Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Archive for the ‘ T.P. Watchdog ’ Category

Hyping the Hornets in his column in the T.P.:

And then the Hornets game came on TV. And I witnessed a phenomenon that I had associated only with the Saints for the past 25 years and it was this: Everyone in the bar was watching the game. And friends and strangers alike cheered, back-slapped, high-fived, hugged and toasted the team.

It was, dare I say, communal. It felt great. I watched and thought: I need to pay attention to this team.

And:

There is no question in my mind that the story of New Orleans’ recovery and rejuvenation has reached more Americans through sports telecasts than by any other means. The Saints’ return to the Superdome on Monday Night Football, Louisiana State University’s victory in the BCS Championship Game, the New Orleans Arena playing host to the NBA All-Star Game — they have all served as glowing, prime-time advertisements for our city, its charms and its resilience.

Check out the rest…

Plus an interesting dust-up in Dallas over bloggers’ credentials, as recapped on True Hoop. It’s not like I’m ever going to have a media credential for anywhere, but this is the sort of thing I like to keep an eye on. I think Mark Cuban & co. might be taking a stance here that they’re going to regret.

Bill Simmons plays “What If?” on ESPN’s Page 2, listing the Top 15 What Ifs? of the last decade in the NBA. The Hornets-related highlight:

Anyway, if Portland takes Paul, that sets off a crazy chain reaction: New Orleans ends up with Deron Williams instead of Paul; Utah never gets its franchise point guard; Oden and Aldridge land in other cities; maybe Roy doesn’t turn into a franchise guard playing second fiddle to Paul; and maybe Paul isn’t quite as driven because he’s not as ticked off for the next few years after three teams passed on him. I have to say, I like the way it worked out.

And ABC picks up another Hornets game, this time the home game against Golden State on April 6th. Tipoff has been moved to noon for TV, so make sure to mark your calendars!

OMG a positive attendance story sighted in the wild!
……But thanks!

With an attendance goal to meet, the Hornets’ MVP is turning out to be the fans.

Here we have a rare sighting of a positive Hornets attendance article in the wild. This elusive specimen was glimpsed on the front page (not the front page of Sports, the Front Page front page) of the Times Picayune, marking it as an article of a doubly rare species. It had to be photographed quickly before it disappeared, never to be seen again by scientists for many, many years.

Historic.

HypeMeter: Possibly at an all-time high.

Jazz had no chanceHornets win 110-98.

Deron Williams wasn’t a factor until later in the game, but then, what Jazz player was? The Hornets scored 38 points in the first quarter. They went on a 23-0 run. (“Wow, I don’t know how I feel about them busting out the GnR so early,” said Mike of the arena staff. “What if they need it later?” Prophetic words.)

Utah’s unnerving comeback in the 3rd and 4th had us on edge. The lead, which was as high as 27 points, shrank to ten and then to six. I was standing on my seat when Peja scored that three pointer. Until that moment, the Hornets were failing to convince me that this one was a 100% win. I found out the only problem when you’re already standing on your seat for the play of the game is, where do you go from there? I was practically climbing up the glass. It was glorious. Did anyone watch it on TV? Did it sound as loud? I loved Mo Pete on the side of the court waving his towel at the crowd to get louder.

That? That was home court advantage. You knew the Hornets were never going to look back.

Phil Jackson apparently said that it’s the mark of a good team when you hit 40 wins without having more than 20 losses. The Hornets are 39-18.

Let’s talk about Chris Paul. 24 points, 16 assists, and 5 steals. The last player, according to ESPN, to have a line like that was… oh wait, Chris Paul. Before that it was Kevin Johnson in 1993. The crazy thing is CP had a quieter last half of the game. He ran up most of those numbers in the first quarter alone. We’re tossing around the idea of switching out our “BACK ROW BELIEVES” sign for some kind of Chris Paul Steal Counter, because it’s his potentially record-breaking stat. With numbers that you flip to count his steals in each game. The thing is, we’d have to count them ourselves, because they never put that number up on the board. Last night was encouraging: I also had CP3 at five steals. We can count! Oh, and we went to Gordon Biersch after the game to see the postgame radio show, and Joe Block went crazy over Mike’s MVP shirt.

