Photo by Jonathan Bachman
It would be easy to look at all the negative aspects to the Hornets 10793 loss to the Chicago Bulls tonight. You could look at the number of turnovers the Hornets committed (15) or the amount of first-half points the Bulls scored (62). Others could point to how Chicago had twice as many fast-break points as New Orleans (22 to 11) or that all five Bulls starters (and one sub) scored in double figures.
Yes, it would be very easy to look at all the negatives to tonight's game none of which are half as bad as seeing Chris Paul in a suit on the sidlines but where's the fun in that? Instead, let's look at all the positives aspects of tonight's loss:
OK, back to reality. That was a painful game to watch, wasn't it?
The Hornets have just lost four in a row for the first time all season and the first time since March of 2007 (almost two years ago). They did it by allowing Chicago to shoot their highest field-goal percentage in a game all season and the Hornets completely yielded the paint to anyone wearing a red uniform.
"We were on our heels," David West said. "Everybody wasn't ready to play, wasn't ready to compete. That hurt us."
It's never a good thing when the key run in a game happens in the first quarter; the Chicago Bulls went off on a 25-to-9 run in the first quarter that all but decided the game. In their first test since losing Chris Paul to a groin injury on Monday, you could say that the Hornets failed. But, as noted above, the Hornets did manage to do some things right. But despite coach Byron Scott's assertion that his team "for the most part played hard" and there "were a lot of positives" to take away from the game, it was evident that the Hornets sufferend from an attitude deficiency.
"We got to step it up, that's the bottom line," Scott said. "There's nobody in this league that's going to feel sorry for us."
By their own admission, Hornets players did not "step it up" in this game. Devin Brown said that "there's no excuse" to how his team started the game on the defensive end. "We didn't play defense," West said flatly (he also mentioned that the Hornets committed "way too many" turnovers). Antonio Daniels, who made his first start since leaving the Washington Wizards, said the Hornets relied too much on West.
The Hornets have hit a bit of reality. Ever since Chris Paul was drafted, players wearing a New Orleans uniform have had the luxury of seeing one of this era's great players dominate on both ends of the floor. When a once-in-a-lifetime player shares the court with you, it can become easy to overlook your own defefiencies. With Chris Paul out, those pitfalls are exposed for everyone to see. Without Paul, this is certainly not the most talented team in the league, but they're also far from the worst.
"We have more than enough in this locker room to be successful," Daniels said. "For myself and everyone else in this locker room, I wish we played tomorrow."
The Hornets, of course, don't play tomorrow. Friday against the Toronto Raptors will have to do.