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All-Star break hurtful for Hornets

Posted By Jarred LeBlanc On Mar 8 2012 @ 11:12 pm In New Orleans Hornets | No Comments

Most teams that are 8-26 and have lost three starters and a key reserve to injury welcome the All-Star weekend break with open arms.

But the All-Star weekend might have hurt the New Orleans Hornets more than it helped them.

The Hornets went into the break winning four of their last six games, and it seemed like the group of mostly reserves were starting to click together as a unit.

Sure New Orleans’ four wins were against teams that currently have a .500 record or worse — the Utah Jazz, the Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But the two losses came on the road and were an overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers and an 8-point loss to the No. 1 team in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Plus the Knicks were high on Lin-sanity (point guard Jeremy Lin) and were riding a seven-game winning streak before the Hornets went into Madison Square Garden and stung New York back into mediocrity.

Then came the All-Star break where most teams rest up, get healthy and get focused for the second half of the season.

Not the Hornets.

New Orleans has lost five of its first six games after the break, including three by double digits, and returned no players who were previously injured.

Whatever unity and flow the group gained before the break has seemed to disappear as the Hornets have looked like the team that won only four of its first 27 games rather than the team that won four of its last six games before the break.

The Hornets were plus four in turnovers over the six-game span before the break, including forcing the Knicks to turn the ball over 21 times. They fell to minus nine in turnovers over the six games after the break, including turning the ball over 20 times against the Sacramento Kings.

New Orleans was red hot from behind the arc before the All-Star break, shooting 40.86 percent from the 3-point line while holding opponents to just 29 percent.

But the Hornets have slumped after the break, shooting only 31.03 percent from the 3-point line while allowing opponents to shoot 37.35 percent.

In fact, New Orleans had missed 24-straight 3-pointers at one point during the six-game span.

Shooting guard Marco Belinelli’s shooting has dropped significantly from behind the arc since the All-Star break. He has made only six of the team’s 20 made 3-pointers since the break. During the final six games before the break, Belinelli made 14 of the team’s 35 made 3-pointers.

It might be starting to feel like summer in New Orleans, but since the All-Star break, it has been nothing but ice cold for the Hornets.


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