Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hyperextensions and a guy named Hedo

Orlando 95 | New Orleans 88

So there's bad news, worse news, and sort of good news. The bad news: CP3 is still out due to an ankle roll courtesy of Pau Gasol. He is expected to return soon, but after last season, anything with his ankle makes me nervous. The worse news, Tyson Chandler left the Orlando game in the second quarter after hyper extending his knee. Supposedly the x-rays came back negative and there's no ligament damage, but he's still on crutches. The sort of good news: a Tyson-less, CP3-less Hornets team held up against the Magic and only lost the game in the final minute even after being down by as much as 21. Actually, that's probably better than sort of good. Our two star players missing from action and we almost beat one the few other teams with a record as good as ours (both teams were 9-2 going into the game).

After a poor start and Tyson's injury (which had the arena silent with anticipation as he rolled in agony), I had pretty much resigned myself to a loss. A dignified loss considering the circumstances, but a loss all the same. And then Melvin Ely dropped a killer dunk and the whole arena went nuts. After that, the Hornets rallied to within 10 at the end of the half. I never thought I'd see the day when Melvin Ely would ignite a rally, let alone the first real fans-equal-sixth-man level of the season. We also need to credit to Hilton Armstrong (forced out of Byron Scott's "doghouse" because of the Tyson injury) and Jannero Pargo. Pargo did for an admirable job at the point in the Chef's absence. However, despite his 18 points and 7 assists, he was still a shoot first, pass second point guard, which led to many (many) missed shots (he was something like 9 for 25). Actually, it was a poorly executed drive to the basket in the waning seconds of the game that signaled the beginning of the end. Dwight Howard (aka A GIANT MONSTER) promptly send the ball back into the floor boards, which was then followed by a 3 pointer by Rashard Lewis. After that, our 2 point deficit equaled 5 and he we had to start fouling. Game. Set. Match.

Give some credit to the team, though. They held their own even when the\y were horribly mismatched, and they played well together without their normal leadership. Good things are coming for this team. (Bad things are coming for Orlando, though. The fire in Chris Paul's eyes as he sat courtside in a suit were screaming, "I can't wait until April first when we show up on your turf and I run laps around Jameer Nelson, and Tyson trips up Howard by asking him to spell the word basketball". His words.)

I will not be in town for the Pacer's this Wednesday, but I will cover that game and the road games over the weekend at some point. Perhaps when I'm bloated and lethargic from cranberries, tryptophan and stuffing. Have a great Turkey Day.

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