Big Easy Buzz Blog - November 8, 2009

Scott announces Stojakovic will start at Clippers

Sunday, November 8, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,
In a postgame interview in Los Angeles with Hornets radio analyst Gerry Vaillancourt tonight, Hornets coach Byron Scott said Peja Stojakovic will return to the starting lineup at small forward on Monday at the Clippers (9:30 p.m., Cox Sports TV). Stojakovic will replace Julian Wright at the 3 spot, after Wright was inconsistent over the first seven games. The 6-foot-8, third-year pro struggled mightily at the Lakers, scoring two points with three turnovers in 18 minutes.

Scott added that there is “a very good possibility” that rookie shooting guard Marcus Thornton will play more extensive minutes in the Clippers game, possibly moving into the rotation. Thornton did not get off the bench tonight against the Lakers until the final 6:34, when New Orleans had already fallen behind by 22 points. The LSU product tallied eight points, including draining a pair of three-pointers. postgame: Lakers 104, Hornets 88

With the Hornets dropping four of their first six games and trying to adjust to a change in the starting lineup, the last thing they needed was a trip to face the defending NBA champions on their home floor. That’s what the schedule dictated, though, and the outcome was another discouraging result.

New Orleans (2-5) lost its fourth straight road game to open the season and hasn’t prevailed away from the Big Easy in its last 10 attempts, dating back to 2008-09 (including the ’09 playoffs). Los Angeles (6-1) built a double-digit lead early and powered its way to a 24-point edge through three quarters.

More from tonight’s defeat, the first stop of a three-game road trek:

• Devin Brown replaced Morris Peterson as the starting shooting guard, a move that led to Peterson being deactivated. Byron Scott said he made the move partly because Peterson had been unproductive at both ends of the floor and that Brown is a better defender, with a more muscular build. Brown played well offensively, leading the Hornets in scoring in the first half with 10 points. The Hornets had no answer for Kobe Bryant, though, as the Lakers superstar piled up 26 points in the first half.

• It was a dreadful shooting performance for New Orleans, which was hovering around 33 percent from the field through three quarters. No one other than Brown had made at least half of his attempts while the game was still in doubt.

• Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison were on the floor for the final six minutes and provided several positive plays. Thornton canned the first two three-pointers of his NBA career and had eight points. Collison, playing in the same city where he starred for UCLA, managed a scrappy two steals along with three assists and six points. He scored his first hoop as a pro on a double-pump layup.

• The poor start to this season has been very uncharacteristic of the Hornets, who went 4-0, 4-0 and 3-0 to open the previous three campaigns. New Orleans’ worst-ever start was 0-8 in 2004-05, a season when many of the franchise’s record lows were established.

HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES (courtesy Los Angeles Lakers)
Hornets Coach Byron Scott
On what changes the Hornets are making:
“I don’t know if it’s creative or out of the norm, and you know I did go in and the players were talking and I came and told them to bring it in and I made another change, but I don’t know if it’s out of the norm or out of necessity or whatever the case may be, but I just got to start Peja (Stojakovic) tomorrow, put him in there with CP and David (West). I thought Devin (Brown) played well. I really did. I thought he defended Kobe about as well as you can and Kobe is just unbelievable. But on the offensive end, Devin did some good things for us. I’m going to just put these guys in and rotations will probably be a little bit different too because I thought the rookies played pretty well as well tonight. And the thing I was impressed by with those two guys was just their energy. I mean they came in there – they’re probably going to make some mistakes – but they did good. They did really good. It’s something to build on. But the third quarter, again, the third quarter is killing us. It’s just two straight games where we come out and the team just kind of dominates us in that third quarter and we got to solve that problem quick.”

On some positives and negatives from tonight:
“Devin I thought did some good things and made some shots for us. He was aggressive on the offensive end. But the other guys got to be aggressive as well. We’ve got to do a better job on keeping our spacing, which means you’ve got to be patient.”

On what he wants to see from his team:
“Guys just have to be aggressive and have a lot of confidence in their selves so they can get the job done and I think we can. It’s just a matter of guys taking the initiative at times and not relying on just CP and David (West).”

Chris Paul
On the Lakers tonight:
“They’re a really good team, really good team. They beat us in all aspects of the game tonight. Kobe got going, Mbenga got going. They looked like the Lakers.”

On reversing the team’s slow starts:
“Play better. I don’t know, play better. We just got to do better. It’s a long season. We got to try to fix it. I don’t know what to say.”

On line-up changes:
“I think we’re just trying to find something that works. We keep saying it’s going to be a process. We got to find something.”

On what the team is missing:
“Defense. Defense. We’re missing our defense and our ability to score. Like I keep saying, we’re capable. So we’re just going to have to figure it out, figure out some ways to get the win. Every time we win a game, we can’t think that we solved the problem. Got to keep playing hard.”

On the team’s slow start to the season:
“You definitely want to show positive improvements and stuff like that. This is the toughest thing I’ve endured in a while. Even in my first two years in Oklahoma, we did pretty well. We kept getting better. Hopefully for this team. It can only get better. It can’t get worse.”

David West
On the Lakers tonight:
“They’re a good basketball team. They got a pretty good point of attack in Kobe.”

On the team’s slow start to the season:
“We’re struggling a little bit. We got to re-evaluate basically the style of basketball we’re playing and try to make some adjustments. We got to figure out a way to make some things a little bit easier for us. Not make everything so much of a grind.”

On the scoring production of the team:
“I think it all comes down to the way we’re playing, the style of ball we’re playing.”