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Game On: Suns @ Hornets (and some thoughts on attendance)

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Published: April 8, 2011

Phoenix Suns (38-40) @ New Orleans Hornets (45-33)

Update- No Steve Nash. The picture below scared him off.

Pace: Suns 96.8 (8th), Hornets 90.8 (29th)
Offensive Efficiency: Suns 106.9 (9th), Hornets 104.1 (18th)
Defensive Efficiency: Suns 106.9 (22nd) , Hornets 101.8 (7th)

Caption me

It’s another must-win game for the the Hornets if they want to secure the sixth seed out West, and of course it’s occurring immediately after  day two of French Quarter Fest, a free event featuring music on 17 outdoor stages, the world’s largest jazz brunch, a children’s stage, patio tours, art shows, dance lessons and more. FQ-fest is quickly becoming one of the premier festivals in New Orleans, and and there’s a distinct possibility that it’s going to cut into the Hornets attendance (sometimes things like this go the other way, though). I couldn’t get too much information about expected attendance, other than that there are tickets available in all pricing categories, but it sounded like a safe bet the Arena won’t be packed to the brim like it should be for a crucial game on a beautiful Friday night.

If you haven’t already, buy some tickets. Prove me wrong. Normally I’m not a fan of being wrong, but tonight it would be a true pleasure.

One important opinion to note, in my mind, of attendance and fan support, is none other than Chris Paul’s brother, CJ Paul. As you might have heard, CP3 tweeted a while back about fan attendance, but it’s his brother who has commented repeatedly on the fans in New Orleans via Twitter. He’s been noticeably displeased lately, as he should be. Despite the Hornets best efforts (Groupon, ticket specials,  I’m in, etc), ticket sales remain low.

There is a lot of buzz (sorry) around town about the “I’m in” promotion, it’s certainly now common to see cars with stickers and houses with signs. The team really did a incredible job incorporating local celebrities from all different social scenes, and while it would be nice to see these celebrities on camera at game, ticket sales have still struggled to reach what anyone would call an acceptable level for a team in a three way cage match for playoff seeding in the brutal Western Conference. The average since the program was announced (before the Denver game on 3/14) is 14,188.

You can take it even a step further and look at attendance figures since “I’m in” really had time to go into full effect (after a sell-out Boston game 5 days after the press conference, in which saw the Hornets fans regularly out-cheered by those wearing Green), and that’s where it gets ugly– 13,940. That’s about 3,000 below a reasonable number for games as important as those being played in that time period by a team as good as the Hornets.

That said, the program can’t really be judged by the effectiveness of it’s ability to draw people to crowds this year, but more next year. It appears to me that it’s a long term strategy, meant to get people to buy partial or full season ticket plans  as opposed to single game tickets. A few people I’ve spoken to about the campaign have been quick to throw it under the bus, noting the low attendance since the program was announced on March 14th , but I really think it has more to do with so many fans accepting what a David West injury meant to the team’s championship aspirations. It’s hard to get people to believe that the team is capable of doing anything now that their second best player is gone, especially since most of the country never thought so to begin with.

But if they keep winning, people will come. Honestly I come out of every game a little more optimistic than I was coming in. It’s getting to that point where I am contemplating picking the Hornets in a first round series, no matter who they play. I want to pick them, I truly do, and if they keep playing the way they have been, they will have a very real chance to upset somebody in the postseason. Fact is, the fans that come are generally very good.

When they show up, they give the Hornets a real home-court advantage, something that is essential for an underdog to score an upset. The defense is already there, and Carl Landry, Chris Paul, and Trevor Ariza have really stepped up their games lately. With the team seemingly more willing to pull the trigger on shots early in the shot clock, I genuinely think that there is hope for Big Easy basektball, both this year and beyond.

As for the game tonight…

There isn’t that much to say that hasn’t been said before.

  • Locking down the paint is priority number one
  • Quick, proper rotations to prevent Phoenix from taking too many open threes is number two.
  • Paul and Landry shouldn’t struggle to score against the lowly Phoenix defense, but it’s important either Emeka, Ariza, Jack, or Belli, gets going on offense. One of them should. It is Phoenix, after all.
  • Jack off the bench is huge.

