Feb. 27: @Hornets 95 Bucks 94
Hornets: Morris Peterson (sprained left foot) is out and Peja Stojakovic (back spasms) is questionable.
Bucks: Michael Redd (torn ACL and MCL) and Andrew Bogut (stress fracture in lower back) are out.
- Different directions. Milwaukee is in danger of missing the playoffs after dropping six of eight. If they do make the playoffs, it will almost surely be as in the eight spot. Meanwhile, New Orleans has a legitimate chance to spring as high as the third seed in the Western Conference after winning eight of nine. At the same time, the Hornets could easily fall as low as the eighth seed as well, in the wild, wacky West standings.
- Wait a Second. New Orleans is really good; they boast a top ten overall record and point differential. So, how can they possibly be so bad in the second quarter? The Hornets are the NBA's second worst team during second quarters this season, averaging a -2.0 per game differential. Even if that doesn't sound dramatic, it is. There is a pretty clear explanation to this seeming anomoly. Check out Chris Paul's minutes played by quarter...1st: 634 2nd: 380 3rd: 672 4th: 457.
Prodigious Paul. Unlike the last time these teams met (which was not on local television and then struck from ESPN's slate), there are plenty of ways to catch the game tonight. You can head to the Bradley Center, or catch the game on FSN. That's a very good thing, because one of the most entertaining and exceptional players of this generation is in town: Chris Paul. The Wake Forest product, coming off a positively silly 30/12/10 triple double in a win over Washington, is absolutely the best point guard in the world. Always-ahead-of-the-curve-bloggers voted Paul as last year's MVP, but John Hollinger correctly states that many other people don't seem to appreciate the magnitude of Paul's greatness. He is a magical basketball player, and Hollinger is comparing the Hornet favorably to Magic Johnson.
Nonetheless, compare Paul's first four seasons to any point guard from the post-merger era, and one conclusion becomes evident really fast -- the only player who can even plausibly compare to him is Magic.
This year, CP has been better than ever. Despite earning hardly a whisper in this year's MVP discussions after coming in second a year ago, Paul is actually having a better season on several fronts.