Roughly one-fourth of the way through the regular season, the 14-7 Hornets have won twice as many games as theyve lost, though after a recent drop-off in play and the unforeseen off-the-court news, its been easy to lose sight of New Orleans better-than-expected record.
Wednesdays 19-point victory over a struggling Detroit team was the kind of game the Hornets need to win to regain the confidence they built during their 8-0 start. Its imperative that New Orleans continues to prevail in home games, especially against opponents that are below .500. The upcoming schedule includes several of those instances over the next 30 days, with some extremely difficult foes mixed in on the docket. Oklahoma City (15-8) visits the Hive on Friday, with New Orleans attempting to even its season series vs. the Thunder.
Periodically on non-gamedays over the course of the season, well be taking a statistical look at how the Hornets whove consistently been in Monty Williams rotation are faring. Here is the first edition of By the numbers for 2010-11:
Chris Paul: 11.0
The 6-foot point guards shot attempts per game, a career-low. His previous low of FGAs per game was 12.1, set in his rookie year of 2005-06. Its worth noting that his average in this category has been trending downward, at 14.2 last season and 16.1 in 2008-09.
Marco Belinelli: 42.3
The shooting guards three-point percentage this season, a career-best. Prior to Wednesdays quality performance vs. Detroit, hed gone 2-for-9 in three recent games.
Trevor Ariza: 4
The Hornets ranking out of 30 teams in defensive efficiency. Arizas offensive stats are below par compared to the rest of his career, but hes been a huge key to the improvement at the other end of the floor. NOLA was 21st in D last season.
David West: 3.1
Difference in scoring average between Wests 18.8 and No. 2 point producer Paul (15.7). West has led the Hornets in scoring three times, but never by more than 1.0.
Emeka Okafor: 4
Times in 2010-11 the center has blocked four shots or more in a game, something he did six times in all of 2009-10.
Willie Green: 47.2
The guards field-goal percentage this season, a career-high. One theory: this may be the best team Green has played on in the NBA. Better teammates often equal easier chances to score. The 2004-05 Philadelphia club that finished 43-39 compiled the best record of any of Greens teams.
Jason Smith: 18.3
Minutes per game this season, highest of his career. When Smith started in place of an ill West on Dec. 3, it was just the fourth NBA start for Smith.
Quincy Pondexter: 16.0
December minutes per game for the rookie small forward. Thats nearly double his average of 8.2 in November.
Jarrett Jack: 44.8
Career field-goal percentage for the sixth-year pro. For whatever reason, its been a struggle to find his shooting touch so far as a Hornet, at just 25.5 percent through nine games.