Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 108, Cavaliers 101

Friday, November 19, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets (10-1), Cavaliers (5-6)

It was over when… Chris Paul made a pair of free throws to give New Orleans a seven-point lead and a three-possession margin with 7 seconds remaining. Cleveland missed on a three-point try just before the buzzer, wrapping up New Orleans’ seventh straight home victory. The Hornets continued to build on the best start in team history, improving to 10-1 for the first time in 23 years of basketball.

Hornets MVP: In a sign of the balance that has typified New Orleans in the first month of the season, no player had scored 30-plus points through the first 10 games. Emeka Okafor’s 26-point game vs. Miami had been the overall season-high, prior to David West’s 34-point outing tonight against Cleveland. West was equally dominant early and late, tallying 16 points in the first half and 18 after intermission. West's previous season-high had been 25 points, but the Cavaliers defended him one-on-one much more than other opponents have.

"I was able to get three or four dribbles at a time," West explained. "That's not something I've been able to do. When I'm not getting double-teamed, I try to take advantage of it."

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Willie Green contributed again in various categories, finishing with eight points, three rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes. This was also one of Jerryd Bayless’ better performances as a Hornet, resulting in eight points in 14 minutes. Bayless entered the game at just 32.6 percent from the field but went 3-for-6 against the Cavs.

The buzz on… the Hornets’ upcoming four-game road trip. Although the first 11 games have been extremely challenging from an opponents’ standpoint (9 of 11 games vs. playoff teams from ’10), travel-wise it’s been very accommodating. Of the four road games New Orleans has played, they’ve all been what are commonly called “up-and-backs,” meaning in each case the Hornets were able to return home immediately afterward. That unusual scheduling trend ends this week, when New Orleans will go from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to Portland over a six-day span.

The Hornets will depart for California on Saturday afternoon and will be gone until arriving back in NOLA in the wee hours of next Saturday morning, Nov. 27. Paul said after tonight's game that one of his goals will be for the Hornets to focus only on the next opponent (Sacramento), instead of the trip in its entirety. “It’s my job not to let us (place our attention on anyone besides the Kings),” Paul said.

Asked whether success on the trip could validate what New Orleans has done so far, West said it’s not part of his thinking: “We’re not worried about many folks outside this locker room.”

Blog question of the night: The most successful season in Hornets history took place in 2007-08, under current Cleveland head coach Byron Scott. Under Scott, New Orleans went from 18-64 in his first season to 56-26 and a Southwest Division crown three years later. What’s your favorite memory of the Scott Era, which was from 2004-09?