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Archive for the ‘ CP3 for MVP ’ Category

These are Evil Trade Destinations. Do not leave me sad notes saying I’m mean. Evil is mean.

Charlotte Bobcats – They play the Miami Heat on a regular basis. “Oh, hey friends! Isn’t it awesome to have us all together here tonight?…… Oh……… WTF…. Why you gotta beat me down like that? I thought we were all friends?”

LA Clippers – He and Baron Davis can fight it out for the starting point guard spot. And for bragging rights over whose “Exit Strategy” from New Orleans went better.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Kahn (rubbing hands together with a maniacal grin): “Excellent. This will be the prime piece in my ultimate point guard collection. I will keep it on the top shelf, with my Darko bobblehead and the Chris Webber fingernail clipping I am saving for the voodoo doll.”

Indiana Pacers – All the mediocrity and small-town feel of New Orleans, but cold!

Golden State Warriors – Nellie: “WHO MADE THIS TRADE? This will never work. What do you mean I have three starters who are not 6-8 power forwards? Everyone knows you are supposed to have at least four 6-8 power forwards running the floor at. all. times! Who’s my GM? Who are all these midget guards? Where am I?”

Disclaimer: This has all been tongue-in-cheek. It is a joke. Hornets Hype does not in any way, shape, or form endorse the trading of Chris Paul. If anyone has an Evil Trade Destination they’d like to add, by all means drop it in the comments!

Save Us

By on March 21, 2010

Chris Paul warms up Thursday before the Denver game

Chris Paul warms up Thursday before the Denver game

I give up. Just come back, Chris. We need you. I know it’s too late for the playoffs. I know, wah wah wah, every game we win we could drop a spot in the lottery (oh no! the difference between the 12th and 14th pick might mean the destruction of the franchise’s future!). But do this for the fans.

Give us something to watch. Even if it’s just one last week or two of something great.

Update: How imminent is imminent? Monday night or Wednesday night?

Update to the Update: Planets crash. Worlds end. DeShazier and I agree 100% on something.

After that amazing overtime win last night… after winning 8 out of 11 on the road in January… after the way the team came together and showed all that fight… after scrapping and clawing back into a playoff spot…

I give up.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ys-paulsurgery013110&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Please feel free to commiserate in the comment thread, and I shall join you when I come down from this ledge. Which may not be … ever.

Well, that should get Google’s attention. Maybe even someone who follows basketball. Apparently, my breakdown of how Chris Paul’s numbers last season gave him one of the most historic point guard seasons ever, and which, incidentally, blew away Steve Nash’s two MVP seasons, is forgotten.  Some people, who don’t believe in small markets, are convinced the Hornets will finish no better than 7th this year, and that CP3 does not even get consideration, let alone a single vote, in the MVP category, though Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant do.  Crazy.  And people wonder why I disappear in the offseason.  People are so fucking ridiculous that they forget what the sport of basketball is and/or are so fucking bored that they just invent stories to keep themselves occupied.  Oooh… Stephon is insane, Rubio won’t come over, C.J. Watson only took a one year deal?!  Whatthefuckever.

CP 4 MVP

Listen.  It’s not rocket science.  If you’ve ever watched basketball, it’s pretty fucking obvious that Chris Paul is a once-in-a-generation talent.  Quick, name the best players in the NBA.  If you didn’t say CP, Kobe, and one other person, then you’re a moron.  Yeah, yeah, freedom of choice, opinion, etc.  All that also includes the freedom to be wrong, to be a moron, and just plain ignorant.  Congratulations.  Sometimes I wish this country was a totalitarian state and they made everyone worship the players who had talent and heart (yeah, I’m talking to you Vince Carter), rather than just those that get the most attention.  At least it’d be a little more honest.

Sorry if I don’t drop to my knees and worship the capitalist propaganda that would make us believe the Knicks deserve a championship when they haven’t even put forth a team that resembles a professional unit since Allan Houston played for them and don’t bask in the glow of yet another Celtics-Lakers matchup when there are are 30 teams in the league with 30 equally laudable fanbases, or for that matter, drool at the mere mention of the “Chosen One”—a.k.a. the Nike whore or whoever makes the sponsors figure will make them the most money (um, Dwayne Wade?).  Call me an elitist, call me a purist, yeah, like those are bad things, but I appreciate the game of basketball.  I’ll follow the talent like Deep Throat said to follow the money.  And the media is complicit.  Already they’re putting it again as Kobe-LRJ for MVP and Celts-Lakeshow for the ring.  Fucking sad.  Unprecedented parity and they mouth the same shit?  Dimemag is one of the few that gets it.  They ask the hard questions.  Steve Nash (no offense, dude, I love your game), and Duncan (ditto) both have two MVPs, and Shaq one?  What the fuck?  Dime thought that weird.  Me too.  But I digress.  Dime also noticed that no one has truly appreciated  CP3‘s greatness.  That the rest of the country isn’t onboard makes me want to drop a bunch of downers chased with beer like Hunter S. Thompson and go on a shooting spree.

