Hornets Ranked Sixth by NBA.com, ESPN.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

A 2-1 homestand pushed New Orleans up one spot to sixth in power polls released by NBA.com and ESPN.com this week. The Hornets are eighth on SI.com’s rundown.

Time for our Tuesday look at where the Hornets stand among the 30 NBA teams in the polls:

NBA.com (6th, up 1 spot): “The Hornets have won three of four, but the injury bug has returned (Stojakovic and Peterson missed Sunday’s win over Seattle) and the next three are against teams in the top 10.”
Hornets.com says: As NBA.com mentioned, injuries have now sidelined each of the Hornets’ starters (except David West) for at least one game. The difference between last season and what has taken place so far, though, is that injuries to Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler caused them to miss only a combined three games. In 2006-07, the ailments forced West, Paul and Stojakovic to miss extended periods of time. Every NBA team experiences injuries over the course of an 82-game season, but if your top players are only out for one- or two-game stretches, it’s obviously much easier to handle.

ESPN.com (6th, up 1 spot): “The concerns about low attendance figures aren’t just business-related. Not if you believe that the empty seats have a basketball impact as well, with the Hornets just 6-5 at home compared to 8-2 on the road.”
Hornets.com says: With all due respect to Marc Stein, one of the premier NBA writers around, it’s far too early to draw this conclusion about the discrepancy in the team’s home and away records. Although the attendance numbers have been disappointing, the fans who’ve come to the New Orleans Arena over the first six weeks of the season have been very enthusiastic and loud in supporting the Hornets. n my opinion, the impact of the crowd at the Dallas home game, for example, was far greater than at any of the six home games the team played in New Orleans during the 2006-07 season. Furthermore, New Orleans’ home slate has been more difficult than its road schedule. The Hornets have already played two of the East’s top three teams (Detroit, Orlando) and two of the West’s best four clubs (San Antonio, Dallas) in NOLA. The club is 1-3 against those elite opponents and 5-2 in the other home contests.

SI.com (8th, down 2 spots): “Even without Peja Stojakovic (groin) and Morris Peterson (back strain), they held off the Sonics on Sunday to make it five victories in their last seven games. Chris Paul followed up his career-high 43-point night against the Grizzlies by racking up 29 points and 10 assists.”
Hornets.com says: With three games of 30-plus points over the past six outings, we are witnessing the best offensive stretch of CP3’s NBA career right now. The most impressive part of Paul’s breakthrough at the offensive end is that his percentages are up across the board – meaning he’s scoring more points without taking significantly more shots. It’s extremely rare in the NBA for a player to be able to shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three-point arc and 90 percent from the foul line, but the 6-foot point guard is close to doing so. His percentages right now are 48.5, 41.2 and 91.7.

Dime Magazine (10th, same as previous week): “Tough stretch this week has the Hornets at Denver, at Dallas and home for Phoenix. Or for Chris Paul, that’s Iverson, Terry/Harris and Nash.”
Hornets.com says: Depending on the availability of Peterson and Stojakovic – we’re hoping to learn more about their status at practice this afternoon – the challenge will be a significant one for Paul this week. The Hornets will try to pull off what would be an impressive feat of winning at Denver twice in the same season. New Orleans hasn’t won in Dallas since Jan. 24, 1998 and has dropped six straight to Phoenix.