Chandler will not play in Game 5

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

Within the past hour, it was announced that New Orleans center Tyson Chandler will not play in Game 5, due to an inflamed left ankle. Chandler has been largely ineffective in this series as a result of being at less than 100 percent health-wise, as well as frequent foul trouble.

The 7-foot-1 center is averaging 3.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game against Denver in the series, in 23.5 minutes per outing.

Game 5 key questions (Nuggets lead series 3-1)

A few things to watch for in Game 5, as the Hornets try to avoid being eliminated from the playoffs and force a Game 6 back in New Orleans:

1) How will the Hornets respond to their epic defeat?
No one is giving New Orleans a chance to win Game 5 in Denver, which is understandable after the Hornets were beaten in historic fashion on their home floor Monday. The Hornets have been ridiculed extensively over the past two days after their 58-point loss. They may not prevail tonight in Denver – certainly no impartial observer expects that to happen – but from a pride standpoint, the Hornets must be infinitely more competitive. A decent start is paramount, because based on their body language, the Nuggets smell blood and will try to eliminate any hope of a bounceback game during the first few minutes.
2) Who else will produce in the Hornets’ offensive attack?
Denver’s defensive strategy of swarming Chris Paul and forcing other Hornets to make plays has paid off splendidly, with several key New Orleans players struggling to hit shots. The only way New Orleans will be able to score enough to win points to win in Denver – where the Nuggets have tallied 100-plus points in 12 straight games – is for Peja Stojakovic (35.1 percent shooting in series, 35.0 on three-pointers), James Posey (37.0 percent, 30.8 on treys) and Rasual Butler (53.8 percent, an excellent 66.7 on treys) to exploit Denver’s double-team traps on CP3.
3) What can the Hornets do to prevent Denver’s game-changing runs at the Pepsi Center?
During the first two games of this series, the Nuggets kept the Hornets at arm’s length for most of the first half, before putting it out of reach with a pivotal run. In Game 1, it was a 21-0 surge bridging the third and fourth periods. In Game 2, it was an 18-5 spurt at the outset of the fourth quarter that pushed Denver’s lead from 10 to 23 in fewer than 4 ½ minutes. New Orleans must avoid having multiple possessions that result in turnovers or long missed shots, to keep Denver’s fast-break game from creating huge swings in momentum.