But why cry over spilt media milk?  That’s just how it is today, money, money, money.  No one cares about the truth or the purity of existence that is exemplified by the beauty of physical perfection, which is exactly what excellence in sports is.  Forget that Chris does things that no one has, probably ever, other than Magic, Johnny Stock, and the Big O.  That’s okay.  People can forget.  And then the season will start.  And then you’ll all remember why they called him the Baby-Faced Assassin, the Grief Merchant, or the guy who could talk about Fight Club.  Call him what you will, or ignore him if you will; I’ll be watching, though, and I’ll call him what he is: a warrior, a winner, and the-real-MVP, and someday soon, an NBA Champion.

And it will happen in New Orleans.  And people will wonder why they don’t know more about him.  They’ll wonder what inane thing they were doing when Chris Paul did ______ because their TV station didn’t carry that game.  You really want to know what “amazing” is?  Just watch CP do his thing.

Until then, pretend that someone else deserves the headlines.  Pretend that some other player should be the league’s MVP.  When the truth is he can do things that no one else can, is a leader like few others, and who will continue to smash records on his way to greatness.  I know where I’ll be when it happens.  Do you?

I present:

List of ESPN Writers Who Did Not Include Chris Paul in Their Top 5 (TOP. FIVE!!! Not three. FIVE.) MVP Ballot

1. J.A. Adande

2. Jon Barry

3. LZ Granderson

4. Chris Sheridan

5. Mark Stein

They polled 18 of their writers. Five out of 18 didn’t even think Chris Paul was in the Top 5. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s 28% of ESPN. Just for some wacky fun, here’s what the Top 10 PER looks like currently:

PER

And yet THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE STAT even put him fourth. WTF!?!$^%@#*&@#$O!! (I’m sorry, I spontaneously died on my keyboard.) You know, I’m over it. I really am. But I guess the question I am really raising, and oddly enough, it’s the same question Kelly Dwyer over at Ball Don’t Lie raised this morning and it is a good one (regardless of what he thinks of the rest of our underachieving team), is why exactly are we going to these people any more as a source for our sports news and commentary?

“Well, what is it about, then? I’ve been obsessing over this game for years … what the hell am I missing? What am I not getting? What is everyone else seeing that I’m not seeing? How could anyone rank Chris Paul out of the top two or three players in this game anymore? Why aren’t these people laughed at when they trot out Kobe or Dwight Howard or … Chauncey Billups?!? … To say that this guy isn’t even in the top five? And these are the people with votes. And these are the people who shape the way you view the game”

There is a point where it just doesn’t make rational sense. And I have pretty much reached it.

So why am I still arguing about it? I don’t know. I’m just sad for Chris. I’m sad on behalf of all the non- die hards who may only watch general sports news outlets like ESPN and therefore don’t know what they’re missing. I’m sad for the city of New Orleans, because just like the rest of us, the adopted son who bears our name on his jersey continues to be an afterthought.

Chris Paul sucks.  27-8-8.  Can’t even get a triple double.  Only 2 steals and only 7-7 from the free throw line.  Only led the team to victory over the woeful Warriors, and let them crawl back from the -20 they were all game to lose by ten.  Horrible.  I can’t believe Hornets fans want him mentioned in the MVP conversation.

cp3-001Psych.  Chris Paul = Where Amazing Happens.  I really can’t sum it up better than a friend of mine, Alden, who turned to me after the first quarter of the Lakers game, and said straight-faced, “that Chris Paul is a wizard.”  Right?  CP does seem to routinely defy the laws of physics.  How better to put it?  Incredulously, though, no one calls CP “the Wizard,” “the Little Wizard,” or anything similar.  So how to describe his play?

I mean, most great players have some kind of nickname, right?  We know this much, Chris is often referred to as CP3, or just CP.  Sometime last year, the nickname was coined “Baby-Faced Assassin.”  Not bad, but ever since I’ve seen Kevin Martin play (who, by the way is not “K-Mart”, that one’s already taken, thank you very much), I have trouble calling Paul “baby-faced.”

