A Pair Of Nail Biters Shake Up The Playoff Picture In The West

The New Orleans Hornets entered their Wednesday night game against the Dallas Mavericks undermanned with their leader and star Chris Paul sitting out a second straight game due to concussion like symptoms, so when the Carl Landry fouled out and Jarret Jack and Emeka Okafor each collected their fifth personal fouls, it didn’t look [...]

Rose Outplays Paul As Bulls Beat Hornets

After being down heading into halftime, the Chicago Bulls came out in the second half against the New Orleans Hornets and rode their superstar Derrick Rose to victory. Rose fueled transition opportunities, he set up his teammates and he played some pretty darn good defense on Chris Paul during the comeback and his baseline [...]

Paul, Rose To Square Off Tonight

After taking on and taking out Deron Williams (and Jerry Sloan) on Wednesday night, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will match-up against another one of the game’s elites tonight: the Hornets’ Chris Paul. Rose has already put together a strong case for the MVP award this season by lifting his team to the [...]

Carmelo’s 50 Not Enough To Defeat Rockets And Other NBA Notes

As the trade deadline nears, Carmelo Anthony is about to re-enter the spotlight of the NBA. After spending a couple weeks at the center of attention earlier in the year because of trade rumors that eventually died down, the Nuggets will likely be shopping Anthony around more than ever as the possibility that the franchise will end up with nothing in exchange for Melo at the end of the season grows larger.

But while there may be much less of a chance that Carmelo ends up staying in Denver for the remainder of the season, it’s time to start looking at the Nuggets as they are currently constructed to determine whether or not this will just be a lost cause for both Anthony and the Nuggets if they end up sticking together until the end of the year.

Denver is currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference with the same record as the Utah Jazz (30-22) but with a superior head-to-head record. This a team that beat the Heat by 28 earlier in the season (though they were without LeBron James, that’s still impressive) but also a club that got smashed by the Clippers and recently lost back-to-back games to the 76ers and Nets by the scores of 110-99 and 115-99.

Whether the Anthony drama has this team disinterested or in spite of their teammate, there is clearly something missing from this team that it had over the past two seasons when they were legitimate contenders to take down the Lakers in the West thanks to their uptempo offense and reliable home court advantage. But instead, ever since Carmelo was left to fend for himself against Utah in the post-season last year, Anthony has started to slip away from his supporting cast and the mojo around this squad is clearly no longer there – at least not consistently.

For my recap of last night’s Rockets-Nuggets game as well as every other game in the NBA last night, hit the break…

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Hornets Extend Winning Streak To Nine Games With Win Over Thunder

2010-2011 has certainly been one of ups and downs for the New Orleans Hornets. They started off the season 8-0, then regressed back to the middle of the pack of the Western Conference and with a recent 9-0 winning streak they are right back in third place of the standings.

And this isn’t one of those nine game winning streaks with a pair of games against the Warriors, a trip to New Jersey and home games against the Pacers, Pistons and Bucks. No, the Hornets have played against some of the league’s very best teams during this streak. They have three overtime victories in this stretch (over the Magic, Rockets and Grizzlies), a 41-point win over the Atlanta Hawks, a 24-point demolition of the division rival Spurs and close wins over the Bobcats, Raptors and Thunder.

Their most recent victory over the Thunder was a thriller. Not to say this was a very entertaining game from start to finish, because, frankly, the first quarter of this game was nearly unwatchable. But the Hornets and Thunder went toe-to-toe for 48 minutes, with no team creating more than a five point lead after the first period. New Orleans, who lead the NBA in points allowed per game, gave up just 89 points to Oklahoma City. During the nine game stretch, the Hornets have allowed just 96.5 points per 100 possessions, which would be the number one mark in the NBA if kept up for an entire year. What’s more impressive is that, on the entire year, the Hornets have the third best defensive efficiency in the league, trailing only the Bulls and Celtics.

