Hornets Control Playoff Destiny
As it stands now, the New Orleans Hornets are in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. With 14 regular season games left, the Hornets have ample opportunity to move up, or down in the playoff race. Jimmy Smith of the Times Picayune takes a closer look.
The Hornets (39-29) enter tonight’s critical Western Conference game against the Denver Nuggets in sixth place in the standings, trailing the fifth-seeded Nuggets by one game and already holding the tie-breaker over Denver thanks to two previous wins this season.
Of the games remaining, 12 are against Western Conference teams and nine are at home where the Hornets are 23-9 this season, third best in the West. Further, after playing Denver, six games are against teams that are in the bottom half of the playoff standings: three — two at home and one on the road — against Phoenix, which is currently in ninth — one at home against seventh-seeded Portland, and a home-and-away set against current eighth seed Memphis.
“We’re not looking at anybody else (in the standings), we just know we have to take care of our business,” explained Chris Paul after Saturday night’s victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Starting forward Trevor Ariza shared Paul’s mentality toward the final 14, saying, “You can’t get complacent; you just have to worry about winning. … If we take care of what we do, we’ll be alright.”
With the schedule laid out the way it is, it certainly gives New Orleans a chance to seperate themselves in the standings.