CrowdWatch: 17,445 and another sellout. That’s three out of the last four games. The legend grows.

T.P. Watchdog: Fine, I guess you can talk about the Saints’ signings. But if you ever even touch baseball, you are barred from my porch. We just attempted to sit through ESPN’s replay of the highlights from last night, and it was excruciating. No one cares about preseason baseball. There are like 200 freakin’ games already. NO ONE CARES ABOUT PRESEASON BASEBALL. I believe this is a fact. I know no one who cares about it. I have never heard of anyone who cares about it. I’m not convinced it even exists… OK, now see, you got me off topic. I’m liking the presence of at least two Hornets articles per day recently. But I do think last night’s game deserved a top blurb on the front page. T.P. Watchdog… keeping the media responsible & buzz-friendly since 2007.

Tyson: Bitch, please. I don’t need a cape.Sellout of 17,931. The hype is blaaaaazzzzzing. The arena was rocking. The sun went down Wednesday night.

Seriously, though. If that Tyson dunk is not the #1 on every highlight show, I will… well, never mind what I will do. He was like, “Hey, Dwight. WHAT-EV. I don’t need a cape to fly.”

Hornets 120, Suns 103. Hornets sweep the season series with the Suns. I debut a new homemade T-shirt. (But. I go back to the TC6 jersey on Friday just AS A TRIBUTE to the much-improved play this evening. Fierce. Does he read the blogs and forums?) We witness the return of the dominant third quarter. There is free beer.

And, everybody together now: What’s the only beer better than a dollar beer?

FREE BEER!

T.P. Watchdog: Hornets have a box stickied at the top of nola.com currently, where the main story usually is. I have never seen that.

All Staaaaarrrrr

By on February 16, 2008

I’d skip right on over to here for Hornets.com coverage of the All Star Weekend, which is right now featuring All Star Diaries from David West and Peja Stojakovic (man, despite this blog’s families having originated in Croatia and Poland, that one still gives me pause… and believe me when I say, we’ve got enough Eastern European extraneous letters around this here apartment to float alphabet soup).

I thought this article was going to be the same old crap, but it ends on an up note and for that I respect them.

T.P. Watchdog Effort: Seriously respectable sports section today. CP3′s picture was in it no less than four times. I think only three pages didn’t have Hornets content. Of course, much of it was All Star content, but they did a good job with the Hornets-oriented All Star articles. T.P. Watchdog… keeping the media responsible & buzz-friendly since 2007.

Went to Hornets night at the Jam Session on Wednesday. If I had kids or was the kind of person who doesn’t mind waiting in lines to participate in contests and activities (I’m not), it would have been more fun. But the store rocked. Picked up two T-shirts, the mug (with the crawfish All Star logo!), and the bead (indecent to live in New Orleans and pay for a bead, let alone $8 for a bead, but come on… All Star bead!) I was disappointed you couldn’t buy a West West jersey in small sizes. In fact, they should have had an altogether better selection of stuff for the Hornets all stars. That’s what the people were there for. Give the people what they want!

All Star coverage on ESPN right now is mildly hilarious. CP3 calling Deion Sanders old, a chef from Galatoire’s cooking stuff up on the spot, and Amare Stoudamire is currently getting his tarot cards read. You should turn it on.

This blog has tickets to the Rookie Game, the Skills Competition, and the All Star Game on Sunday night. So watch for updates on famous people sightings! (But don’t get your hopes up. I am notoriously bad at spotting famous people. I once poured water for Peyton Manning without looking up under the baseball cap, no joke.)

CP3’s angry face scares peopleThis was one of the better early crowds I’ve seen this season. I attribute this to the Pre-Game Buzzfest outside the arena, which was helped out by the solidly temperate weather. If you haven’t been to a Buzzfest, you should. Dollar beers! The next one is scheduled for Friday, February 22nd, and the party starts rolling at 5:30.

Alternatively, you could buy season tickets for next year. Because that nets you free beers. And we all know the only beer better than a dollar beer is a free beer.

We hung our “THE BACK ROW BELIEVES” banner in its usual spot, but felt weird about it when we realized our fellow season ticket holder neighbors had been replaced tonight by a row of strangers. Well, guys, we believe, and since you’re sitting here, you’re gonna have to by default.

