Hornets In Memphis; Game On Hornets Radio Network

Friday, November 16, 2007
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

New Orleans looks to extend its winning streak to four and improve to a franchise-record 8-2 through 10 games at Memphis tonight. If you don’t have access to NBA League Pass, you can listen live on the Hornets Radio Network. The “Hornets Warmup” pregame show begins at 6:30 p.m.

While we’re on the subject of our radio broadcasts, I’ve been listening to the postgame show after the last few road games – game-night duties prevent me from doing so when the team plays at home – and I recommend tuning in for the call-in show. Fans can call in at (504) 593-4910 and sound off about the Hornets with studio host Joe Block. Recently, several fans have asked Joe about the team’s current television deal with Cox and why a handful of games so far have not been on TV.

Joe has done an excellent job of updating fans, but it probably bears repeating:
  • The Hornets’ TV contract calls for 65 of the team’s 82 games to be broadcast by Cox each season.
  • Cox announced its game 2007-08 Hornets schedule on Aug. 17.
  • Cox bases its choices on exactly which 17 games to exclude primarily on scheduling conflicts with the multitude of other sporting events it broadcasts, such as college basketball and college football.
This arrangement has been in place in past seasons as well, and explains why many of the Hornets’ games that are NOT televised occur in November and December, as opposed to later in the NBA regular season. The upside of this scheduling reality is that nearly every Hornets game during the latter portion of the campaign is available on Cox – for example, 44 of the team’s final 45 regular season games will be televised locally.

Anyway, visit this blog after the Memphis game for postgame analysis, as the Hornets try to continue their excellent start.

Also thanks go out to Graham Kendrick of Grizzlies.com for inviting me to appear on Memphis’ official site today. We’ll be returning the favor to Graham in a couple weeks when the Grizz visit the Big Easy on Dec. 7.



Five Observations: Hornets 120, Grizzlies 118 (OT)

In what was the wildest and most dramatic Hornets game so far this season, New Orleans used a monstrous 40-point performance by David West and a multitude of big plays to outlast pesky Memphis in overtime. The Hornets won their fourth straight game and improved to a franchise-record 8-2, after shaking off a Rasputin-like, late-game comeback by the Grizzlies. Memphis made three treys in the final 13 seconds of regulation to force an extra five minutes.

“It was a gutsy win on our part, but you’ve got the give the Grizzlies a lot of credit,” Byron Scott said. “They kept fighting. They’ve got some young athletes who had that never-say-die attitude and hit some big three-pointers at the end (of regulation).”

Here are five observations from the two-point thriller at FedEx Forum:

1) A career night for David West.

The 6-foot-9 power forward bested his career-high in scoring by six points, with a 40-point outing. West netted 19 points after intermission, including all six of New Orleans’ overtime points. After West put the Hornets up 120-118 with a 12-foot fallback shot over Pau Gasol at 8.3 seconds in OT, he defended Rudy Gay very tightly on Memphis’ ensuing possession, forcing Gay to come up short on a 15-footer that just grazed the rim. Including West’s game-deciding basket, he canned eight shots from mid-range or the perimeter. Overall, he was 17-for-29 from the field.

2) Chris Paul shrugs off injury in gutsy performance.

CP3 came down on a Memphis player’s foot and was limping late in the third quarter. He went to the locker room but returned to make a big impact in the fourth period. He scored 10 points over the final nine minutes, going 6-for-6 from the foul line. Paul piled up 28 points (on 10-for-21 shooting), 13 assists and five steals. One of the biggest shots of the game for Paul came with 35 seconds left in regulation, when he tossed in a high-degree-of-difficulty, left-handed bank shot from the middle of the lane to put New Orleans up 106-103.

3) Hornets extremely clutch from foul line, but still have to go to OT.

Broadcasters often say that a team holding a lead late in a basketball game only needs to make its free throws to win. Try telling that to the Hornets, who went a perfect 8-for-8 on free throws in the final 27 seconds of regulation, but still couldn’t hold on to a five-point advantage. The Grizzlies had an uncanny ability to make three-pointers whenever they absolutely had to have one. Gay drilled a 28-footer with 1.1 seconds remaining to knot the score at 114, one of Memphis’ six three-pointers in the final stanza. For the game, the scorching-hot Grizzlies were 15-for-24 from the three-point line (62.5 percent) and shot 51 percent from the field.

4) Bobby Jackson burns his former team.

After everything that transpired over the final few minutes of regulation and overtime, it may be easy to overlook the contributions of the 6-foot-1 backup guard. But the former Grizzly provided the bench with 14 of its 20 points, including burying three three-pointers in the fourth period alone. With Jackson playing so well, Scott opted to leave him on the floor in crunch time, replacing starter Morris Peterson.

5) Grizzlies bench nearly ruins Hornets’ night.

Memphis sub Juan Carlos Navarro entered Friday’s game with a total of 30 points all season. He nearly matched that figure in 34 minutes of action Friday. Navarro went absolutely bonkers from the perimeter vs. the Hornets, finishing 8-for-9 from the three-point stripe and netting 28 points, causing Hornets radio analyst Gerry Vaillancourt to describe the Spanish guard as “muy caliente.” Navarro’s eruption accounted for a big chunk of Memphis’ 55-20 edge in bench scoring. Memphis’ broadcast team of Pete Pranica and Sean Touhy questioned whether New Orleans has enough scoring in its second unit. On this night at least, the Hornets didn’t do much to disprove the Memphis TV guys’ doubts.


HORNETS OT

Periodically throughout the season, we’ll be discussing questions and comments by callers to the Hornets Radio Network’s postgame show, “Hornets OT.” Fans can discuss the team after games by calling (504) 593-4910.

Vern from Metairie called in Friday to ask this question: “When the Hornets were up by three points in the final seconds of regulation, why didn’t they foul the Grizzlies to prevent Memphis from tying the game?”

Actually, the plan WAS to foul, according to their head coach. Byron Scott said after the game that he told Peja Stojakovic to relay the message to the other four Hornets on the floor to foul the Grizzlies before the hosts could attempt a game-tying shot, but the Hornets didn’t execute Scott’s orders.

“I explained to our players (after the game) that I tried to get my point across to Peja to get the other guys to foul before (the Grizzlies) brought (the ball upcourt),” Scott said. “But we didn’t get it. I should have called timeout, so that they understood exactly what I wanted to do, and Gay probably wouldn’t even have gotten that shot. But a great win on our part, and we’re just trying to keep it going.”