Pump Up Music: Rob Base and DJ E Z Rock -- "It Takes Two"
The Big Picture: We're going to miss seeing Chris Paul tonight, which, in the cold-blooded world of a playoff run is a good thing, but for basketball aesthetics is our loss. Paul had surgery on his injured knee, which will keep him out four to six weeks. This will cause the Hornets to lose games they otherwise would have won, no question, but they're not exactly throwing scrubs out there in Paul's place.
Darren Collison is doing what he did all along at UCLA, plugging away in someone else's shadow and mostly forgotten, but getting reasonably good results. In this Year of the Rookie Point Guard, Collison is forgotten, but he's better than a lot of the veteran alternatives floating around out there, like... Jason Hart, who's on a ten-day contract and the Hornets' backup PG. Did I say they weren't exactly throwing scrubs out there? I was right, because Hart is the only scrub, singular, they'll be throwing out there.
Secondly, if Tyson Chandler plays, please let him play only the minutes DeSagana Diop was getting. We do need him back, because he's much better than Diop, but it appears that, for now, an offense-defense platoon of Nazr Mohammed and Chandler would be best.
Key to Victory: The Hornets don't have a top-tier scorer who jumps out off their roster page, but at least with Paul in the lineup, there was an established hierarchy. With David West, apparently, now at the top of that hierarchy, I feel much more comfortable about the Cats' chances, and I'll be interested to see if the back off their trapping against the rookie and scrub PGs. Why? If the offense works because Chris Paul makes it work, and West, Emeka Okafor, Marcus Thornton, and Peja Stojakovic are all miscast as offensive finishers in a traditional offense, then let's see what they do getting fed by a human point guard against a solid half-court defense. Without the aggressive trapping, it will force someone to create, when I think they'd prefer to have more isolation moments.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Just in case you were wondering, Marcus Thornton is Al Thornton's first cousin.