Hornets Ranked Fifth By SI.com

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

A five-game winning streak ended Monday night for the Hornets against the Raptors, but not before New Orleans moved up in every national media power ranking we surveyed this week. Time for our Tuesday look at where the Hornets stand among the 30 NBA teams in the polls:

NBA.com (7th, up 1 spot): “Last week, Tyson Chandler blogged that he wanted his team to get to 20-10. Well, they’re there, and the next two games are very winnable too.”
Hornets.com says: Obviously, of those two games NBA.com referred to, the Hornets lost one of them, to Toronto. Chandler correctly projected that New Orleans could run its winning streak to five by beating Memphis, Charlotte and Cleveland, prior to the New Year’s Eve loss to the Raptors. The January schedule is the most home-heavy month of the Hornets’ season, with nine games in the Big Easy and five on the road. From a short-term perspective, this week’s three-game West Coast trip includes stops at two places that are pretty difficult road venues, Golden State and Phoenix. On paper, the home slate in January appears to be manageable, with five of the first seven tilts in the Big Easy involving an opponent playing sub-.500 ball.

ESPN.com (6th, up 3 spots): “With five W’s in a row by an average of 18 points, Paul’s Hornets have tied the best 30-game start in club history. So we presume that the schedule makers are already resolving to get him on national TV more in 2008.”
Hornets.com says: It would be great to see the club up its sellout tally to three over the next 10 days. Two of the NBA’s marquee opponents, the Lakers (Jan. 9) and Miami (Jan. 11) will visit the New Orleans Arena in the Hornets’ next two home games. The latter game against the Heat will be televised by ESPN and remains the Hornets’ lone nationally-televised game on the 2007-08 docket – at least as of right now. There still remains the possibility that ESPN or ABC could add New Orleans games to their broadcast schedule (TNT is not an option, because the Hornets do not have any games scheduled for Thursdays, when TNT televises its weekly doubleheaders).

SI.com (5th, up 3 spots from 8th the previous week): “They shut down LeBron James and the Cavs on Saturday night to make it five straight and tie the franchise record for best start through 30 games (20-10). Even more amazing, they got their first sellout of the season. Maybe some of those 17,623 fans will see they’ve got a pretty good team.”

Dime Magazine (9th, up 1 spot): As much press as Chris Paul (21 ppg, 10 apg, 3 spg) gets, N.O.’s Big Three isn’t very hyped-up. Tyson Chandler (11.9 rpg) is owning the glass as usual, and David West was putting up 21 points and 10 boards over the Hornets’ recent five-game win streak. And in Monday’s loss to Toronto, he went for 33 and 11.
Hornets.com says: The accolades for Chandler and West will be coming soon if New Orleans continues its excellent play in the first half of the regular season. Chandler actually experienced one of his least productive recent games Monday, with five points, six rebounds and six fouls. It was only the third time in December that he did not register a double-double. Meanwhile, West has been one of the NBA’s most prolific power forwards of late, averaging 24.4 points and 10.4 rebounds over the past five games. This recent stretch has been the best he’s played at the offensive end since the final week-plus of the 2006-07 regular season.