Luckily, some of our Chinese friends over at Hoop China helped us out. You may recall that during the Olympics, the commentators talked about the Chinese giving several marquee NBA players nicknames.  While, at that time, they reported Chris didn’t have one, we’ve learned since this is not true.  The following comes from HornetsHype poster, Jonas:

[The Chinese] call CP3 “little baby” cause his last name Paul…sound[s] like chinese word “baby”, and he’s so lovely that we call him “little baby”.  We also call CP3…“King of hornets”…we finally call him CP3 as you guys in US. But also we call him…“black ghost”, “small cannon”(Paul also sound[s] like Chinese word cannon), [and] “sun of hornets” (The King is also the sun of hornets).

Also, from HornetsHype poster, Lucialanlan:

 

CP’[s] other nikename is “pineapple”, in Chinese, pineapple is called boluo, Paul’s Chinese name is baoluo,and CP3’s fans [are] also called boluomi,which means pineapple fans.

 

Great stuff.  TT6 says she likes “Small Cannon.”  I also want to add another, courtesy of our enemies of the night, though cool blog, Golden State of Mind, who posted a comic featuring CP, where the “Name Forge of Destiny,” decides that for CP’s “obvious virtuosity,” and “ability to thoroughly lay waste to all who stand in your way” that he be referred to as the “Grief Merchant.”  That’s my favorite.  Grief Merchant.  

So tell me, what is your favorite CP nickname?

Fact.  Hornets are 7-1 in games decided by 3 points or less.  Fact.  The Hornets are 7-3 in their last 10, as good as any other Western Conference team as I write this.  Fact.  CP3 is as good as any MVP candidate.  So the T-Wolves took us to the buzzer.  They are, in fact, a professional basketball team.  Give them credit, they hung around the whole game and gave themselves a chance to win.  But the Hornets, who were outscored 24-11 at one point in the 4th, turned it around and finished on a 9-3 run and made the home crowd happy.

Ju-Ju all up in your grill.Early, it looked like a blow-out.  The Hornets ran out to an 8-0 lead and forced a time out.  They built the lead and kept it around ten most of the first quarter.  Then Byron starting subbing in the backups.  First Posey for Julian.  Then Marks for Hilton (who started in place of Tyson).  Then Mo in place of Butler.  They caved and gave up a lead, right?  Wrong.  They held their ground, and actually built the lead.  And as for Mo?  Ended up with 8 points (on 50% shooting) and 2 boards in 15 minutes.  A welcome bench contribution.  More than that, Mo was all over the floor on both ends, and helped space out the floor again, as defenders had to respect his 3-point shooting ability.

The surprise?  The starters came back in and gave up a run that let the Wolves close to 4 at the half.  Rick Kamla would be happy.  Then the third quarter.  Slow start, where we built the lead back up, but D-West struggled, clanking shots, looking frustrated, and ultimately getting into full trouble, and being shown the bench.  Or more accurately, the large blue bouncy ball that he sits on to keep his back loose.  The crowd was behind him, though, hollering at the refs, as he failed to get call after call; in the end, thought, the refs dictated that he’d be the one sitting, not shooting free throws.  

When we were at our best, we had great ball movement, finding Hilton and Marks underneath the rim, Mo cutting, Posey backing smaller defenders down, and Rasual with his little stutter-step stop jumper.  Also of note, Julian finally started to get aggressive, and used quick first step to penetrate and to break to the rim, and then kick out to the open shooters, finding both Mo and Rasual on such plays, each of whom nailed the deep shot.  (The Kid ended up with 6 pts, 3 bds, 2 asts, 1 steal, on 50% shooting in 15 minutes.)  And CP?  Well, he was CP.  He was all over the place, drawing fouls, driving hard, and putting the ball in the hoop through sheer force of will (I’ll take his 26-10-4-5 and raise you).  But CP’s jumper failed him in the late third and early fourth. Then, when West finally got back from his foul-induced exile in in the fourth, he was still cold.

So what happened?  Defense.  As much as Minnesota seemed unstoppable to start the fourth, they failed to score in the last several possessions as the Hornets clamped down, got the stops, and pulled down all the rebounds.  On the other end, we finally got into the penalty and D-West did what even on his worst of nights he can do: nail free throws (he’s 89% on the season; what’s your 4 forward hit at?).  And then, when it mattered most, and Kevin Love had again hit two free throws, with the clock running down, and the game on the line, CP penetrated deep through the Minnesota defense, the entire squad collapsed on him, and somehow, somehow, he found DX under the rim on a tough bounce pass around those defenders and West had only to dunk it home to take the lead.  The crowd exploded.

