Blog Entry

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

Posted on: April 27, 2009 11:51 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2009 11:45 am

I’m pretty sure the writing staff could’ve lost to the Nuggets by 58.

That’s my last joke, because this is no laughing matter. When a team loses by 58 points in a playoff game, there is no need to rub it in.

Nuggets 121, Hornets 63. The depressing fact of the day is this: Not since the Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks by the same margin in 1956 had an NBA team lost by that many points in a playoff game.

The Hornets kept the charade up as long as they could. Hats off to them. The extent of their precarious state was signaled to the entire league at the trade deadline, when G.M. Jeff Bower tried to unload Tyson Chandler in a rare salary dump for a team that had designs on contending for a championship this season. The trade, of course, was voided over Chandler’s failed physical. Now when the Nuggets finish off the Hornets in the next few days, the process of dismantling what was only a year ago one of the up-and-coming teams in the league will begin anew.

This isn’t about who wins this first-round series, because it is pretty clear by now who is going to do that. It is about the abysmal state of the New Orleans Hornets, who are Exhibit A in the NBA’s lineup of sad-sack franchises.

Their limitations since returning to Katrina-ravaged New Orleans have been well documented. They get by with CYO facilities and a skeleton staff. They put a good basketball product on the floor this season, increased tickets sold by 30 percent over last season, and still are bleeding money like a stuck pig. The basketball and other people working for the Hornets have done amazing things, considering. There just aren’t enough of them. Just aren’t enough dollars in New Orleans to justify the lofty goals this franchise had when it returned from its one-year hiatus in Oklahoma City.

Owner George Shinn is reported to be experiencing financial woes, and he put his disappearing money where his mouth is this week when he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune he’d be “very disappointed” if his team lost in the first round. His answer was about more than competitive juices. It was about dollars. In this economy, the bottom line for small-market teams like the Hornets can be made or broken with lucrative home playoff dates. Get a lot of them, and you can refill the till. Get only the minimum, and it’s a long, soul-searching offseason.

“I will always be disappointed at this stage in my career and my life unless we get a championship,” Shinn said in the Times-Picayune interview. “That's what we're trying to do every year, and we'll continue to try to improve. We've got to do that this summer. We've got to have a very busy summer. We'll look at every avenue to improve. We've invested in this team over the years. Even before we had the ticket support we have today, we were still being aggressive and trying to build this club.”

Shinn opened the checkbook for free agent James Posey last summer, convinced that he was the piece the team was missing to challenge the Lakers in the West. But his aggressiveness will not, and cannot, include paying luxury tax. That was part of the thinking behind the aborted Chandler trade. Put Chandler at the top of the list of players most likely to be traded before next February’s deadline.

We could dissect the carcass of Game 4 in New Orleans – Chris Paul’s miserable 2-for-7 night with four points and six assists – but why bother? This is about something bigger. This is about how one of the teams we thought we’d be watching well into May is on life support, in more ways than one.

I will leave you with this about the game. I know J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza are bench players. But they’re important bench players. What in the name of George Karl were they doing on the floor in the fourth quarter of this catastrophe? Were Steven Hunter and Sonny Weems using comp time? Isiah Thomas had famously accused Karl of running up the score after the melee at Madison Square Garden three seasons ago. Karl is going to have a hard time defending this one. I like Karl as a coach very much; that’s why I gave him my third-place vote for coach of the year. He is a champion of coaches, always coming to their defense when they get fired or mistreated. Someone should ask Byron Scott what Karl was trying to be a champion of in the fourth quarter Monday night.

UPDATE: It has been correctly pointed out that Hunter and Weems were in street clothes. This I did not see on the fuzzy, non-HD feed from NBA-TV. My bad. But I still don't think Smith and Kleiza should have been on the floor that late in a 60-point blowout -- especially considering Karl's history of accusing others of running up the score. When I make a mistake, I admit it. And thanks for reading to the end of the post. :)

Since: Mar 4, 2009
Posted on: April 29, 2009 3:44 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

This is for everyone....  why do people have the need to feel that if a player shoots 3 pointers at the end of a game that they are trying to run up the score on them?  To me, the 3 point shot is the hardest one to make consistently.  I believe most NBA players are in the 20-40% range for a season, so at worst case they make 4 out of 10, unless they are shooting lights out that game.  You also have to take ownership on the defense to not let the other team take the 3 pointers if it is so bad.  If a team quits, no matter who it is, don't blame the team winning on the lack of effort by the other team.  If you want, Denver can go do a dunk contest on them next time.  I think the dunk has a higher percentage going in, don't you?

