Detroit Pistons v New Orleans Hornets

PBT Season Preview: New Orleans Hornets

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Last season: 46-36, tied with Memphis but on a tiebreaker drew the Lakers in the first round, which got them knocked out.

Head Coach: Monty Williams, entering just his second season at the head of an NBA team.

Key Departures: Chris Paul, who is now throwing lobs to Blake Griffin, and David West, who left via free agency for Indiana. For those scoring at home, that’s nearly 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists per game. Good luck replacing that.

Key Additions: Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, plus Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick. Plus, they re-signed Carl Landry.

Best case scenario: The league finds an owner that wants to keep the Hornets in New Orleans.

As for on the court, in theory, with a starting lineup of Jarrett Jack, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor (plus a few solid bench players) they could be a solid team in the West that could try and compete for the seven or eight seed….

But why?

More likely the Hornets will: Let’s be honest — with the Chris Paul trade the Hornets enter rebuilding mode. The Hornets can fight the good fight on the court and try to make the playoffs, but they are better off trying to flip Kaman’s contract (and Okafor’s, if they can find a taker) for young players and picks. This is a deep draft, they are better off to jump into rebuilding with both feet.

Prediction: 20-46. That gets them a lot of ping-pong balls in the lottery, which is what they should be after. A couple high picks to go with Eric Gordon and you start to build something for that the next owner.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.