But there was 12.4 seconds left.  So we played defense, again.  Game-winning defense.  And that, that, is what makes me believe that this team can do something come May.  Any team can win.  But not every team can grind out a last minute win when it looks like the team that you kept around all night takes a late lead and is going to make you pay for doing so.  But the Hornets did.  So I believe.  So should you.

CP3 not MVP? Think Again.

By on March 15, 2009

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the MVP race is a three way contest.  Be it the writers at NBAtv, ESPN, Yahoo, or wherever: it’s all about Kobe, Lebron, and Dwyane.  What about the guy who came in second in the MVP voting last year, Chris Paul?  Never mentioned.  These major media outlets run through highlights, and someone almost inevitably says something like “CP is playing is out of his mind, and he’s not even in the MVP conversation,” with a tone that’s somewhat apologetic.  But then they move on.  They have bigger markets to address, after all.

I guess the first thought might be that CP is having an off year.  Wrong.  Higher FG%, FT%, higher rebound rate, more steals per game, and more points per game on less shots than last year.  Oh, but his assists are down 0.6.  But he still leads the League in assists per game.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Basketball-Reference.com.  A great site.  (I got the numbers below from there too.)  Maybe the lack of discussion of CP3 for MVP is the Hornets record?  Nope.  We’re only a few games below last year’s pace, and well ahead of Wade’s Heat.  Okay, so forget this year and last.  There are no answers there.  So ask yourself a more pertinent question.  Is CP3 having an MVP-caliber season?  I figured the best way to find the answer was to compare his stats this year to those of past MVP point guard seasons.  Any predictions on how CP will stack up?

Most Valuable PlayersYou hear now and then that Chris broke one of Oscar Robertson’s records.  Well, Oscar won the MVP in 1963-64.  Byron also likes to call CP a six-foot Magic Johnson; MJ won the MVP three times: in 1986-87, 1988-89, and 1989-90.  And, of course, the most recent point guard to win the MVP, was Steve Nash, back-to-back in 2004-05 and 2005-06.  So how does CP stack up?  Pretty damn well.  Not the best year ever by a point guard, but certainly within the spectrum of MVP-caliber play.  Let’s get to it.

Who's your daddy?  CP.One caveat must be given.  Oscar Robertson played in a different era, with different rules.  For starters, you’ll see he has no 3-point shooting stats.  There was no 3-point shot back then.  Also, they didn’t break the boards down into offensive and defensive, and didn’t count turnovers or steals. I’ve compared percentages and per game stats because obviously CP hasn’t played a full season yet this year.  The immediate impression that jumps out is that CP’s year is better really than either of Nash’s MVP seasons (something which the below stats will clearly confirm).  The other initial impressions are that Magic Johnson has some awesome years and the Big O played lots of minutes.

Minutes per game to me mostly means how important that guy is to their team.  One could suggest that CP’s longer minutes give him more time to accrue stats, but Nash and Magic played on higher paced teams.  (Yes, I know pace-adjusted stats are all the rage, but I’ll leave those to the real stat masters over at atthehive and hornets247 for now.  Plus, they don’t always work with guys as old as Oscar, as they didn’t keep all the same stats to input into the equations.)  Field goal percentage.  CP may be in the middle bottom of the pack, but he’s over the 50% threshold, which not many guards surpass.  His “weakness” if he can be said to have one, from looking at these stats, is 3-point shooting (one thing Nash excelled at), but CP’s kind of been on a slump from there lately, and he has 20 games to pull that  number up.

Free throw shooting?  CP may only come in at fifth here, but considering Duncan, Shaq, and Wilt have all been MVPs, well.  Yeah.  86% doesn’t sound too bad.  Rebounding, again mediocre, but notice that the only player his height, Nash, CP beats hands down.  Magic had 9 inches on Chris and Oscar had five.  Not bad, really.  Surprisingly, CP actually is only fifth at assists per game, as well.  You’d expect our little basketball wizard to be higher up, right?  Well, I’m going to cheat a little here and go to pace-adjusted stats.  We don’t have them for Oscar’s MVP season, but the best in his entire career was 37.8%.  Magic for his MVP years: 47.2%, 48.6%, and 45.5%.  Steve N with 49.2% and 44.4%.  How about Chris Paul this year?  54.8%.  Let me say that again.  54.8%.  By far the best.  You know how people say if CP played for D’Antoni, he’d average 20 assists a game?  Well, we need to start recognizing in the popular media the difference between pace and recognize CP’s greatness at any pace.