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2009 10:08 am

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

I'm just glad you guys are mauling each other now instead of me. keep it up.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2009 8:54 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

I have played ball my whole life and you are full of it.  I was at the game and after the timeout, he did exactly as I said and walked on the court smiling.  The players were all laughing coaching at telling them to ease up.  And after the timeout...several long 3-pointers launched.  Nice try.  Why do you feel the need to make up sh*t to defend Karl.  I was there and saw the whole thing.  You are the one assuming what you dont know.You know, normally I'd get back at you with some sort of smart remark, but you can think what you want, it's a country of free opinion an speech so good for you. If it was the other way around you'd be defending your coach too, that's all I'm doing and I honestly, and so did the people announcing the game, thought he was doing it to slow them down. and you know what, you guys deserved it, you cry at every call and when the game gets physical you cry more. I think Chris Paul is a tremendous basketball player and the Hornets have talent, at least I can compliment your team instead of rambling on and complaining about the other team. That's what losers do they complain, you had your great season last year and now it's our turn.

Think of George Karl what you want, but he's out coaching Byron Scott and not only that, check the stats, he's gone 17 years in a row without a losing record as a head coach, you know the only active coach better..... It's not Byron Scott, it's Phil Jackson. and right I'm making up stuff, just because you were there and let the downfall of the Hornets down your mood doesn't make you right. Maybe I'm not right, but I know he didn't call that timeout to rub it in more and I think 90% of people on this board and in this country would agree. I'll be at game 5 and if the same thing happens to us, HIGHLY UNLIKELY I know I won't be on here bad mouthing anyone but my own team for playing the way they did.

Tell me this last one thing, if the Nuggets were running up the score, how come no one on New Orleans said anything about it or complained about it, Chris Paul himself said they outplayed them in every aspect and it was a but whooping, he didn't accuse the Nuggets of running up the score. Grow up.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2009 5:15 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

You're a Hornets fan and you stayed clear through to the end of that debacle?  Why do I have a heard time believing that?

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2009 5:11 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

I have played ball my whole life and you are full of it.  I was at the game and after the timeout, he did exactly as I said and walked on the court smiling.  The players were all laughing coaching at telling them to ease up.  And after the timeout...several long 3-pointers launched.  Nice try.  Why do you feel the need to make up sh*t to defend Karl.  I was there and saw the whole thing.  You are the one assuming what you dont know.

Since: Oct 2, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2009 4:50 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

Only sad sack present and accounted for just posted a piece of garbage blog on CBS Sports. What a bunch of misinformed drivel. I love how you choose to neglect Michigan's economic state in saying somehow our lack of money contributed to our loss.

I'm so damn sick of ****heads like you constantly ****ing on New Orleans. We lost a basketball game, ***hole. That's all there is too it. It doesn't show how we can't fund an NBA team or any other garbage you could spout off.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2009 4:19 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

Berger, thank you for owning up to your mistake on the post. It was very fuzzy on the picture! I'll give you that, but the Nuggets weren't classless, it's Playoff basketball, you deserve to get run out of the gym by 58 if you're not even going to care or try. I will give you this, JR and Linas shouldn't have been firing 3's the last 5 minutes as they did, that was a little tasteless but they just wanted to play, and were having fun...
I'll keep reading your posts, please just don't ever write about Stephon Marbury again! haha

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2009 4:15 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

That being said, George Karl called a timeout with 3 mins to play up by 55 points.  You cannot defend that.  It was classless.Tiger, if you knew anything about basketball, he called that timeout because he wanted to tell his players to ease up and not take it so hard to your depleted hornets. Think about it, that's why the Nuggets ran the shot clock on all of their final posessions until it was down to at least 8 seconds. He wasn't doing that to rub it in, he was doing it to not make your hornets look as pathetic as they did. Granted the Hornets can be a great team, it's just not their year. But don't assume stuff you don't know!

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2009 4:12 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

Au contraire, truck man. I have done my homework on that and will be writing about it soon.

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2009 3:46 pm

Sad-sack Hornets exposed (UPDATE)

as a matter of fact the Horents were in the Top 10 in overall revenue this year.. do your homework idiot before you say New Orleans can't support a team

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