Chris Paul and David West did the intro for the game. Hilarious. CP thanked the fans for their support and said what an honor it is to be in the All Star Game (slightly disingenuous since they weren’t voted in, but I bet half the people in the crowd didn’t know the difference). Then he goes, “I’m sure D West wants to say something to y’all,” and holds out the mike, cracking up because he knows full well D West is freaked out by the idea of saying something to the crowd and is going nowhere near that mike. He shakes his head and throws a salute instead. Classic.

Hello, makeover! The arena is now sporting snazzy signs over every vendor. Signs with cute New Orleans-y names. Clearly this is being added to spice up the arena for the upcoming All Star Game. I hope we get to keep the upgrades when the NBA leaves. The concourse also now sports a couple of much nicer-looking bars.

The Hornets looked a bit lax after pulling out to an early 14-point lead. Playing without Tyson Chandler and Morris Peterson, they still never looked like they weren’t in control of the game. Final score Hornets 112, Grizzlies 99.

HypeMeter: As we speak, the headline on CNN/SI is “All That Buzz,” with a giant photo of Angry David West (might actually be slightly scarier than Angry Chris Paul, due to the size factor).

T.P. Watchdog: Times Picayune Sunday print edition has the better part of 5 pages devoted to the Hornets/All Star Game. Right on. Good job, friends. (See, I can bestow praise where praise is due.)

And one final note.

This was the first sellout of 2008. I like to think of it as the first sellout of the new era. I see a distinct, marked difference starting with the last three crowds. This dates back to the Spurs win, which I believe was the start of something special. If you were there at the Denver game the Monday after… you know you thought, “Wow.” I hope in the future we will be able to point to that game and say, “That’s when it started. And we never looked back.” I hope the hype is rolling, rolling like the Hornets are rolling and can’t be stopped. I hope the word spreads, that there is something happening with this team and this season that you don’t want to miss.

I hope.

And what keeps me hoping is this: Last night we saw New Orleans Arena sell out. And it wasn’t Kobe, it wasn’t LeBron. The Memphis Grizzlies? Please. The Grizzlies got nothing.

17, 231 people came last night to see the Hornets.

Now This?

By on February 8, 2008

I take full credit for this by the way… is much better.

To recap. What I said yesterday:

“And here I was having fantasies of CP3 jumping on Peja in color under a headline.”

Naturally I am going to claim full credit for this. You know it. Even though the claim has absolutely no basis in reality. But it’s cool. The Times Picayune doesn’t have to thank me for designing today’s sports page for them. This one’s a freebie. It’s on me.

Consider it my gift to them.

Seriously, Though.

By on February 7, 2008

The TP possibly kills fluffy kittens for fun…Times Picayune, we need to talk.

As in, we need to have a serious conversation about what is or is not acceptable when you are the hometown paper covering a premier Western Conference team. I get that there are 82 games, and probably every time the Hornets have a huge win the real rabid fans are going, “OH MY GOD that was the biggest game EVER!” Like the previous Suns win? Possibly the biggest game ever. The Spurs win? Undoubtedly the biggest game ever. So I understand that you kind of need to take that kind of attitude with a grain of salt. And being a professional media source, you can’t be freaking out over every big game that happens throughout the course of an 82-game season.

However.

In the past week, the New Orleans Hornets have been seriously slumping, casting some slim shadows of doubt over their overachievingly amazing play thus far in 2008. In January the Hornets were blowing other teams out to the tune of 14-20 points per game. In the last three games, they’ve been blown out. The defense took a break, Chris Paul had one of his worst games ever, and David West struggled after being named to his first All Star Game. It was their longest losing streak of the season. And the last game of their road trip was at Phoenix, the team that recently leapfrogged back ahead of the Hornets for the top spot in the West. It was conceivable, albeit horrifying, that the Hornets could go 0-3 on the trip.

But they didn’t.

