SPORTS

SIDELINE PATROL: Hornets where they want to be entering playoffs

Peter Silas Pasqua
Peter Silas Pasqua is the sports editor for the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at sports@weeklycitizen.com

The New Orleans Hornets suffered a 105-98 overtime defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night to end the regular season and finished as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference entering the NBA?playoffs.

That is exactly where they want to be.

I am sick and tired of hearing people say how the Hornets are on a slide going into the playoffs. They are heading into the second season and that is all that matters.

The NBA season is too long and how many of us really pay that much attention unless a team is attempting to break some kind of single season win record like Cleveland was trying to do this year at home.

Of course, the Hornets were introduced to us last season when they won 56 games and we fell in love with them when they made a run in the playoffs. But the season took its drain and they fell to the Spurs in the seventh game of the conference semifinals.

This season, they are healthy entering the playoffs and ready to make an even more serious run. And what makes it even better is no one is expecting that much out of them.

New Orleans could have had a better regular season and gotten the No. 4 or 5 seed. Then they would have to meet the top team in the west, the Lakers in the second round. Sure, they could have gotten the sixth seed on the last day and would have had to face the Spurs in the first round. But they are happy with who they are playing. Who are they playing?

The Denver Nuggets picked up the No. 2 seed earning the high seed of seven playoff teams with only six games separating them. Outside of Los Angeles, there is great parity in the West and it is anybody’s guess who they will meet in the Conference Finals.

While, neither the Hornets or the Nuggets have never won a title, Denver has lost seven consecutive postseason series. I will take my odds against them anyday over San Antonio and Dallas who have had recent sucess in the playoffs.

Everyone knows this series’ focus will be on the point guards. Chris Paul is dynamic with the basketball and in many opinions no one is better than he with it in his hands. Chauncey Billups has a history of winning in Detroit but he always had a supporting cast of stars with him.

The Nuggets do have Carmelo Anthony but I would take David West over Kenyon Martin anyday. And although Nene Hilario’s overall numbers may be better than Tyson Chandler’s this season, “Slim” is at full strength entering the playoffs.

If the Hornets have fun, can stay healthy, play solid defense and start to click with each other as they did in last year’s postseason, they will make the Western Conference finals with the addition of James Posey to this year’s squad. And here is hoping they hand it to the Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and play for the franchises’s first championship.