The Hornets played stifling defense for most of the game against the Thunder, forcing Kevin Durant to take 18 shots to score 16 points from the field while holding Russell Westbrook to just 18 points. In crunch time, we saw what we have for many years. Chris Paul and David West took over the game. First it was Paul, knocking down a hero three to tie the ballgame and then it was West, raining in impossible jumpshots with the defense right in his face. With a minute left, following a Westbrook putback to give the Thunder a two-point lead, Paul orchestrated a beautiful play, resulting in a pinpoint behind-the-back pass to West, who promptly knocked down the 19-footer to tie it back up.

Oklahoma City actually had a chance to hold the ball for the game-winning shot but their inbounds pass with 15 seconds left was stolen by Paul. On a set inbounds play, the Hornets put the ball in David West’s hands with nine seconds left and let him isolate. He wasn’t given any room but he still managed to hit a jumper in the face of Serge Ibaka with .5 seconds left. The Thunder threw away the ball on the last play of the game and the Hornets captured yet another victory. Paul finished the game with 24 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three steals (two of which came in the final half of the fourth quarter) and West overcame early foul trouble to add 20 hard earned points of his own, eight of which came in the final four minutes of the game.

More on the Hornets and their play so far this season after the break…

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Attacking The Boards: Where The Thunder Look Young And Old At The Same Time

With 25 seconds left in the game, Kevin Durant stepped to the free throw line looking to ice the game away for the Oklahoma City Thunder. As the ball was tossed to him by the ref, Durant heard chants of “M-V-P” come down from the rafters. He couldn’t help but crack a smile.

And [...]

Solving The Hornets Lack Of Production

Chris Paul is too good to be a New Orleans Hornet.

The photo to the right encapsulates every emotion Chris Paul is feeling at the moment.

Angry and alone.

There are too many reasons for CP3 to feel this way. Peja Stojakovic bricks a three. Bobby Brown tosses up an air ball. David West [...]

2009 NBA Season Previews: New Orleans Hornets

2008-2009 Season Record: 49-33. Fourth place in Southwest Division of the Western Conference (7th in the West).

2008-2009 Team MVP: Chris Paul

Key Additions: Emeka Okafor, Darius Songaila, Ike Diogu, Darren Collison, Bobby Brown, and Marcus Thornton

Key Departures: Tyson Chandler, Rasual Butler, Antonio Daniels, Ryan Bowen, and Ike Diogu

Projected Starting Five:

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Reading the Internet

Reading the Internet” will give 3-5 links to stories, videos or pictures that are popular in the sports world for that day. The title of the article was inspired by Florida Marlins manager Freddy Gonzalez when he said “I read the newspaper…..and those others, uh, reading the internet…” in an interview on the Baseball Show on ESPN Radio.

reading-the-internet

Here are today’s headlines:

Worst Trade Of the Season: Well, now if the Rangers win the World Series, it will be tainted. Why in the world would you trade for Ivan Rodriguez? Oh, I see, it was the .251 batting average. Or maybe it was the eight homers in 93 games. [Baseball Time In Arlington]

Uh, Forget What We Said Earlier: We fully bought into the whole Bryce Harper is the Chosen One story, but as it turns out, that SI cover piece was clearly a curse. [Baseball America, Earlier: But The Game Is On]

Back to the National League It Is: John Smoltz is strongly leaning towards signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Apparently the Cardinals saw him as a Red Sox, so he won’t be starting. [ESPN]

Shaq Vs. Was Scripted: At least we know that Shaq is worse at sports than two alleged racists. [LA Times]

Where is CP3, SKEETS?: Who is the fastest player in basketball? Of the players listed, it has to be Devin Harris. [Ball Don't Lie]

Hit the jump for a video of Cubs fans dressed as bears. Continue reading…

Derrick Rose is Ready to Take the 3rd Point Guard Spot

Jason Kidd recently told SI.com’s Chris Mannix that he would not be returning to the 2012 Team USA Basketball Team, leaving a roster spot open to a point guard to back-up Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

At the Team USA Basketball Showcase, four young point guards from around the NBA were invited to try [...]