Hornets roll vs. Japanese team in scrimmage

Friday, July 10, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Summer-league scrimmages tend to be about as informal as it gets in professional basketball. For instance, during one of the Hornets’ scrimmages last July in Las Vegas, one of the referees was Thomas Scott – who also happens to be New Orleans head coach Byron Scott’s son.

Though they won’t start official game action at NBA Summer League until Sunday, the Hornets competed against a Japanese national team tonight in a scrimmage. New Orleans rolled to a 139-83 victory, in a game that featured five 10-minute quarters (conventional summer games consist of four 10-minute quarters). The scrimmage was played in the Cox Pavilion practice gym.

Individually, LSU product and second-round draft pick Marcus Thornton starred for the Hornets, racking up 26 points on 12-for-17 shooting (1-for-3 from three-point range). Fellow 2009 NBA draftee Darren Collison added 10 points, 11 assists and three steals, going 5-for-6 from the field. Utah State product Jaycee Carroll followed Thornton in the scoring rundown for New Orleans, notching 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Carroll also had six rebounds and five assists.

Four other Hornets authored double-figure scoring, including Anthony Tolliver (13 points, 6 rebounds), Earl Calloway (12 points, 5 assists), Earl Barron (10 points, 4 rebounds) and Larry Owens (10 points, 5-for-5 shooting). Two-year Hornets veteran Julian Wright was in uniform and 100 percent healthy, but was held out of the scrimmage. He instead cheered on his teammates from the bench.

The 6-foot Collison provided one of many Hornets highlights in the final minute of the first quarter, picking up a steal and finishing at the other end with a one-handed, breakaway slam. The game was attended by a large contingent of Japanese media members, but was not open to the public.

New Orleans, which practiced twice a day Wednesday and Thursday, will again have two practices on Saturday. The Hornets’ first official NBA Summer League game will be at 3 p.m. Central time Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.

Hornets open summer league Sunday vs. Spurs

The first chance for Hornets fans to watch rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton compete in pro competition is a little over 48 hours away, when New Orleans faces San Antonio at 3 p.m. Central time Sunday in Las Vegas. The only way to catch NBA Summer League action this year is by signing up for NBA.com’s comprehensive online coverage of all 55 games.

The league actually starts today, with top-10 first-round picks including Stephen Curry (Golden State), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto) and Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee) making their debuts over the course of a four-game slate.

Hornets.com will have coverage of the team’s participation in summer league via this blog, as well as our Twitter account (www.twitter.com/hornetsdotcom).

Other news:

• New Orleans’ summer league roster is down to 12 players after Courtney Sims was scratched due to injury. Sims, a former Hornets training-camp invitee, was the D-League Player of the Year in 2008-09.

• As many of you know by now, Chris Paul has started a personal Twitter account (www.twitter.com/oneandonlycp3). To the surprise of no one, it has already become wildly popular, with over 8,000 followers, despite having launched only six days ago. With the rise of CP3’s Twitter account, I wanted to officially announce that Hornets.com is discontinuing the “Ask Chris Paul” interview feature that we’ve conducted in past seasons. We encourage you to follow the two-time All-Star point guard on Twitter if you haven’t already done so. Also, I sent out an e-mail yesterday to everyone who has recently submitted “Ask Chris Paul” questions, with a list of social-networking links that allow Internet users to interact with the Hornets and/or the organization. Here is the list:

www.swarmcity.com (blog about the team, upload videos)

www.twitter.com/oneandonlycp3 (Chris Paul)
www.twitter.com/RasualButler45 (Rasual Butler)
www.twitter.com/tysonchandler (Tyson Chandler)
www.twitter.com/jujubee32 (Julian Wright)

www.twitter.com/hornetsdotcom (frequent news updates from Hornets.com)

www.facebook.com/hornet.henry (behind-the-scenes photo albums)