News items from tonight’s preseason-opening victory over Golden State at the New Orleans Arena:
CHANDLER INJURY IS MINOR
Tyson Chandler fell hard to the floor 5:28 into the first quarter, sustaining a sprained ankle, and did not return. Byron Scott said that the injury was not severe and that Chandler could have been brought back into the game under different circumstances.
“Tyson’s fine,” Scott said. “He could’ve played, but there was no reason to play him. He’ll get some treatment and a couple days of rest. He’ll be OK.”
SCOTT PLEASED WITH BACKUP CENTERS
With Chandler sidelined, Hilton Armstrong (14 points, 6-for-9 shooting) and Melvin Ely (8 points, 6 rebounds) played 24 and 19 minutes, respectively. Scott was encouraged by the play of both backup centers.
“I thought they played great tonight,” said Scott, who alternated between Armstrong and Ely during the second half of the 2007-08 regular season and playoffs. “One thing we wanted to see from both of those guys was consistency.
“I thought Mel made himself a presence down there. The things Hilton worked on this summer, (such as) taking that jumper and knocking it down on a consistent basis, was good. (And he was effective) in the post as well. Those guys understand they are fighting for that backup spot. Hopefully they’ll continue to do that and make my decision a little bit tougher.”
Chris Paul on Armstrong: "Hilton played a great game. He knows we expect this out of him. The biggest thing for him is going to be the transition from doing it now, to doing it in the regular season."
BACKUP PG COMPETITION
Along with the backup job behind Chandler, the battle at reserve point guard bears watching during preseason. Mike James was aggressive taking the ball to the basket and finished with 12 points and five assists. Devin Brown was just 4-for-14 from the field but compiled eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. Scott also complimented sixth man James Posey in his postgame talk.
“I liked what I saw from the second unit,” Scott said. “I thought Mike and Devin played really well. Pose is Pose. He’s one of those old pros who just knows how to play. He knows the spots to get in and takes a lot of pride in his defense.”
NFL ON THE MIND
Scott has never been bashful about proclaiming his love for his favorite NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. As reporters were about to begin firing questions at Scott on Sunday night, Scott gazed to his left and saw NBC’s telecast of the Steelers’ game at Jacksonville.
“Let’s make this quick, guys,” Scott joked to the media. “I’ve got to watch my Steelers.”