Sunday, January 30, 2005

Difficulty in San Antonio

The Spurs took out the Hornets with a 93-83 victory at the Spurs hometown. The Hornets seemed to be trying really hard but just not cutting the mustard. For about half of the game, the Hornets had been using recent draft picks that hadn’t even had too much experience with the pros.

Manu Ginobili had a great game; cutting through the Hornets defense with ease. With many scores to keep them in the lead, Tim Duncan had no problem adding in his two cents. From the beginning, the Spurs were leading 10-0.

Most of the Spurs game came from their defense. Time and time again, the Hornets just could not make it to the basket. Dan Dickau, who was a powerful force for the Hornets at only 6’0”, was rejected by the Spurs from advancing to the goal. I don’t blame him though, he’s six foot and still looks like a midget on the court.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Dickau stepping up

From sports.yahoo.com:
Dan Dickau was the only healthy point guard in uniform for the New Orleans Hornets -- and the only one they needed.

Dickau capped a career-high 27-point outing with a pair of 3-pointers inside the last 18 seconds, leading New Orleans to an 88-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

``It's any player's dream -- you want to play as many minutes as you can,'' said Dickau, who logged 42 minutes, had eight assists and scored 17 in the fourth quarter. ``I felt good coming down the stretch, I felt fresh. ... I just wanted to keep shooting when I was open.''

Dickau was fourth on Dallas' depth chart when the Hornets acquired him in exchange for Darrell Armstrong on Dec. 3. But he became one of only two point guards on New Orleans' roster Friday when Junior Harrington was cut to make room for three front court players acquired in another deal that sent Jim Jackson to Phoenix.

Regular starting point guard Baron Davis, who bruised his right ankle a week ago in Toronto, missed his third straight full game against the Clippers, meaning Dickau, in less than two months, had gone from disposable in Dallas to indispensable for New Orleans (7-32), which has now won five games this month.

``That's one of things in the NBA -- when you're not playing you can't get too discouraged or too frustrated. You keep working and you're going to get an opportunity eventually,'' said Dickau, who has averaged 12.8 points with New Orleans.

Dickau tied the game with 39.7 seconds to go after drawing a foul on a drive and hitting his first free throw. He missed the second, but Hornets forward P.J. Brown ran down a long rebound, diving over the sideline to get the ball back to Dickau. The diminutive Dickau let some time run off the clock before burying a straightaway 3.

The Clippers tied the game on Bobby Simmons' high, arching 3 with 10.3 to go. But Dickau came back with another straightaway 3 over Mikki Moore with 2.1 seconds remaining. Several Hornets -- and even Simmons -- laughed in seeming disbelief as the crowd roared.

``He took it from about three feet beyond the 3. I feel like I played good defense,'' Moore said. ``He just shot an unbelievable shot.''

Simmons got one more shot to tie it at the buzzer, but his off-balance shot from well behind the 3-point line missed the rim as the Clippers lost their fifth straight game.

Lee Nailon scored 22 points -- his fifth straight game with 20 or more -- to help New Orleans win its fourth in a row at home. J.R. Smith scored 12 and Rodney Rogers 11, with both hitting crucial 3-pointers in the final five minutes. Chris Andersen had 10 rebounds for New Orleans.

Elton Brand led Los Angeles with 28 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double in a row. Simmons finished with 17, while Chris Kaman and Quinton Ross each scored 13. Rick Brunson had 12 assists.

Darrick Martin's 3 capped a 10-0 run that gave the Clippers a 72-68 lead with about seven minutes remaining. Then Martin hit another jumper, and Los Angeles got the lead up to 75-70.

But the Hornets stormed back with consecutive 3s from Smith and Dickau, followed by Dickau's driving floater to put the Hornets ahead 78-75. The lead then changed three more times before Dickau put the Hornets ahead for good.

``We knew they would have a lot of fight in them ... but we didn't think we'd lose,'' Brand said.

Brand scored 19 in the first half and his drive on Brown for a three-point play capped a 7-1 run that gave the Clippers a 44-42 lead late in the second quarter. After Simmons' 18-foot jumper made it 46-42, Smith made one of two free throws to cut it to 46-43 at the half.
In the midst of us having the most starters and big scorers' injuries, only one man stepped up. Dickau has really stepped up and taken in the position of Davis, atleast until he recovers( if he ever does) from his back injury. The massive amount of injuries is hurting our team greatly, and is the real factor that is holding us back. Lets hope Dickau can play like he did in the Clippers game in the next game against the Rockets. GO HORNETS!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Davis bringing back a well needed spark.

From sports.yahoo.com:
Dan Dickau's breakout season and Baron Davis' return to form have suddenly made the New Orleans Hornets a much tougher team to beat.

