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Hornets report: Getting inside

The Sports Xchange
 
Getting inside · Notes, quotes · Roster
 

Scoring is not one of the Hornets' strengths to begin with, and with All-Star point guard Chris Paul struggling with his shot as he has the past three games, it becomes a major struggle.

Paul has shot just 31 percent (11-for-36) in the last three games, and the Hornets have lost two of the three. He made just three of 10 field-goal attempts in a 97-88 loss to the Bulls on Saturday night in the New Orleans Arena.

"My rhythm is off," Paul said. "I'm missing everything I shoot at the rim. I've just got to keep shooting. That's the only way. Ain't nobody going to put it in there for you."

Teams understandably make it a point to double-team Paul, trying to get the ball out of his hands and force him to take difficult shots. He averages 16.5 points and 9.7 assists.

"I've got to somehow, someway find a rhythm and find a way to get some easy baskets," he said. "Teams get layups here and there against us, but very rarely do you see us get anything easy."

When teams commit more than one person to containing Paul, they leave themselves vulnerable to his teammates, if the Hornets take advantage of open shots. That didn't happen much against the Bulls, as the Hornets shot just 41 percent (28-for-69).

"Teams have been taking Chris Paul out all year long," coach Monty Williams said. "and guys have been stepping up to make plays. Guys just didn't knock down shots."

Paul has two more games -- at Golden State on Tuesday and at Portland on Wednesday -- to find his rhythm before he starts for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles. The Hornets, despite their 33-23 record, have the sixth-lowest scoring average in the NBA (95.0).

BULLS 97, HORNETS 88: The Hornets squandered an 11-point halftime lead by scoring just 35 second-half points. The Bulls outscored them 30-21 in the third quarter and 25-14 in the fourth. The poor shooting carried over to the foul line, where the Hornets made just nine of 17 free throws in the third quarter and 26 of 39 for the game. "Missing 13 free throws on your home floor is inexcusable," coach Monty Williams said.

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