stats2Now, the second set of stats make Chris’ case even more.  First, they show that CP is the master thief among MVP point guards.  Also, CP held onto the ball much better than any of these other guys.  Not surprisingly, thought, he’s not the best shot blocker.  Chris commits a few more fouls than anyone but Oscar, but as long as he’s not on average in foul trouble, which he’s not, who cares?  Magic and Oscar definitely kill CP in scoring, but CP crushed Nash.  Although, in fairness, Stevie was definitely the most effective scorer, as shown by True Shooting % and Effective Field Goal Percentage.

My final observation: CP dominates Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating.  Not only does he annihilate Nash, and handily beat the others, but he’s posting the highest PER ever for a point guard.  And guess what?  The guy who currently holds that distinction?  Chris Paul from last year.  And no one’s talking about this guy for MVP?  Seriously?  The case is clear.  CP3 is an MVP.  Not only that, but here’s a bonus stat.  Chris is in only in his fourth year; Oscar won the award in his fourth.  However, Magic won it in his 8th, 10th, and 11th seasons; and Nash won it in his 9th and 10th.  CP is just starting to peak.  Think about it.

Wanted: a six foot point guard who can dominate the game at will.The only remaining question is, then, is CP as good as Kobe, Lebron, or Dwyane this year?  One difficulty in making this determination is that they have different style games.  It’s like trying to explain why Nash beat out Shaq in 2006.  How do you really quantify what each one brings in comparison?  It’s apples and oranges.  Two 2 guards, a 3, and Chris at the 1?  You just can’t look at the same criteria for each one, but have to balance the overall impact of each player on his team, in some sort balancing test of shifting priorities.

Nonetheless, somewhat inexplicably, for “analysts,” all anyone ever says is that Chris doesn’t score as much as these guys!  If it was, Allen Iverson would have 4 MVPs and Tracy McGrady 2.  Yet, anyone who’s ever watched Chris play more than once or twice knows that he doesn’t try to dominate the game by scoring as much as these other guys.  That said, Hornets fans have seen him go off in a quarter for more than 20 on multiple occasions, just because he can, and the situation dictated it.  

But it’s not all about scoring.  It’s about making your team better.  CP knows it’s a team sport, and that even if he scores 50 or gets a triple double (the latter of which he leads the League with the most so far this year), and his team isn’t playing well, his team won’t win.  All that matters to Chris is winning, not personal stats, and his goal is a championship, nothing more, nothing less.  But along the way, he deserves to be mentioned by the rest of us as an MVP candidate.  And I say, as an MVP, period.  Here’s what some other people have to say:

I know this much, Chris Paul’s stats this year compare favorably to those of past point guard MVPs.  Not just All-Stars.  MVPs.  So anyone that doesn’t at least put him in that conversation is crazy.

Take a bowChris Paul was quiet.

He’s been quiet for the past few games, content to dish and wait as David West played the leader role. His shooting looked a little off; maybe he was still feeling the pull of the groin injury. We weren’t concerned. We shouldn’t have been. But maybe the Mavs should have.

Because you don’t want to see Chris Paul quiet. It’s like the still, humid, blue-sky day before a hurricane.

And then it was the third quarter.

Interlude: So this is what happens on TNT after the Blazers/Nuggets game. First off, the TNT crew has been unnecessarily ripping on Portland all game, saying stuff like, “The Nuggets need to beat these teams that are vastly inferior to them.” Uh, Portland was half a game back. Seriously, guys? Biased much? I was already rolling my eyes at that. Then they bust out with, “Everyone on the Hornets is worse except for Chris Paul, who is the same. They all had career years last season. We don’t have the stats on that, but… they’re worse. And they don’t win unless he averages 25-15.” Which completely ignores the injuries, the recent fire that’s been lit under them, the 8-2 streak out of the All Star break, and the fact that Rasual Butler (remind me to do a post on this) is invisibly playing the best basketball of his entire career, after being a DNP-CD most of last spring. I was glad to see Barkley back, but I forgot that he’s so irritatingly changeable. (Chuck’s statement is also a rampant exaggeration, as ESPN’s Daily Dime and Elias Sports Bureau more factually stated this morning that “It was the ninth time in the last two seasons that Paul had at least 25 points and 15 assists in the same game. That’s one more 25-point/15-assist game than all other NBA players combined have recorded over the last two seasons.”) But the gist of the exchange is that, according to TNT, the Hornets are “out.”

