Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 105, Nets 91

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets (17-12), Nets (9-21)

It was over when… New Orleans took out several starters, including Chris Paul, with less than two minutes remaining and the Hornets leading by 17 points. NOLA continued its excellence on its home floor, improving to 12-3. The Hornets are now 6-1 at home against Eastern Conference opponents, with the loss coming against New York.

Hornets MVP: Emeka Okafor was within striking distance of season highs in points and rebounds, with 21 and 10 in those categories vs. the Nets, respectively. His best output in 2010-11 has been 26 points vs. Miami and 15 rebounds at Indiana. Moments after the buzzer Wednesday, Okafor was greeted with a postgame handshake by Gary Chouest, as Okafor waited to begin his postgame Hornets radio interview.

“We’ve said this before: On most nights, Emeka is an X-factor for us,” Monty Williams said. “When Emeka is effective down low, it forces teams to defend everyone.”

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Marcus Thornton bounced back from consecutive poor shooting performances on the two-game road trip, tallying 18 points in only 19 minutes. Prior to the losses in Detroit and Indiana, Thornton had compiled back-to-back 19-point games. The LSU product went 4-for-5 on treys Wednesday, making him 9-for-15 (60 percent) from beyond the arc since his breakout game vs. Sacramento.

The buzz on… efforts to aid support of the Hornets in New Orleans. During halftime of Wednesday’s game, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu hosted a joint press conference that was attended by a large portion of the local media. Jindal stressed that discussions between the state and the NBA and Hornets management are in the preliminary stages, partly because Jac Sperling is “still doing due diligence” in terms of what specific support from the state will most help the team off the court. Jindal and Landrieu are both promoting short-term efforts to help improve attendance in the New Orleans Arena. Tonight’s game was a big positive in that area – with an attendance of 15,423, it was the second-biggest crowd of 2010-11, with only the sold-out Miami game larger.

Blog question of the night: The Christmas holiday provides a rare three-day break from game action for the Hornets. With an extended stretch of practice time, in which area should the team focus on prior to Sunday’s home game vs. Atlanta?