Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 103, Pacers 100

Monday, January 19, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

The All-Star power forward was out with back spasms. The starting center went down in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Chris Paul had five fouls. Add it up, and New Orleans definitely did not want to see an overtime period today.

Paul made sure there wouldn't be an extra five minutes, swishing a high-degree-of-difficulty three-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Hornets a narrow victory over the Pacers.

“I wanted no part of overtime,” Paul said. “Peja (Stojakovic) said he didn’t (either). So it was really good to be able to win it in regulation.”

Paul caught James Posey’s inbound pass in the middle of the floor, dribbled right and fired up a high-arching 24-footer over an Indiana defender. “I wanted to try to get to the basket, but the Pacers sort of cut that off,” Paul explained.

David West did not play after experiencing back spasms Monday morning. Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler sustained a severe left ankle sprain in the second quarter and did not return (read more from Chandler below). His backup, Hilton Armstrong, also left due to injury, with a sore left knee. They are all listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. New Jersey.

“I think this win shows the character of our team,” Paul said. “Melvin Ely came in and gave us a huge boost. It showed the depth of our team and what it could possibly be.”

Paul said it was the first time in his career – at any level – that he made a game-winning shot with no time remaining, having previously made game-winners with one second or so left on the clock.

Given the injury situation of the Hornets’ frontcourt, Paul joked that when he heard Byron Scott had canceled Tuesday’s scheduled practice, it was because Scott needed time to find some replacements.

“We’re going to hold open tryouts,” Paul said, grinning. “Anyone over 6-foot-8 who lives in the city (of New Orleans) can come and try out to be a Hornet.

“This is definitely going to be a challenge,” Paul continued, discussing the possibility of being without Chandler and West this week. “But it’s going to give other guys a chance to step in and see what they can do.”

Once again, the Hornets.com crew, including yours truly, chatted live with fans during the Pacer game. Visit our Courtside Live chat page for more info on home games and stop by Wednesday during the Hornets' next home tilt, vs. New Jersey.