- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Although Hornets coach Monty Williams says he’ll be smart about how much he plays his starters in Wednesday night’s regular-season finale at Dallas, he wants his team to look a lot more competitive than they have recently.

Williams and several Hornets players say they’re concerned about their form following double-digit losses to Memphis on Sunday and Utah on Monday.

The Hornets clinched a playoff spot last week, but still had an opportunity to improve their seeding. Instead, they’ve slipped to eighth in the Western Conference.

Chris Paul says the Hornets must recapture the defensive intensity that made them playoff contenders.

If the Hornets finish eighth, they’ll open the postseason against top-seeded San Antonio.