After last Saturday's surprise blowout of the San Antonio Spurs, 102-78, the New Orleans Hornets were on a roll and put together a nine game wining streak, before losing to the Golden State Warriors last Wednesday 103-116. Nevertheless the Hornets, who started out a solid 20-11, were an amazing 12-2 in the month of January and are 32-15 overall, tied for second in the Western Conference. This season the Hornets are 4-2 against Western Conference powers (San Antonio, Phoenix, and Dallas) and starting to prove to everyone that they too want to be in this elite category of teams.
Their starting point guard, Chris Paul, has been outstanding this season averaging 20.3 points per game and 10.8 assists per game while shooting 48% from the field. David West is also dominating at the power forward position averaging about 19 points and 9 rebounds per game; add a rejuvenated three-point shooting Peja Stojakovic and newly assertive big man play from center Tyson Chandler and you have a quality starting lineup. Chandler has been a long time disappointment because of the trade that he was involved in for Elton Brand, one of the best power forwards in the NBA since 1999.
Outlook & Predictions: I look for the New Orleans Hornets to cool down some the next few months, but come playoff time I think the veteran teams of the Western Conference will prevail, at least this year. With that said, if their core stays the same over the offseason, these Hornets could be good for the next few years. I think the Hornets end the season 55-27 as the Western Conference #4 Seed and take an early second round playoff exit.