Hornets one win from sending Scott to All-Star Game

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

It's looking more and more like Chris Paul won't be the only Hornet representing the team during the 2008 All-Star Game. After defeating Denver on Monday, New Orleans (32-12) now has a "magic number" of 1 to clinch Byron Scott's appearance as the Western Conference head coach.

The Hornets only need to win either vs. Golden State or at Sacramento to wrap up the honor for Scott. Even if they lose both of those games, the fourth-year Hornets head coach will still go to the All-Star Game if Dallas (31-13) loses either at Boston on Thursday or at Detroit on Super Bowl Sunday.

Clean sweep: Hornets No. 1 in every power poll

Are the Hornets the best team in the NBA right now? Six different websites have answered "yes" to that question over the past few days. In response to New Orleans' nine-game winning streak, every power poll we surveyed this week has moved the Hornets to the top of the list.

Time for our Tuesday look at where the Hornets stand among the 30 NBA teams in the polls:

NBA.com (1st, up 4 spots from 5th the previous week):"Maybe as impressive as Saturday's win in San Antonio was that the Hornets had a total of 14 turnovers in their first two games this week and haven't had more than 14 in a game since Dec. 12."
Hornets.com says:At 11.7 turnovers per game, New Orleans ranks third in the league in this statistic. Of course, it helps when your point guard has a 4.08 assist-to-turnover ratio, No. 3 among all players.

ESPN.com (1st, up 1 spot):"We repeat: How could you deny them No. 1? The Hornets are 11-1 in 2008 after spanking the Spurs (in San Antonio!) and have won six straight by at least 14 points. That's happened only four other times in NBA history."
Hornets.com says:Now that they also beat the Nuggets by more than 14 last night, the Hornets are in a group of only two teams. Only the 2003-04 Pistons have a longer streak (eight) of wins all by 14 points or more.

SI.com (1st, up 3 spots):"It's official. Saturday's 24-point rout over the Spurs in San Antonio – their eighth straight victory and 16th in 18 games overall – definitely makes them the NBA's hottest team. But can they keep it going this week when the Nuggets (Monday) and Warriors (Wednesday) visit the Hive?
Hornets.com says:You can check the first one off the list after a 24-point bludgeoning of Denver. Wednesday's game has all the makings of another great Western Conference matchup to watch, between two on-the-rise playoff contenders.

Dime Magazine (1st, up 2 spots):"Tyson Chandler dominates the boards every night, Chris Paul owns the assist column, but now N.O. has everyone from Peja to David West to Jannero Pargo capable of leading them in scoring on any given night. Nine straight wins for the league's hottest squad and a 12-1 record in January."
Hornets.com says:New Orleans has had six different single-game leading scorers during the nine-game win streak (David West three times, Peja Stojakovic twice, Bobby Jackson, Tyson Chandler, Jannero Pargo, Chris Paul). The last time the same Hornet led the team in scoring in consecutive games took place Jan. 5 and Jan. 9, when CP3 did it at Phoenix and vs. the Lakers.

FoxSports.com (1st, same as previous week):"Will New Orleans remain No. 1? Six of its next eight opponents have winning records."
Hornets.com says:Of the next four games, three are against teams with winning records (Golden State, at Utah, at Phoenix), but every other game prior to the All-Star break is against a club below .500 (at Sacramento, Memphis, at Chicago, at Milwaukee).

Sporting News (1st, same as previous week):"If you're surprised to see the Hornets up here with the big boys, their center, Tyson Chandler, isn't. He told the Poll on Thursday that he said before the season the Hornets would be top four."
Hornets.com says:Really, Tyson? Top four? And you said that back in October? I may need to see video documentation or obtain an eyewitness account.