Hornets Up In Polls, Ranked Sixth by SI.com

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Back-to-back wins on the weekend led to New Orleans moving up at least one spot in all four national media power polls we surveyed this week. Time for our Tuesday look at where the Hornets stand among the 30 NBA teams in the polls:

SI.com (6th, up 1 spot from 7th the previous week): “Peja Stojakovic appears to be regaining his shooting stroke in his return from back surgery. The veteran sharpshooter led the NBA in three-pointers made (49) at week’s end, including Saturday night’s game-tying shot that helped them defeat the Mavs in OT and kick off a four-game homestand.”

Hornets.com says: One of the best developments from the first month of the season has been the fact that Stojakovic is among five Hornets who have appeared in all 18 games, after he missed 69 due to his back injury in 2006-07. There has been a great deal of skepticism about his health from people I’ve talked to from other teams, but the fact that he has been on the court every night speaks for itself. Although he has been dissatisfied with his lack of consistency at times so far, he’s providing New Orleans with pretty much what the team envisioned when he was signed in 2006. His current 45.8 percent rate from three-point range is a career-best.

NBA.com (7th, up 1 spot): “The Hornets had a few days to digest an embarrassing loss to Minnesota and responded with back-to-back wins over the Hawks and the Mavs, the latter ending a monumental streak.”

Hornets.com says: Everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief that the Dallas streak will no longer be a major topic of discussion both locally and nationally. “We finally beat them, so that’s the greatest feeling for me,” Chris Paul said Saturday. “For a while there, everyone in the organization almost thought that Dallas was unbeatable. We showed that we can do it. Most of all, enough is enough. You get tired of going home after the game and watching SportsCenter, and SportsCenter puts up (a graphic) that the last time we beat them, Alonzo Mourning was on the Hornets.”

ESPN.com (7th, up 1 spots): “The Hornets’ secret to finally beating Dallas… and maybe everyone else? Getting to overtime. Strange but true: Besides going 3-1 since its recent three-game skid, New Orleans is 10-0 in its last 10 games that went to OT.”

Hornets.com says: This statistical oddity is difficult to explain, but one aspect of the team’s OT dominance could be attributed to the fact that of the 10 games, seven have been at home, including Saturday’s win over Dallas. It’s possible that a homecourt advantage helps even more at the end of close games, when the crowd can give the home team an intangible boost. The Hornets’ last OT defeat came Nov. 9, 2005, at Portland. New Orleans went 6-0 in OT games last season.

Dime Magazine (10th, up 2 spots): “Tyson Chandler broke out of his slump by hanging 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks on the Mavs in an N.O. win. Maybe it was that elbow Tyson caught in the previous game that woke him up.”

Hornets.com says: Chandler’s 21 points was one shy of his best offensive game since he joined the Hornets (he scored 22 vs. the Lakers in March). After improving significantly last season in his first year with New Orleans, he is now averaging a career-best 11.1 points. “(Byron Scott) has confidence in me,” said Chandler, who has been featured in the halfcourt offense frequently. “He works with me a lot (on my low-post game). If he sees that I’ve got it going, he’s going to ride the wave.”

Haluska Out Minimum of Six Weeks After Ankle Sprain

Hornets guard Adam Haluska will be out a minimum of six weeks after spraining his left ankle during practice today. The rookie second-round pick from Iowa has not appeared in a regular-season game yet. The team had discussed the possibility of assigning him to the D-League in order to get him playing time and game experience, but the ankle injury will keep him sidelined until at least mid-January.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder averaged 8.5 points in preseason. He paced the Hornets in scoring with 20 points during the Oct. 15 game vs. Indiana.