Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Calm before the Storm

New Orleans 107 | New Jersey 96
[league standings]

It took the Hornets 30 minutes to get their first lead in this game. It turns out, you play to the level of your competition. The game blew open after that. CP3 put up another MVP-like stat line with 24 points, 16 assists 3 steals, and 1 turnover, not mention a perfect 11 for 11 from the stripe. In case, anyone's keeping track, Paul's averaging slightly less than 2 turnovers per game (in an average of 36.5 minutes) since the All-Star break... at the point... just saying.

Unfortunately David West was still out with an ankle injury (and remained out for the ensuing game in Houston). This did give JuJu a chance to follow up his brilliant performance from Wednesday's win against Atlanta. And JuJu delivered. He dropped 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals in 29 minutes on the court and missed only one of his shots from the field. It's actually been quite exciting watching JuJu play for the last few days. We all knew he was going to be good, but we've had to endure Byron's strange aversion to giving rookies playing time (CP3 was the only exception to this trend). Wright is extremely aggressive and handles the ball extremely well. Despite being able to penetrate the lane, he could probably use a bit more poundage on his frame. Not a lot, but enough to give him an edge against bigger forwards (especially if Byron is going to swing him over to the 4).


There's nothing like a four game trip to the East to boost your confidence. Of course, I'm sure Washington has something to say about that... but we're just going to ignore them.

Today, we are starting a rough three game stretch: Houston (on a 17 game win streak) followed by San Antonio and then the Grand-Theft Spaniards (the 1 and 2 seeds in the West). Every team in the West has a crazy schedule right now, but this stretch seems especially tough. I'm not complaining. This is exactly what the playoffs will be like (every game counts, every game is important), and it'll be good to see how we hold up under a the pressure of a few heavy matchups. However, next week the seeding in the West could go topsy-turvy and we could be heading to the lottery with 50 wins under our belts. That's actually a gross exaggeration, but I'm still terrified.


Bummer. We just lost to Houston. The Hornets kept it close, but the Rockets drained 14 treys and just plain shot the lights out in general. New Orleans didn't go quietly (CP3 dropped 37 points and 11 assists), but everyone looked a little off-kilter all night. It's a bummer of a loss since it means that the Rockets have now tied the Hornets in the standings (at 42-20) and, since they have the tie-break (2-1 against us), they now own the 3 seed in the West.

Of course, having any discussion about seeding in the West is just silly. We'll save that for April. See you Wednesday.

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