Hornets making adjustments without West

Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

View results

WESTWEGO, LA. (AP) - Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets hope they can keep opponents guessing about the style they’ll play as they try to make a playoff push without top-scoring power forward David West.

It shouldn’t be too hard, given that the Hornets are still trying to figure that out themselves.

“We don’t know what type of team we are,” Paul said after Tuesday’s practice. “While (opponents) are guessing, we’re guessing, too. We’ve got to find out.”

Now holding the seventh of eight playoff seeds in the Western Conference, the Hornets (42-32) have eight regular-season games remaining _ six at home _ starting when they host sixth-place Portland (43-31) on Wednesday night.

A victory would move New Orleans into sixth and give the Hornets a tiebreaker over the Blazers, should that be a factor in deciding playoff seedings.

West, who was averaging 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 35 minutes before his season-ending ligament tear in his left knee.

In West’s absence, the Hornets have seen an increase in production from Carl Landry, who was acquired in a trade to give the Hornets more depth in the frontcourt. In two starts since West went down, Landry has averaged a team-best 21.5 points and eight rebounds and has shot 50 percent in 37.3 minutes per game.

“I welcome the production we’ve gotten from Carl on a night-in, night-out basis,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “If he can score like that, it’s going to make it easier on other guys.

“That’s not the problem,” Williams said. “The problem is not having the guy off the bench to do what Carl was doing. That’s something we have to figure out on the fly.”

Williams has been experimenting with a range of combinations lately. One involves starting center Emeka Okafor spending some time playing power forward while 7-foot reserve center Aaron Gray is on the floor.

When West went down at the end of regulation at Utah last Thursday night, the Okafor-Gray combination was effective in overtime, when the Hornets pulled out a victory.

The 6-10 Okafor, who counts quickness and agility among his strengths, sometimes moves out to defend away from the basket anyway, so alternating between center and power forward comes naturally to him, teammates said.

“It’s great,” Gray said of his pairing inside with Okafor. “It helps us out in rebounding. It helps us matching up. … Carl has done a great job stepping up for us, but there are going to be times where he needs a rest (or is in) foul trouble, and who knows what could happen?”

Williams said another move he’ll make, when opponents have smaller lineups on the floor, is to play reserve point guard Jarrett Jack in the backcourt with Paul.

In those instances, Paul could move to shooting guard, which would relieve him of some on-the-ball pressure and the fatigue that comes with it. Meanwhile, 6-8 swing player Trevor Ariza could move from small forward to power forward, Williams said.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Nathan Walker waits to take the ice during the Capitals' development camp at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Monday, July 9, 2012. (Ryan M.L. Young/The Washington Times)

    Nathan Walker’s NHL dreams send him around the world

  • Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon, third from left, smiles as he warms up with his teammates who were were wearing t-shirts in support of him for the All Star game before an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Anthony Rendon not an All-Star, but he’s been Nats’ MVP

  • Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks during a media availability in the dugout before an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    LOVERRO: Suck-up Buck Showalter needs history lesson

  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Celebrities In The News
  • This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. The president urged young people to sign up for the new health care plan through an appearance posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the comic website Funny or Die, bypassing TV talk show titans like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel for an online audience. (AP Photo/Funny Or Die)

    Obama’s ‘Ferns’ interview gets Emmy nod

  • ** FILE ** In this Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    Alec Baldwin in talks to play Rob Ford-like mayor in new NBC drama

  • Dinesh D'Souza's "America: Imagine the World Without Her" got promising reviews from two major Hollywood publications. It opens nationwide Wednesday.

    D’Souza on Costco debacle: ‘It was really bizarre’