Rattling off eight straight wins to open the year, and leading the NBA with an 11-1 start, the New Orleans Hornets are now trying to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff race.
Entering this week with an 18-13 record and ranked sixth in the West, the Hornets can restore the perception of the team with a strong showing this week.
Facing the two teams from last seasons NBA Finals, New Orleans can quickly prove they belong in the fight for playoff contention.
Wins and losses aren’t the only things the franchise has to deal with this season. Needing to average 14,213 fans or face the possibility of relocation, the Hornets have seen a slight boost in their attendance figures.
The team had an annoucned crowd of 15,626 at its last home game and will likely sellout its next home game against the Lakers.
If the team can average just over 15,000 fans by the end of January, the Hornets can erase any notion of the team moving away, even with new ownership.
Hosting Philadelphia, Golden State, Orlando, Toronto, Memphis, San Antonio and Oklahoma City next month, especially with a playoff caliber team on the floor, New Orleans can keep the NBA in its city.
NBA TV Fan Night Game of the Week
The best rivalry in the Western Conference kicks off their first of four meetings on NBA TV. The Lakers are coming off an embarrassing loss on Christmas at home to the Heat and need to knock off a top tier team to get back into the top of the West. San Antonio was destroyed by the Magic and is looking to prove they are as good as their record indicates.
Wednesday 8 p.m. ET
A sellout for the Hornets is just one step closer to keeping the team in New Orleans. David West has silently taken over the scoring load for the team as Chris Paul has slumped a bit offensively. New Orleans should have the upperhand in this contest with the Lakers playing on the road for the second straight night.
This contest will answer the question of which team is for real. The Knicks lost some credibility by falling to Boston, Miami and Cleveland after winning 13 out of 14 games. The revamped Orlando Magic have beaten the Spurs, playing its second game in as many nights and the shorthanded Celtics on Christamas. The winner takes another step towards being a contender in the East.
These two teams each have won 50 games or more for the past 10 seasons. Both are led by future Hall-of-Fame forwards severely under appreciated for their talents. One of the biggest games of the year, this matchup will set the tone to finish the 2010 portion of the NBA season.
Friday 3 p.m. ET
A matinee game, the Celtics must find a way to get their offense back without Rajon Rondo running the point. Boston struggled offensively to start and close its game with the Magic on Christmas, with a streaky team like the Hornets, the Celtics can’t fall behind early.
Saturday 8:30 p.m. ET
Fresh off his 44 point performance on Christmas, and more importantly, shooting 14-for-20 from the field, Kevin Durant is actually starting to shoot the ball well. Still the leading scorer in the league, Durant struggled from the field to open the season, but his outburst against the Nuggets raised his scoring average to over 28 points per game and nearly two points ahead of his nearest competition, Amar’e Stoudemire.
Upcoming Fan Night Choices
Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks
Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks
Atlanta Hawks at Sacramento Kings
Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers
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