Hornets Fourth In NBA.com Rankings

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Each Tuesday during the regular season, we’ll be scouring various websites to see what other writers are saying about the Hornets. New Orleans’ superb 3-0 start has moved them into the top 10 in each of the four sites we surveyed in Week 1.

Here’s a look at where New Orleans ranks in national media power polls (out of the 30 NBA teams):

NBA.com (4th, up 12 spots from 16th the previous week): “The Hornets won a battle of 2-0 teams in Denver Sunday night, the first of seven road games in a nine-game span.”

Hornets.com says: The seven-game road stretch that NBA.com refers to appears somewhat manageable, at least on paper. After winning at Denver on Sunday, New Orleans travels to face the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Memphis and Minnesota over the next two weeks. Of those six opponents, only the Lakers and Nets were projected by a majority of analysts to qualify for the playoffs this season. The Trail Blazers will be playing in their home opener Wednesday vs. the Hornets, but are one of the NBA’s youngest clubs, a group that also includes the 76ers, Grizzlies and Timberwolves. With that said, there are few “easy” road victories in the NBA. One of the keys to New Orleans’ hopes of making the playoffs will be improving upon its 15-26 road record in 2006-07.

Dime Magazine (7th, this is initial Dime power poll): “Remember, they began last season on a roll until everyone started getting hurt. We’ll find out if these Hornets are for real after they see the Lakers and Spurs this week. In the meantime, Chris Paul is playing like an MVP: 18.7 points, 9.7 dimes, 6.3 boards and 3.0 steals per game.”

Hornets.com says: We’re certainly looking forward to the matchups this week with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, to see how the Hornets fare against two of the league’s biggest stars. We may getting ahead of ourselves a bunch here, but how cool would it be if both New Orleans and San Antonio bring 5-0 records into Friday’s encounter at New Orleans Arena? The Spurs are at Houston on Tuesday, then host Miami in a Wednesday ESPN game.

SI.com (8th, this is initial SI.com power poll): “They celebrated their return to the Big Easy by making it look that way in victories over the Kings and Blazers, respectively, before their New Orleans fans. But what really has to have coach Byron Scott smiling is their pesky defense and the way they hung on to win Sunday night in Denver.”

Hornets.com says: For a team trying to work in a new starting shooting guard, a small forward returning from a back injury and several other players in new roles, the Hornets’ first two wins vs. Sacramento and Portland went very smoothly. You had to be concerned with the way New Orleans opened Sunday’s game at Denver – including a rough 14-point first quarter – but it was a testament to the team’s defense and bench that they were able to shake off the early woes and prevail.

ESPN.com (9th, up 7 spots): “The Hornets started 4-0 last season, so this is nothing new. The newsy part is how Chris Paul, as we anticipated, is already running his team with a check-me-out edge after that long-term injury absence.”

Hornets.com says: As CP said repeatedly during the offseason, he is tired of watching the postseason from home. Now in his third NBA campaign, he is determined to do everything possible to lead the Hornets into the playoffs. Through three games, he’s done pretty much everything right: He’s shooting the ball well (18.7 ppg, 52.8 FG percentage, 80.0 FT percentage), running the offense (3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio) and defending (3.0 steals per game).

Hornets Attempt To Match Franchise-Best Start In L.A.

It’s only Game 4 of an 82-game regular season, but tonight’s Hornets-Lakers matchup at the Staples Center has got to be one of the most anticipated early-season New Orleans games in quite a while. The Hornets have a chance to equal last season’s 4-0 start, which was the best in the 20-year history of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Lakers are coming off impressive wins over Phoenix and Utah, amid rampant speculation about the future of Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.

You can follow the action on TV tonight on Cox Sports Television. The telecast begins at 9 p.m. with the “Hornets Tonight” pregame show, hosted by Jordy Hultberg. The game is also available on Hornets flagship radio stations WIBR (1300 AM) and KMEZ (102.9 FM). Joe Block hosts the pregame show at 9.