Hornets Are Southwest Division Champs, Down Clippers At Home 114-92

Posted: April 16, 2008 in Hornets

The Hornets clinched their first division title in franchise history with a 114-92 win over the L.A. Clippers Tuesday night. They also completed a four game sweep against the Clippers, all of those games being blowouts. The Hornets, however will not be able to clinch the top seed in the West after being there much of the second half of the year thanks to a 1-3 cold streak that let the L.A. Lakers back in. It didn’t help that one of those games was against the Lakers, either. The Hornets needed the Lakers to lose their season finale to take the spot back, but right now, even though the game is still being played, they have a 25+ point lead over the Sacramento Kings in the 4th quarter. The Hornets will, however, be guaranteed the #2 spot in the West win or lose in Dallas tomorrow night. The Bees are 56-25 and will look to finish with #57 tomorrow.

The Hornets will decide who they play in the playoffs tomorrow by winning or losing. They can knock Dallas down a seed or keep them where they are. The Hornets will play whoever is the #7 seed in the West in the first round.

Field Goals Rebounds
pos min fgm-a 3pm-a ftm-a +/- off def tot ast pf st to bs ba pts
P.Stojakovic F 36:29 2-14 2-11 1-1 +26 0 4 4 2 3 1 1 1 2 7
D.West F 33:13 12-17 0-0 8-8 +16 1 4 5 2 4 1 0 0 1 32
T.Chandler C 31:06 4-5 0-0 3-5 +13 4 7 11 1 2 0 1 1 0 11
M.Peterson G 22:43 4-10 2-4 0-0 +16 0 3 3 2 0 3 0 1 0 10
C.Paul G 36:52 10-13 0-1 2-2 +25 0 4 4 12 0 2 3 1 0 22
J.Pargo 14:33 2-7 0-1 0-0 -4 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 4
H.Armstrong 14:24 2-5 0-0 0-0 +5 4 2 6 0 3 0 0 0 0 4
M.James 21:52 3-8 2-5 0-0 +7 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 8
J.Wright 18:06 3-3 1-1 7-7 +6 0 3 3 0 2 1 0 1 0 14
R.Bowen 05:21 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 2
M.Ely 05:21 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

NEW ORLEANS, April 15 (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets gathered in front of their bench, wearing ball caps and T-shirts commemorating the first division championship in the franchise’s 20-year history.

While the latest sellout crowd roared its approval, they stayed on the court for almost a half-hour to celebrate the moment.

David West scored 32 points and Chris Paul had 12 during a decisive run in the third quarter as the Hornets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 114-92 on Tuesday night. New Orleans will have at least the No. 2 seed in the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference.

Three seasons after going 18-64, the Hornets clinched the rugged Southwest division, which has four 50-win teams.

“A lot of people had us not even getting in the playoffs,” New Orleans center Tyson Chandler said. “I don’t think any of us believed that. We all believed that we’re one of the better teams in the conference. If you win this division it says a lot about the team because this is the best division in basketball.”

After losing three of its last four, New Orleans struggled for a half against the reeling Clippers before putting them away with 26-6 spurt in the third quarter. The Clippers have lost six in a row and are 4-25 in their last 29 games.

Hornets coach Byron Scott earned his 300th career victory. The Hornets finished 30-11 at home for the third time in franchise history. The club record is 32-9, set in 1997-98, but all those seasons came in Charlotte, their original home.

This was their most significant victory in New Orleans, where they moved for the 2002-03 season and played for three years before Hurricane Katrina forced them to Oklahoma City for all but 10 games during the previous two seasons.

“It’s a big step for us,” West said. “We just talked about wanting to improve and being one of the elite teams, and I think we kind of validated ourselves with the ability to come into a tough season and win the toughest division in basketball.”

Trailing 56-51 after Cuttino Mobley‘s 3-pointer early in the third quarter, the Hornets scored 12 of the next 14 points to take the lead for good, then pulled away quickly.

Paul started the run with a lay-up off a Clippers turnover. Peja Stojakovic, who missed his first six 3-pointers, hit two in a row to give New Orleans a 63-58 lead. Paul followed with four consecutive baskets to extend the advantage to 71-62, and Morris Peterson gave the Hornets their first double-digit lead, 74-62, on a 3-pointer with 3:11 left in the quarter.

Sixteen seconds later, Chandler was fouled on a dunk and hit the free throw, making the score 77-62.

“We definitely came out in the third quarter and picked up the intensity defensively,” Paul said. “We can do that every night if we really put our mind to it. That’s the only way we’re going to be successful in the playoffs.”

“Hornets Sink Clippers To Clinch Southwest Division Title”. NBA.com. April 16, 2008. “http://www.nba.com/games/20080415/LACNOH/recap.html”.

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