Notes from the Arena

  • Predict the final score of this game, and get a FREE HAT AND JERSEY (must be done in the forum to qualify).
  • If the Hornets finish 2-2, both Ryan and I will have correctly predicted the Hornets final regular season record. I’m hoping that we both wind up on the low side by one or two games.
  • My prediction was the 7th seed, which would be less than desirable at this point. Again, let’s hope I’m wrong.
  • I will be on WWL Radio at 4:20 to talk Hornets.
  • Check out Mikey’s post on the Hornets finishing with a good record in the SW, and Cp3’s Ode to the video replay man.
  • Hornets haven’t won three in a row since January, but they have won five of seven.
  • With a win, the Hornets will temporarily tie the Trailblazers (who play later tonight against the Lakers) and overtake them for the 6-seed, thanks to winning the season series. GO LA!
  • Marcus Thorton has a chance to help the Hornets again, as the Kings head to Memphis tonight. Go Kings!
  • I’ll be on ESPN’s Daily Dime Chat throughout the game, so stop by if you have a minute.

Notes From the Actual Arena

  • Monty Williams is the third head coach in Hornets history to make the postseason in their first year at the helm, joining Cowens (96-97), and Floyd (03-04)
  • Landry has averaged 17.7-6.8 since entering the starting lineup for D-West.
  • No Steve Nash.
  • There’s some sort of phone in thing for the “I’m in” promotion, where all game long local celebrities will be calling around to inquire if people are “in”. I’ll keep you updated.
  • Voting started today for the THN MVP award. The six names on the list so far- Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Dirk, and…
  • wait for it
  • CHRIS PAUL! Yes, it’s true. Chris Paul gets respect, as he should, from THN. Don’t be surprised if he finished top 5 in the real vote if the Hornets can score the 6-seed.

Quotes From Monty’s Pre-Game Press Conference (I missed most of it because despite living here for years and attending hundreds of games, I still can’t detour effectively when need be). Most of this is in reference to questions about guys he used to play with.

  • “They obviously never thought they would see me coaching, let alone being a head coach, and they’ve let me know a number of times”
  • “The bible says god uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, so I’m definitely one of those foolish things.”
  • “I think there’s a little bit of respect for what we’ve done, but a bit of a wild factor that I’m the one kind of heading it up. So they kind of laugh and crack their jokes after a while, but they realize we’re trying to do a good job.”
  • “I’m not that much of a dinosaur yet. My knees feel like it…”

64 Comments

  1. 42

    April 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Caption: ykcor llabteksab

  2. NOLA70118

    April 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Hell yes. Comon Hornets!!!

  3. sweetpea

    April 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    A long article was posted, I think earlier today, by JA Adende (sp?) on espn.com about CP and the Hornets. The attendance issue is driving me NUTS reminding me of when I was little fella and worrying about the city losing the Saints … so I’ve reached my own personal Zen by just enjoying the Hornets one day at a time and not going crazy over things I can’t control. And waiting for them to beat the ever-living snot out of the Suns tonight. You could say that I’m in, in other words

    • Joe Gerrity

      April 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you! Got it up in the news section.

      I wish i could take that approach, but instead I constantly think about the future. That’s what this year has done to me in terms of my fan-dom.

  4. Bee4life

    April 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I am a monster hear me roar!

  5. Longerstronger

    April 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Good write up. I agree about the attendance stuff. It’s hard to get people to believe that the team is going to do anything in the playoffs since west got hurt.

    GEAUX HORNETS

  6. Bee4life

    April 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Hornets 150-Suns 12

    Seriously hornets gotta get a win!

    • Kibner

      April 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Gotta top that 998-10 score we had against Houston for a few seconds the other night.

  7. pinoyballah

    April 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Caption: “Daaaaamn, he just got chin-checked”

  8. Bee4life

    April 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    And can I get a BEE DAT!

    Fan up was way better than i’m in. I’m in was stolen from Auburn.

  9. Kibner

    April 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    The Kings were already by second favorite team with Cousins and Evans. Now that they have Marcus, they are even more entertaining (but oh so frustrating) to watch. Wish them the best in games that a win won’t negatively affect the Hornets.

    • MaxALM

      April 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      I really like the Kings alot too, even before they can MT

  10. Hornetsfan101

    April 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Oh no… I’m going to have to wear a plastic mask

  11. Hornetsfan101

    April 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Great site by the way. Just found it. Awesommmmmmme. So much better than T-P. That place is just quotes, and quotes and more quotes. Who cares what dudes have to say or about points per game? That crap dont matta!

    ADVANCED STATS FOR LIFE!

  12. GreenBee

    April 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Thought the bees were dead a week ago. Now I’m not so sure. There is life in the Hive!

  13. 504ever

    April 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Joe,

    Your point about the “I’m in” program being long term are very well taken. Everyone show up and

    GO HORNETS!!!!!

