Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
The Los Angeles Clippers are not a very good basketball team. Part of what makes good teams good is the ability to consistently beat the not-very-good teams. The Hornets have already done away with the Clippers twice this season and, if the Hornets can continue to beat teams like them (and not, say, lose to the friggin' Knicks) then they may not be in as bad shape as many have feared. But for all the good vibes that come with their 110-102 victory, the Hornets realize that this game was just a small step.
"There were steps and progress made in the game," coach Jeff Bower said. "We didn't want to get into a half-court stationary type game and we were able to do that thorugh most of the game. Some stretches we were able to get great ball movement as a result of it. The two things go together and I am very please with our progress."
Progress is the Hornets' 51-36 rebound advantage despite the Clippers having more height in the post. Progress is rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton scoring 12 points apiece with all four Hornets guards combining for 50 on the night. Progress is Chris Paul and James Posey presenting Bower with a game ball in the locker room after the game after a week in which the Hornets' point guard fumed about Byron Scott being fired. Progress is once again believing in their system.
"We came out with a different mindset, with a high-level of concentration and a different focus," David West said. "There's some getting used to different terminology, but the things that we are doing are going to give us an opportunity to win."
Jeff Bower's first win as a coach came on the shoulders of a strong effort by Hornets players on both ends of the floor and effecient ball movement on offense. After a season full of frustration with stagnant play and sluggish offensive possesions, Bower and his players may have given us a glimpse of what the Hornets may soon become.
"When we come out aggressive, rebound and move the ball, we're a prety good basketball team," Devin Brown said. "It's going to be a slow process. We just have to come every day, listen to what the coaches are telling us, execute while we are out there and we wil go from there."
Next step: Winning against teams not named the Clippers.