Instead the Hornets duked it out with the Suns through two OTs, in a thrilling offensive battle of two top teams and two top point guards, and managed to get the ball to Peja, who made the perfect buzzer-beating shot and got instantly piled on by Chris Paul and all his teammates. And really, all the doubts sort of disappear, don’t they? Because if you can hang tough in that game, you deserve to be where you are. If you’re going to break a 3-game losing streak, is there a better way to do it? And man, this game topped all the highlight shows, and rightly so. It was referred to by several people as the most exciting game of the regular season thus far. (NBA.com: “Hornets Burn Suns in Instant Classic”) Even if you aren’t a Hornets fan, what was not to love about that game?

But did the game end early enough to make the paper? That is the question. And the answer is yes. Oh yes. But as I held the TP sports section distastefully by the corner, similar to the manner in which one might hold a dead rat by the tail, “What,” I said, “is this?” (Click on photo at above left to enlarge if you can’t read what the big story was this morning. Click. I dare you.)

Really only one word comes to mind, and that word is “WTF.” (Which is not technically a word, it’s an acronym, but shut up, I’m rolling.)

Come the fuck on, Times Picayune. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you probably had the fascinating breaking sports news of Tulane and LSU’s freshmen (for NEXT YEAR) already prepared. And look, you saved space on the front page for the Hornets game. Pretty skinny column, though. Almost as if… you expected them to lose. And were only going to grudgingly bestow upon those second-rate losers their allotted one inch of space and no more, dammit. And here I was having fantasies of CP3 jumping on Peja in color under a headline.

I bet the Spurs don’t have to sit in the back of the busBut, you say, maybe it was too late and they couldn’t get a picture. Okay, maybe. That’s a valid point. If it were not for the fact that here’s the back (see left). If it was football, you better believe they would have saved the space, late game be damned. How are the Hornets to be expected to grow a fan base without quality coverage by the local media? How can the Hornets be taken seriously by the national media when the local media doesn’t take them seriously?

Maybe the TP lacks experience in covering an 82 game season. It shows. Let me make an analogy. In soccer or hockey, it’s possible that you’ll only have 1-4 scoring plays per game. Therefore each time either team scores, it’s a big deal. In basketball, you’re going to run up and down the court and make (if you’re the Hornets in winning mode) roughly 40-50 scoring plays per game. Do you cover each and every one? Of course not. It doesn’t make sense. So what do you cover?

The plays that swing the momentum.

It’s the same with an 82 game season. Some games are more important than others. If you’re going to cover one of these sports, and cover it in a meaningful way, you’ve got to get your head around the idea of momentum. You’ve got to know that this was as huge a game as it was. You’ve got to recognize them when they come. If you’re going to skimp on coverage of a game, for God’s sake, make it the one where the Hornets bitchslap the Heat or the Grizzlies or the Clippers.

Not a game like this.

I urge Hornets fans to write in, go to nola.com and leave a comment, whatever. The coverage has gotten marginally better, but clearly there’s a long way to go. Demand better coverage.

A marquis matchup and we get Tulane football. In February. Jesus. I’m dying here.

I know the Hornets’ attendance woes are not the Times Picayune’s problem, and it’s unfair either to lay blame at their feet or to suggest that they have a responsibility to hype a product that isn’t theirs. But imagine Peja Stojakovic in color. Imagine large bold letters. Imagine a side article about Chris Paul vs. Steve Nash.

And underneath all this, in a box, imagine: “Next Game: Saturday 7 PM vs. Memphis. Call Ticketmaster for tickets.”

Imagine the world you want to see.

Chris Rose Hypes the Hornets!

By on January 30, 2008

Let the man do what he doesToday, in the T-P. This is huge buzz (ha ha). Chris Rose is a guy who seems to have his finger on the pulse of the New Orleans metro area. Especially since his Katrina columns, people go out of their way to read him. And, more importantly, they listen to what he’s saying. And today he says to get on board with the Hornets. What a perfect way to go into tonight’s game.

This site, of course, is not satisfied with mere hype. This site loves the vibe that’s been happening this week. But we’ve got to move on up. Higher and higher. Bigger and bigger.

This site will not rest until it sees us on the front page of the Times Picayune and the sports section, the morning after a standing room only sellout game that we won, after driving to work on a highway dotted with Hornets flags, listening to the morning DJs talk about the Hornets on the radio.

But you have to admit things are picking up.