  14. NolaHog

    April 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I was thinking about the attendance issue the other day, also. There were thousands of people @ Wednesday on the Square, but a small crowd in the arena. French Quarter fest represents the same scenario. The organization needs to be better at partnering with these events. If they had some sort of promotional ticket deal with the Square organizers (YLC), all of the people could have headed over to the game after the concert. Same thoughts for FQ fest.
    I read the ESPN article today about small market NBA teams, and they talked about how small markets have to build their teams slowly so that they’re sustainable. Specfically, they talked about OKC and brought up the point that with absolutely nothing else to do in the state of Oklahoma, attendance won’t waiver in the face of rebuilding, because “what else do the fans have to compete for their interests?” They then talked about how big markets have to make pricey moves, because if they’re not competing in a big city, people will lose interest quickly, because they’ve got other entertainment options.
    New Orleans is an enigma, because as far as potential fan base size, we are one of the smallest markets. As all of us that live here know, however, New Orleans has as much entertainment as any city in America. That’s what makes our market tough, but if the product is good (Saints), people will still come out to support it.
    The Hornets have lost a lot of fan support over the past couple of years because of some poor play and some bad luck. For starters, the epic tank against the Nuggets was where it all started. The follow up season with Chris Paul out for most of the season and the Hornets missing the playoffs was a massive blow, magnified by the Saints dream season. The Hornets were effectively forgotten at that point, and then we changed over 80% of our roster and management. New Orleanians were like, “Oh yeah, what are the Hornets up to?” only to find out that there were all new people on the team. Obviously, the problems from the Chris Paul rumors and the sale of the team to the NBA don’t need to explained.
    I agree with Joe, if the team wins and can be competitive in the playoffs, the fans will return. Even though this is a tough market, the silver lining that I realized after reading the ESPN article became obvious. Even though we’re a small market team, guys want to come play here. Millwauke and Cleveland and Sacramento are worried that players won’t think their cities are glitzy enough to live in, and they pass them over for cooler cities (LA, NY, Chi). Fortunately, New Orleans has glitz to go around, even if it hurts us at times like these.

    • Joe Gerrity

      April 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      This is probably Journal length. Very good points.

      This summer I’m going to put together a “sales pitch” if you will, for perspective free agents who are being pursued by New Orleans to take a look at. It will apply to both the Saints and Hornets.

      The benefits to being an athlete here are pretty substantial.

    • 42

      April 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      NolaHog . . . Tickets?

  15. Bee4life

    April 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Done and done. To the Hive I go. Guess I gotta support the team. Long drive, but if the team needs me that bad then im there!

    If I lived in nola i’d go to every game, but it’s hard out here in baton rouge.

  16. Drugoas

    April 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Can i get a FAN UP!?!?! That was the best.

  17. bywas2001hornets4ever225

    April 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Hornets- 102
    Suns- 95

  18. Mikey

    April 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Well… I had to put my tickets on Hornets ticket exchange due to competing priorities. Usually when I sell my tickets thru that program, they don’t sell till the 11th hour. Well, this time my tickets sold yesterday. I’ll take that as an encouraging sign that the crowd will be good.

  19. 42

    April 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    • Gec

      April 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      he found a ‘meka in his way to the basket

  20. ur_gmas_daughter

    April 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Caption: (in kid voice) “Coach Williams, Steve is trying to take my balllll”

  21. James Online

    April 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Caption: Nash: “Hey, Chris, ever get the MVP?”

  22. James Online

    April 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Honestly, if an event in the FQ limits the Hornets’ attendance then the Bees really are out of town next year.

    • 42

      April 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      It certainly won’t affect tickets distributed to season ticket holders.

      By the way, I added 6 seats to my plan today. The ones I talked about yesterday.

      So, I have my 10 season tickets (personal and work groups) and 2 more a friend of mine has that ‘spun off’, so 12 in the ‘collective’.

      So that’s 6 new from me (exceeded my goal of 2), plus the 2 from thechosenuno, 4 from Chris Trew, and 4 from the site. 16 of 50 in about a week.

      The rep said sales have picked up since the playoffs were announced. Time will tell, of course.

      Anyone else add season tickets yet?

      • AllBall

        April 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

        If I lived in the US, I would be there. I am actually planning a trip to New Orleans for next season with my girl and my 1 year old boy. That was a bit off topic, but can I just say that I love the positive attitude you have, as well as your intricate knowledge of the team and city.

