Hornets.com postgame: Magic 88, Hornets 68

Thursday, December 25, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

One nice thing about the hectic nature of the NBA schedule is that teams don't often have time to dwell on subpar performances. After what took place in Orlando, New Orleans players may be happy that they'll be right back on the court tomorrow, when Houston visits the Big Easy at 7 p.m. The Hornets would just as soon forget the franchise's Christmas Day debut.

In an ESPN-televised game, New Orleans played its worst half of the season, falling behind by 30 at halftime. The Magic (23-6) drained 13 three-pointers in 28 tries, handing the Hornets (16-9) a second straight defeat. New Orleans also tallied a season-low in point production (its previous low was 79 vs. Atlanta on Nov. 5).

On a day when very little went right for New Orleans, it was almost fitting that Chris Paul's consecutive-games steals streak also came to an end, at 108. With the visitors trailing 80-55 and 10:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, Byron Scott cleared the bench, sending Paul to the sideline the rest of the way.

Byron Scott

On whether the Magic’s defensive effort hindered Hornets:
“I think that had something to do with it, but we just did a terrible job all day long. We didn’t come ready to play. I thought they were aggressive from the start. As far as the attack on us offensively, we just never adjusted to it. But, the biggest thing is we’ve just got to be a better physical team, mentally as well as physically. We have to come out and understand that against some of the teams in this league, you can come out and mess around for a little bit, but the Lakers and Orlando, and the game that we’ve got tomorrow, you can’t come out that way. That’s the bottom line. If we keep coming out that way, then we’re going to get our hat handed to us.”

On defensive scheme of opposing teams trying to make them move the ball around:
“We should want to do that anyway. We want to move the ball from the weak side to the strong side and then look to attack. I think at times we get too stagnated and teams are loading up. We obviously miss (Peja Stojakovic), there’s no doubt about that, because he’s the guy that really stretches it for us. A guy that can make shots on a consistent basis from two and three, and without him right now we just seem to struggle. I don’t think it’s not a coincidence that when he’s gone, out of these four games that we’ve played, that we’re struggling on the offensive end.”

On upcoming games:
“Again, until we get to the point, where we say, “enough is enough” then we’re going to struggle.”

On whether Jameer Nelson’s recent play opens up the floor for the Magic:
“The ultimate guy that opens it up for them is Dwight (Howard). But Jameer (Nelson) is able to get to the basket. He’s very smart with the ball. He’s got some poise out there and I think he’s finding his niche, because a lot of teams can’t go under him, because he can make shots. And if you go under, he’s getting to the basket and he’s still been able to find (Hedo) Turkoglu and (Rashard) Lewis and those guys. He has the capability of making it pretty tough on you on the defensive end.”

David West

”I don’t think we came out flat. I think we played with enough energy. We held them to 88 points and 40% from the field. We have just been having a problem adjusting to how teams are defending us. I think they really packed their defense in. They forced us to keep the ball on one side. We are not playing our offense proficiently enough. On the defensive end, you want to hold NBA teams, especially Orlando, to 88 points. We did a decent job on Dwight Howard.”

(on difficulty of coming back from 30 point deficit) “You know it is going to be tough because you have to spend too much energy in just getting back into the game just to be competitive.”
“They are good basketball team. They play well together. They have a lot of different weapons and a lot of different ways to beat you.”
“I thought they did some things that the Lakers did to us. It is obvious that they watched that game. That is coaching and a good thing in terms of their coaching staff to do that. It was effective.”

(on Chris Paul’s NBA record for steals in consecutive games streak coming to an end) “It is not something you are looking to do. I thought he was aggressive as he usually is. He just wasn’t able to come up with any.”

Chris Paul
“They played good. You don’t want to give them the Championship already but they played well tonight and shot the ball extremely well. They are at home on Christmas Day and they got us.
“They came out and were aggressive. This is a game of making shots. We held them to 40% shooting but if we shoot 33% we don’t have a chance.”
“He (Nelson) has been playing very well. He is exactly what that team needs. You have someone like Turkoglu that everyone is always gunning on, you have Dwight and Rashard, but Jameer is doing a good job of picking his spots and being aggressive.”

(On Steals streak coming to an end) “I didn’t even know it ended tonight. Half of the time when I got a steal I didn’t even know so it was going to end at some point. Why not on Christmas? I got the record now, but I think Rajon Rondo is next so he has a crack at it.”