With 11 games left in the regular season, the New Orleans Hornets face a tough road for playoff eligibility, and playoff positioning. Jimmy Smith of the Times Picayune and nola.com has more.

Of the four Western Conference teams battling for the final playoff berths, the New Orleans Hornets, on paper, have the most difficult path on which to travel.

Beginning tonight, New Orleans has 11 regular-season games remaining — six at home, five away — including three straight beginning with Utah, followed by a Friday night visit to Phoenix and a key Sunday evening matchup against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in Staples Center.

Of those 11 games for the Hornets, 10 come against winning teams.


While the Hornets are only a game back of Portland for the 6 seed, they're also only a half game ahead of Memphis who sits in the 8 spot. The Houston Rockets, currently sitting at 9th in the West, are two and a half games back of New Orleans. Smith is right, the remaining schedule is definitely a challenge.

"It’s going to come down to us playing the best basketball we can play to try and put ourselves in a good position going into the playoffs," explained shooting guard Willie Green.

New Orleans will need to play their best basketball tonight in Salt Lake City. The last thing they want to do is begin this tough road trip by adding another game in the loss column.