      • 42

        April 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm

        You let us know when you come and, I think I can speak for Joe and the locals, we’ll help you to the extent you want in finding good stuff for you, your lady, and the 1 (2) year old. If it’s during the season, I have 10 seats and 1 ass, so I can usually hook up a visitor with tickets by horsetrading with my ticketmates or just hand you mine.

        And you’d know alot about this place if you knew how obscenely good the food is, and obscene was a Brit’s term, not mine, so you can take that to the bank.

  23. AllBall

    April 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    James Online, are you actually a Hornet fan? I read most comments, do not comment often, but you are way more pessimistic than realistic.

  24. Chuck

    April 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Caption:

    Paul: “MY BALL!! MY BALL!!!!!”
    Nash: “Whoa, it’s cool man, it’s cool”

  25. AllBall

    April 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    42, there was no reply button next to your comment, but thanks for the kind offer and I will talk to you more about that when I have booked the tickets.

    • 42

      April 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      They seem to go only 3 deep, the comments.

      You’d think computers could count higher, eh?

      • RobertM320

        April 9, 2011 at 11:14 am

        42,
        Regarding the comments… when the comments are at three deep, if you click on the highest up comment that has a reply button, it puts your comment in the proper order.

      • 42

        April 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

        Yes yes.

        It just seems odd to me.

        I know it’s a formatting/neatness thing, but it just seems weird that they don’t all have reply and just stop adding indenture.

  26. pinoyballah

    April 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    caption:
    “Nash-comeon Chris, let me rest my head on your shoulder
    CP-OH HELLL NAH”

  27. rmorales07

    April 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    im out of NOLA this weekend.. can someone give me links to watch the game?

    • cp3pdx

      April 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      its on nbatv if that helps

  28. Kyle

    April 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Caption: Nash doesn’t like him when he’s angry…

  29. cp3pdx

    April 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I would pay to see Gray vs Siller in a buffet line

    • paul

      April 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      i am soooooooooooooooo weary of this trash talk.

  30. Mike Bee

    April 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    J Smith and Willie Green come in an the energy goes nuts.

    Landry is going to be a problem with a lengthy team like this.

  31. Gec

    April 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Caption:

    Nash: mmmmmh let me touch your boobs
    Paul: i’m a man and THAT’S A BASKETBALL (scores)

  32. Gec

    April 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    the hive is on fire tonight! So loud!

  33. JCS

    April 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Alvin Gentry jumping out his shoes made me LOL

  34. justinho

    April 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Man, that was some kind of atrocious call on Landry against Carter. Way to punish great active defense, douchebags.

  35. f.g. di bene

    April 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    this marco management has to change. if you want a confident shooter in the playoff you can’t play him and get him pay for every team mistake.

    • sweetpea

      April 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      When Marco played at Golden State he attacked the rim a lot more than he does with the Hornets. Those were by far his best years in the NBA too. I’m surprised Coach doesn’t let him do that more; the few games he’s done so with the Bees he’s looked real good. Marco is a bit like Trevor in that regard.

  36. sweetpea

    April 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Trevor and Willie ate some Wheaties this morning!

  37. cp3pdx

    April 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Good half, especially by Willie. Lets go at Gortat to start the 3rd. We get him in foul trouble, this will get easy.

  38. justinho

    April 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    This is the type of situation where Chris Paul is going to have to realize how they’re playing him and take advantage. They’ve put Grant Hill on him for his length and just sagged off by at least 3-4 feet almost every time, going under every screen, begging Paul to shoot.

    Paul is going to have to start being assertive and oblige.

  39. justinho

    April 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    The fact that Cheryl Miller’s hairdo looks so similar to Aaron Gray’s is not a good thing for Cheryl.

    • JCS

      April 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      Cheryl has the body of a man and Aaron has the teets of a woman.

  40. Go Blue

    April 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Gooooooooooooooo Willie!!!!!!!!! that dude is beyond excited!

  41. peronas

    April 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Hive so loud Victor is getting drowned out while trying to give the sideline report lol

  42. BIG ROB

    April 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    WILLE KILLING THE SUNS OH YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  43. Bee-fense

    April 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Any word on what the official attendance is?

    • CP3nBrees

      April 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      approximately 15K

  44. Gec

    April 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    the hornets won a game with offense!
    Willie why after 12/12 you evens shot the ball 🙁

  45. chiefyoungblood

    April 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    hittin’ that playoff stride

    Ariza 3 very good games in a row ( fingers crossed )

  46. James Grayson

    April 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Lol Willie Green is trending Worldwide on Twitter…

  47. Pingback: Hornets limp into the second season | davegladow.com

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