Really, Chuck and Kenny? You’re gonna straight up tell Chris Paul he and his team can’t do something? You must not be watching the same Chris Paul I’m watching. And, while we’re at it, you’re wrong on another count too. He’s better than last season.

Believe this man.Back to the game. It’s tied 45-45 going into the third. You probably saw what happened next. At one point in the third quarter, mW remarked that it was like that scene in Happy Gilmore (which was fresh in our minds after being on TV approximately sixteen times last weekend) where he’s like, “Nah, I’m just gonna win now.” And then he does.

That was what it was like.

8-2 since the break, and 6-0 since Tyson came back. And I guess I feel sorry for the dudes on TNT, for Bill Simmons, for all these people who write these articles focusing on the wrong thing with this team, that they can’t just sit back and appreciate the whole “We’re getting the band back together!” what-the-hell vibe of it all. That they can’t see these past weeks for what they are– something rare and precious and swaggering and fun in these dark times of “sports as business” and “teams as cap space.” Just a bunch of guys who thought they lost their chance to play together… and then, against all probability, got it back. Just a bunch of guys playing for each other and racing to climb a ladder against time.

And then I realized something. I realized that, no matter what happens in the offseason, no matter what cost-cutting moves are made, if you live in New Orleans, it’s getting to the point where it isn’t a choice whether to buy tickets. I get the “let’s boycott the team because of Tyson Chandler” kick some disillusioned fans went on a couple weeks ago. Believe me, I get it. It’s a grand sentiment, but it’s a terrible idea.

Why do you go to games? For me, part of it is the lure of the tantalizing possibilities that lie spread out before you at the 12:00 mark of the first quarter. It’s about the chance– the slim, elusive chance– that you might see something transcendent. That someday you might be able to tell people, “I was there. I was at that game.”

‘Cause, see, last night I saw Chris Paul decide about halfway through the third quarter that he was going to win that game. He didn’t say it in words, but he said it in a thousand other ways– with a glare, a behind the back dribble, going through Jason Terry’s legs, a laugh and a spin. When Chris Paul asks you if you wanna dance, you say yes. And when he says he’s going to win, you believe him.

Really, at what point does it become less a question of expectation and more a question of plain mathematics? Like 2+1 is always gonna equal three. It’s 77 degrees in New Orleans, and Chris Paul dismantled the Dallas Mavericks last night. We’ve been here before.

Three Against the World

By on February 20, 2009

So. How was your week?

You wish there was a moment to stop and take a breath, but it’s the Lakers up tonight, the Jazz tomorrow, Mardi Gras in full effect till Tuesday. On the other hand, I’ll argue that we learned things about this team in the whirlwind of the past three crazy days. And they are good things.

We watched as, instead of collapsing, the Hornets won two games in the wake of the Chandler trade.

Three... it's the magic numberWe learned who the leaders are. True, it wasn’t really surprising. But we saw David West speak up. (If there’s any word to describe D-West, outspoken is not it.) On a night when the Hornets organization seemed to be bombarding the fans and the press with cheerfully spun declarations about how they traded for two shorter guys to improve their rebounding, he was the one voice to say that the trade wasn’t a basketball decision, and he wasn’t happy with a move that would seriously handicap their playoff chances. I will always admire him for that. We saw Chris Paul tell the press, “Me and D-West talked about it before the game last night — if we go down, we’ve got to go down fighting.” And we were heartened by it.

We learned that the fans of New Orleans, despite comments to the contrary, are going to support this team, coming close to selling out the arena on a parade night with many fans bitter about what they saw as purely a cost-cutting move. And those fans were treated to a late Christmas present.

We learned that, when implemented wisely, the Hornets’  assortment of backup bigs can stand up to Dwight Howard. I don’t know what that says about other future games, but it’s not a bad thing.

We learned that, once every few months at least, John DeShazier and I will agree on something. I know, right?

We learned that we will follow Chris Paul wherever he leads us. And so will this team.

I’m not going to worry about the whole failing-the-physical thing right now, because there’s no point. Let’s focus on the short term. Tyson is the guy we have. And he says he’ll be back Monday or Wednesday. That’s enough for me.

What the Hornets got Wednesday night was one last chance to get it done with the guys on this roster.

They have to take it.