Dickau made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points, leading the Hornets to their third victory in four games, 112-106 over the struggling Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

``I never consciously decided'' to start taking 3-pointers, Dickau said. ``A couple open ones popped up. I just knocked them down. Then I got left wide open a few more times, and if you're a shooter you've got to take it.''

Davis, who returned from a back injury in late December, scored 22 points, including seven key free throws in the final 1:03, to help New Orleans overcome Damon Stoudamire's 54-point performance.

Stoudamire set a career high and broke Geoff Petrie's franchise record of 51 points. The Portland star was 20-of-32 from the field and made eight 3-pointers (tying the team record Van Exel set Monday in Philadelphia), including one with 8 seconds left to make it 110-106. That came after Stoudamire was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws.

Lee Nailon added 22 points for New Orleans, while Chris Andersen had a season-high 15. P.J. Brown had 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Hornets outrebounded the Trail Blazers 46-30. The Hornets had 19 offensive rebounds, leading to 25 second-chance points. New Orleans also outscored Portland 30-12 on free throws.

Nick Van Exel scored 23 for Portland, which has lost six of seven and eight of 10.

But like the Hornets earlier this season, the Blazers have been plagued with injuries of late. Leading scorer Zach Randolph (right knee) was the latest scratch, further hurting a front court that had already lost Shareef Abdur-Rahim (right elbow) and Darius Miles (left knee).

That left the scoring burden on Stoudamire and Van Exel, who had little help as no other teammate scored more than eight.

``I sure wish we could have had an inside scorer today so we could have got a win,'' Stoudamire said. ``We've just got to find somebody to throw that ball down low to who can take a little pressure off. In that second half especially, they were really guarding me and Nick and saying, 'Hey, let other people beat us'.''

The Hornets, who trailed by 17 after one quarter, had their largest lead at 87-75 when Davis found Brown underneath for a dunk late in the third period. Portland trimmed it to 91-85 on Van Exel's 3 early in the fourth quarter, and New Orleans' lead was down to 98-93 when Stoudamire drove inside and scored in traffic with under 4:20 left.

But Andersen hit a free throw after being fouled on an offensive rebound. He then tipped in Davis' miss to put the Hornets up 101-93 with 3:20 to go. He made two more foul shots to give New Orleans a 103-96 lead with 1:32 left.

``Baron's getting healthier ... He's just doing a great job of distributing the basketball and leading the team right now and we're all falling in and hitting shots,'' Brown said. ``After all the hard times we had closing out games in the fourth quarter we're doing a better job of that. We've got young guys maturing. We're just growing as a team and it's going to get better and better.''

The Hornets (5-30) still have the worst record in the league, but they are no longer on pace to set a new mark for NBA futility, a distinction that currently belongs to the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who were 9-73.

The teams combined for 28 3-pointers, one short of the NBA record of 29 set in 1997 by Denver and Seattle.

And the game looked more like a 3-point shooting contest in the first half, when the teams combined for a 23 3s -- an NBA record for a half -- in an exhibition that drove the crowd wild.

Portland was 7-of-8 on 3s in the first quarter alone and shot a whopping 76.2 percent from the field in taking a 40-23 lead.

New Orleans responded by setting a franchise record for second-quarter scoring with 43 points and for 3-pointers with nine, opening the period with a 10-0 run that included 3s by Dickau and Davis.

Stoudamire, who had 30 points in the first half, kept Portland ahead most of the quarter by hitting three of his five first-half 3s.

Then, fittingly, the Hornets tied it at 56 on Dickau's fourth of five first-half 3s. Bostjan Nachbar's 3 gave the Hornets their first lead, then Dickau's fifth 3 put New Orleans ahead 64-61. Nailon's 18 footer in the final second made it 66-63.

Although we are at a disgraceful 5-30, just 5 games ago we were at, 2-28. It may not mean much for the time being, but if we can keep it up for a while, we will grow overtime and eventually break .500. All I hope is that Davis can keep up this play, because, right now, without him, we are nothing. Keep up the "better" work Hornets!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

DAVIS IS BACK!!!

From sports.yahoo.com:
The NBA's worst team finally received some good news.

New Orleans Hornets All-Star guard Baron Davis, who has missed over a month with an inflamed disk in his lower back, was activated from the injured list Tuesday.

A two-time All-Star, Davis has not played since November 12. He sat out Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers but is playing in Wednesday's contest against the Lakers.

In their first season in the rugged Western Conference, the Hornets are an NBA-worst 2-22. Both of the Hornets' wins have come without Davis, who has played in just five games.

Davis, who missed 47 games due to injury the last two seasons, is averaging 24.6 points and 8.0 assists.

I'll have to say that with him coming back from the IL, I am hopeful that it will turn the season around. In lesser news, Jim Jackson failed to show up after he was traded from Houston to here. Lets see if Davis can play like he did before the injury. GO HORNETS, DAVIS IS BACK!