Hornets No. 5 In NBA.com, Dime Rankings

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Time for our weekly Tuesday look at where the Hornets rank in national media power polls (out of the 30 NBA teams):

NBA.com (5th, up 3 spots): “The Hornets are rolling, but beating the T-Wolves without Chris Paul is one thing. Beating the Magic would be another.”

Hornets.com says: How about beating the Magic without Chris Paul AND Tyson Chandler (in the second half)? Byron Scott was encouraged by how New Orleans performed in shorthanded mode Monday, but felt that a few mistakes cost the Hornets a chance to pick up what would have been another eye-opening early-season victory.

“I’m not into the moral victories,” Scott told the Times-Picayune’s John DeShazier after the columnist asked about the Hornets’ gritty play sans two starters. “It was a good effort, especially (while) missing those two guys, but the bottom line is we had an opportunity to win the game and made some dumb decisions and dumb plays, and eventually lost it.”

Dime Magazine (5th, up 1 spot): “We would’ve been able to learn a lot more about this team had Chris Paul (ankle) been able to play against Orlando on Monday.”

Hornets.com says: I think we still learned that the Hornets are capable of playing competitively against a very good opponent, without Paul on the court. New Orleans rallied from 21 points down to pull into the lead in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t finish off the win.

ESPN.com (6th, up 3 spots): The Hornets lost out to Orlando on Team O’ The Week honors, but they’ll settle for a 4-0 week and the best start in club history. Better yet: Chris Paul (ankle) should be back for Friday’s showdown with D-Will in Utah.”

Hornets.com says: At this point it’s not clear whether Paul will be on the floor for the much-anticipated first meeting of 2007-08 between he and the Jazz’s Deron Williams. Paul will be a game-time decision for the Indiana game.

“It’s going to depend on how he feels,” Scott said of CP’s status for Wednesday. “But it’s nothing we’re going to rush. It will be (only) our 13th game of the season, so if he has a little bit of a limp or a little bit of swelling or pain, there is no need to play him.”

Incidentally, Sports Illustrated magazine was initially expecting to attend Friday’s game in Salt Lake City to work on an article about the two 2005 lottery picks, but SI altered its plans after it opted to feature Paul in its SI Players section.

SI.com (6th, up 2 spots): “Even without Chris Paul (ankle) they downed the T’wolves on Saturday to extend their franchise-best start to 9-2. Paul has been sensational, David West (career-high 40 points in Friday’s OT win over the Grizzlies) continues to blossom, and their team defense ranks among the best in the league.”

Hornets.com says: Although it doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s often more difficult to analyze than offensive play, New Orleans’ defense has been a big factor behind the 9-3 start. The Hornets are tied for third in the league in average points allowed, at 90.8. New Orleans’ point differential is plus-7.8 (the Hornets are scoring 98.6 ppg), which ranks them third in the NBA, behind only Boston (13.2) and Denver (9.1).