New Orleans scares me.
Not the Hornets. They're a solid basketball team with some fine players but the city itself frightens me more. Every night is Halloween in New Orleans as the freaks and living dead congregate.
The pre game introductions alone featured what looked like the funeral scene of "Live and Let Die". Costumed jazz musicians, strange headdresses, elaborate hand shake rituals and pre game hugs that lingered just a little bit too long.
All a bit much to take.
As for the game itself, well, it was a good news/bad news deal for the Cavaliers. The good news is the Cavs, trailing 49-48 at the half, did not experience the typical third quarter meltdown that has come to define the Mike Brown era. No, the Cavs played the Hornets square in the third quarter to trail by just that one point heading into the fourth quarter.
And then they collapsed.
The Hornets outscored Cleveland 31-20 in a pivotal 4th quarter that saw Chris Paul, David West and James Posey take turns making big plays and big shots while the Cavs looked disjointed and rattled in a 104-92 loss at the New Orleans Arena.
There was no LeBron James bailout in the offing Saturday night in New Orleans as James struggled with his shot to the tune of 6-15 from the floor and 0-3 from the 3-point line for a very pedestrian 15 points on the night.
His newest running mate, Mo Williams, wasn't much help this night either as he shot just 5-15 from the floor himself. James and Williams, the two guys who will likely have the ball in their hands for the majority of offensive possessions for the Cavs this season, combined to commit 9 of the 17 Cavalier turnovers on the night.
New Orleans reached the 2nd round of the Western Conference playoffs last season and they are a strong and deep team. With the addition of Posey and former Cavalier Devin Brown they're a tough out for any club. And you can't suffer poor games from your two horses when you're looking to get out of there with a win.
LBJ and Williams stumbled far too often Saturday night. As a result the Cavs fell to 1-2 on the season.
Surreal. Although in New Orleans it didn't get a second look.
But on top of those already devastating abilities Paul has developed a very passable mid-range jump shot. The Cavs tried to play off Paul on numerous occasions Saturday night, fearful of his penetration and/or kick to an open shooter. But Paul consistently began to pull up in the lane and knock down 14-16 foot jumpers. He hit three such shots in the 2nd half and forced the Cavs to alter their defensive approach when the ball was in hands.
Right about that time was when Paul consistently began to penetrate again, blowing by his defender and demanding the Cavs help defensively. And that often led to wide open looks for James Posey, David West or Rasual Butler. And more often than not those guys knocked down shots, as evidenced by Paul's 15 assists that accompanied his 24 points.
We Got Next
The Cavs will catch their breath on Sunday and head to Dallas where they take on the Mavericks Monday night at 830pm. The Mavs will be coming off a 95-85 win over the Timberwolves that evens their record at 1-1. The sledding gets a bit easier with Chicago and Indiana showing up at ‘The Q' next week.