Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 96, Cavaliers 81

Sunday, March 6, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Update: The Hornets released this statement after Sunday's game regarding Chris Paul's status: "Chris Paul was taken from the court on a stretcher after alerting trainers of neck pain. He was fully conscious and did not lose feeling anywhere at any time. Paul was taken to the Cleveland Clinic for precautionary tests. All tests taken at the hospital were negative and revealed that Paul suffered a concussion. He rejoined the team at the arena and will accompany them to Chicago on tonight's charter. He is listed as out."

More postgame reaction from the Hornets (courtesy Cleveland Cavaliers):
HEAD COACH MONTY WILLIAMS
(On Hornets reaction to Chris Paul injury): “A situation like that is when you can circle the wagons a little bit. D West rallied the troops before we went out there and we felt like we wanted to win this one for Chris. At the same time, we played our game. We attacked the basket, guys knocked down shots, but we defended and held the team to 81 points. That made our offense a lot easier.”

(On Chris Paul injury situation): “Chris is not the type to lay down. To see him flat on the floor like that, you just forget about a basketball for a minute and start thinking about him as a person, his fiancée and kid. It’s amazing how thin that line can be at times. You just worry about your guy. He’s not the type to lay down. I talked to him on the phone and to people in the room with him, and he’s in good spirits, talking and cracking jokes in the background. We’ll see what the doctors say.”

(On Paul staying for evaluation): “We’ll see. You don’t want to take that lightly. Those are the football injuries that come back to haunt you if you’re not careful with it. We’re not going to do anything to put him in jeopardy. The doctors will let us know what we can do.”

(On team reaction to Paul): “I think it says a lot about the group, about D West and his leadership. He doesn’t get a lot of recognition for that because he’s not a rah-rah guy. Also, Jarrett Jack. I pulled him to the side and said, ‘OK, let’s go’ and we didn’t miss a beat. We’ve been dealing with stuff all year. You don’t want to deal with this though, when a guy has a potentially tragic injury. This is not par for the course for us.”

DAVID WEST
(On Paul injury situation): “We’ve just got to fight. We’ve been hit with a few different things this year and guys are going to have to step up. Jack did a good job after he went down, just coming in and maintaining what we had. Again, it’s going to take a team effort.”

(On initial reaction to injury): “I thought the wind got knocked out of him, but, when I saw he wasn’t moving, that’s when I called the timeout, just to make sure our trainer got out there. He was talking before he left the floor. We just hope that he’s OK and everything checks out. I said, ‘no letdown.’ Sometimes things like that happen and you can kind of get deflated. I thought we stayed engaged and just pushed through. We can worry about him now; we had a job to do while we were out there.”

EMEKA OKAFOR
(On team reaction to Paul injury): “It was a team effort. When one falls, everybody else has to make up for it. When Chris went down, we didn’t want to be disadvantaged. Coach said, ‘Hey men, we’ve got to win this one.’ Coach really didn’t have to say it; everybody was thinking it. I thought he (Paul) was getting up. One of the coaches was talking about coverage’s; I saw a whole mass huddling around Chris. (I wondered) what was going on? I saw the stretcher and I started to get concerned."

Hornets (37-28), Cavaliers (12-50)

It was over when... Jarrett Jack made two free throws to put the Hornets up by 18 with just under three minutes left.

Hornets MVP: A tie between David West (23 points), who carried the offense late in the third quarter, and Marco Belinelli (18 points, 9 points in each half).

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: At one stage of the fourth quarter, Jarrett Jack had outscored the entire Cleveland team 12-11. Jack finished with 14 points and canned several mid-range shots to push the lead to a significant margin.

The buzz on... a huge rally without the team's four-time All-Star. Following Chris Paul's exit with 4:36 left in the third quarter, New Orleans went on a 20-5 run, over a span of 6:47. That put the visitors in front 80-66. It was an extremely balanced performance from NOLA, with six players reaching double digits. The Hornets will need more of the same for however long Paul will be sidelined due to his concussion. There have been instances in recent years where a player has sustained a concussion and missed minimal time, but with precautions increasing throughout sports due to recent scientific findings, teams have tended to be much more cautious about returning someone to action. Jarrett Jack presumably will take over the starting role in Chicago, which would be the 209th start of his six-year career.

Blog question of the night: What's been the best trade Dell Demps has completed since taking over as GM last summer? Trades have yielded NOLA multiple key contributors in the starting lineup and the bench.