We keep telling you not to read too much into preseason games — coaches are resting key players, experimenting with lineups, giving quality minutes to D-League guys and there just generally is not a sense of urgency. It’s a scrimmage, not a game.
But when you get really blown out by a high school like score, is there something there?
That’s what the Hornets and they fans are asking themselves after the Magic beat them by 54 points Sunday. There were mitigating factors with the loss — David West did not play, and the Magic were opening their new Amway Center so they had genuine motivation. But still, 54 points.
“It was all bad,” Paul said Sunday night after his Hornets were thrashed like an overmatched high school team, 135-81, by the Orlando Magic. “It’s definitely a concern, a concern on how we react.”
“There have been a lot of good things taking place off the court (in New Orleans). It’s a different culture. We’re building an identity,” he said. “If it translates onto the court, it should be a good season. It’s up to the players now.”
Read whatever “Chris Paul wants a trade” implications you wish into that sentence. We’re done with that game for a bit.
But the game seemed to signal the gulf between where the Magic are and where Paul wants them to be. It is a wide one. One GM Dell Demps is going to have a real challenge closing.
It is not the only total blowout this preseason — Golden State destroyed the Clippers by 40, the Raptors beat the Suns by 51. In those cases it seemed more like the fluke preseason game of more evenly matched teams.
Orlando’s throttling of New Orleans did not feel that way. It that feeling is correct, it may be a rough sign for the Hornets season.