definitely wouldn't be complete. In a sense, the Hornets need to buy more vowels so nights like tonight -- where Paul, West and Stojakovic combine for 75 of the Hornets 100 points -- are the exception, rathar than the rule.

"We needed big time help off the bench and we just aren't getting it," coach Byron Scott said. "To win we have to have six or seven guys come out and play hard especially in the Western Conference."

All random grammar analogies aside, the Hornets need more help than they're getting. After the big three, only Rasual Butler (10 points) managed to score in double figures and yet the Hornets still only lost by five points, 105–100. Here's another way to look at it: of the 11 Hornets that saw action tonight, three recorded zero points and four others couldn't post more than six. Two or three of them made just one shot, this might have been a completely different game.

"No one really hurt us off their bench," Suns forward Jared Dudley said. "You credit them, but we played our game and offensively we put a lot of pressure on them."

And therein lies the biggest problem for the Hornets. When a team with a lot of firepower goes toe-to-toe with them, New Orleans doesn't seem to have enough to fight back. The only upside to this loss is that Scott is expecting James Posey to be back from injury by Friday. Any sort of help for the Hornets will be greatly appreciated. The only question is whether it might be too late for a tired New Orleans squad. Asked if he felt fatigued in the second half, Paul admitted that he was a bit winded after having to trail Suns guard Steve Nash all over the floor.

"I wasn't playing this many minutes going down the stretch last season," Paul said. "There was a point in the game where you get a little winded."

Granted, Paul didn't go as far as saying that he's tired or that he feels his body breaking down. He also dismissed any notion that fatigue may be an issue come playoff time -- Paul pointed to the four days' rest teams have from the end of the season until their first playoff game. But when West and Paul are averaging 40 minutes a night and bench players that usually don't see much of the floor are also getting expanded minutes, you have to wonder just how long it will take this team to completely break down.

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