A three-game losing streak dropped the Hornets down a few pegs in the league standings. New Orleans’ skid is also reflected in the national power rankings we surveyed this week, as it fell either two or three slots in every list.
Time for our Tuesday look at where the Hornets stand among the 30 NBA teams in the polls:
CBS Sportsline (6th, down 3 spots from 3rd the previous week): “Bad news: The Hornets have lost three straight for the second time in a month. Good news: They’re still just 1 1/2 games out of the conference lead.”
Hornets.com says: More good news: the last time New Orleans sustained three consecutive defeats, it responded with a five-game winning streak.
NBA.com (7th, down 3 spots): “With a rough schedule, the Hornets are 5-5 over their last 10. Their defensive rating is an ugly 116.7 over that span, up from a terrific 103.9 over their first 44.
Hornets.com says: This is definitely a concern. However, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint why the defensive statistics have taken a tumble recently – the three-game road trip at the beginning of February was a killer. New Orleans gave up 112, 110 and 130 points in games at Sacramento, Utah and Phoenix.
ESPN.com (7th, down 3 spots): “Expecting the Hornets to fade yet again? It’s true: New Orleans closes with 14 of its final 21 games on the road. Just don’t forget that these guys, still the NBA’s best away team at 19-8, might actually like that.”
Hornets.com says: New Orleans and Orlando are the only teams in the league that currently have a better road record than home mark. The Hornets are 18-10 at home, but 9-3 in their last 12 at the Arena after a 9-7 start there.
Dime Magazine (8th, down 2 spots): “After riding high from beating the Mavs in J-Kidd’s debut, the Hornets got spanked by T-Mac/Yao and Manu/Duncan, then let one get away against the Wizards.”
Hornets.com says: I don’t know if “spanked” is the right word for the nine-point Spurs loss, a game that was tied with seven minutes left. Saying the Wizards defeat “got away” is pretty accurate though, after the Hornets held the lead for nearly the entire game.
SI.com (9th, down 2 spots): “The All-Star hosts must have been tired coming out of the break as they dropped games last week to the Rockets and Spurs. Maybe this week’s visits from the Suns (Wednesday) and Jazz (Friday) will get them going again.”
Hornets.com says: There’s no reason to make excuses about fatigue from hosting All-Star 2008. The fact is the Hornets lost to a red-hot Houston team – which will now be without Yao for the rest of the season – and the defending champion Spurs. They need to avoid losses like Monday’s but you will see a few of those over the course of an 82-game season.