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Monday, 18 April 2011 19:41

Eager New Orleans Hornets Early Surprise Against Lakers In Playoffs

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The New Orleans Hornets surprised the nation with its upset of the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, but, perhaps the underdogs were not surprised at all.

Here are some highlights of first game of the playoff:



Hornets Post Game Quotes

Head coach Monty Williams (On beating the heavily favored Lakers): "I'm glad our guys came to fight -- that was the mantra for the week. We said that we had to be strong and courageous no matter what the situation. You're playing against the defending champs, who we have so much respect for -- the way they play the game, what they've done over the years, and we can't match that with anything else but fight. And so we got a big win, the biggest win of the year."

(On Chris Paul's performance and execution): "When he's fresh nobody can get in front of him. The pick and roll is what he does sometimes, I tend to mess with the game by trying to run too many 'basketball sets' when sometimes I just need to give him the ball and let him go to work. He and I were on the same page tonight as far as calling plays."

(On the series moving forward): "We still have to do the same thing. No. I take that back. We have to do more of what we did tonight. We have to have more because we're playing against the defending champs."

Hornets guard Chris Paul (On his performance): "Yeah, I just felt good tonight,  The guys will tell you I've struggled all season long, trying to figure out where to pick my spots, but it's the playoffs. It's a whole another energy, it's a whole another thing. We came over here last night, a bunch of us, and got shots done. It was a good game for us tonight."

(On needing the win today for 'belief!.'): "We needed to beat them so we had one game is the seven-game series. It's one of those things. I'm not a huge vet, but I've been in the NBA six years and played in the playoffs before and the regular season doesn't matter. There's teams that win 60 games, there's teams that win 45 games, and once you get to the playoffs you have a clean slate. And that's how we tried to approach this game."

Eager Beavers

Associated Press: Chris Paul and a few teammates sneaked across the street from their hotel to Staples Center the night before the Hornets began the postseason, eagerly hoisting up a few shots in the shadows of the Lakers' imposing banners.

With their tumultuous regular season finally a memory, Paul said the Hornets were almost unbearably eager for the playoffs to start.

Maybe that's why New Orleans go the drop on the defending champions in a stunning series opener.

Hornets center Aaron Gray suffered an ankle injury with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter. He was writhing in pain on the floor before he was helped to the locker room by trainers. He played 18 minutes and scored 12 points.

ESPN: "To the rest of us it might  have sounded like Chris Paul was stating the obvious. Apparently it's something the Los Angeles Lakers need to hear, because they might be the only people in the NBA universe who don't realize what's transpiring.

"It's the playoffs," said Paul. "It's the playoffs. man. It's a whole 'nother energy, it's a whole 'nother thing."

You could hear the excitement in his voice, as if he were announcing the birth of a child. Yes, the playoffs have started, with tall that entails such as the requisite demand for greater intensity and sharper execution. None of that was there for the Lakers Saturday night.

Bill Plaschke, LA Times: "No,they didn't.

No, the Lakers did not just glance up at the scoreboard around mid-afternoon to discover themselves thoroughly whipped in their postseason opener by the thoroughly outmanned Hornets."

Mike Bresnahan: "Long after the Lakers finished fumbling their playoff opener, Paul Gasol stayed on a table in the trainer's room, flat on his back, eyes closed.

"There was plenty to ponder.

"He picked a bad time to be more white swan than black swan, to steal Kobe Bryant's comparison earlier this season.

SOME hither, others yon:  Chris Paul has been selected to's second team All-NBA squad.  Writes the website: “If we had to pick one point guard to run our team in Game 7 of the Finals, we'd take Paul, who has grown into an elite shooter and this season perhaps played the best-all-around defense of his career. His career took a weird dip around the All-Star break, and that's enough to win the first point guard spot to the Bulls' Derrick Rose."...

by Ed Staton


Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.