Hornets head to Denver for Game 1

Friday, April 17, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets players and coaches continued preparations for their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets today, holding practice at the Alario Center before taking the team flight to Colorado this afternoon. Game 1 of the best-of-seven is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Central (8:30 local time in Denver) on Sunday.

The Nuggets were an excellent home team during the 2008-09 regular season, finishing 33-8 at the Pepsi Center. Dating back to the 1980s, Denver has often been a team with a greater-than-usual discrepancy between its success at home compared to road games, which some believe is due to the city's high altitude. The theory goes that the thin air of the Mile High City is difficult for visiting players to adjust to, causing them to get winded quickly and make them more fatigued than normal.

Traditionally, the Hornets do not travel for road games until the day before the game – not two days prior like in this instance – which begs the question: Was that due to a desire to have an extra day to get acclimated to the thin air of Denver?

“Altitude aside, it always helps to get to practice in the city (where the game will be played),” said Hornets reserve forward Ryan Bowen, one of the team’s three former Nuggets. “It helps to get there and get settled in. We’re going to be like a baseball team, where we’ll be staying in the same hotel for five days, rather than packing up and leaving.”

James Posey, who played the first three-plus seasons of his NBA career in Denver, smiled when asked if the high elevation would impact the Hornets.

“It’s just air,” Posey quipped, drawing laughter. “You can get tired anywhere. It can be a mental thing. You just have to will your way through it.”

• Throughout the Hornets’ 2009 postseason run, we expect to be able to broadcast recorded audio from team practices at the Alario Center as well as the locker room after games at the New Orleans Arena. Visit the "Playoff Audio" section that launched this morning within Hornets.com’s PLAYOFF CENTRAL page. We've posted interviews from Thursday with Byron Scott, Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler and will have many more during the playoffs.