NOLA rises to sixth in ESPN.com poll

Monday, January 31, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com



Despite back-to-back narrow defeats in Sacramento and Phoenix, New Orleans actually moved up in one of the NBA power polls surveyed this week. The Hornets went from seventh to sixth in ESPN.com’s rankings, which are compiled by writer Marc Stein, perhaps as a result of them not losing a game between Jan. 7 and Jan. 29, during a team record-tying 10-game win streak.

In terms of the Western Conference race, the pair of losses pushed the Hornets down to the fifth-best record, after they’d been as high as third place. New Orleans (31-18) remains within striking distance of the Lakers, Dallas and Oklahoma City, heading into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. home game against the Washington Wizards. Although the Hornets’ lengthy winning streak came to an end on Saturday, they still own a five-game string of success in the Hive, dating back to a Jan. 5 defeat to Golden State.

Our weekly glance (usually on Tuesdays, but moved up a day due to tomorrow’s home game) at where the Hornets rank in national website polls:

NBA.com (7th, same as previous week): “The Hornets are the latest victim of the NBA.com jinx, as their 10-game losing streak came to an end with a pair of narrow losses after we pointed out how great they've been in close games. Sunday's loss in Phoenix was one of the wildest finishes you'll ever see, capped by a controversial non-call.”

ESPN.com (6th, up 1 spot from previous week): “After a 10-game winning streak in which it held opponents to 86.8 ppg and became the only team in the league that can claim to possess two wins over the Spurs, I suppose we can pardon one bad night in Sacramento.”

SportingNews.com (8th, down 1 spot): "They closed their three-game road trip with back-to-back losses, but they play three of their next four at home.”