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Conversing with the Enemy: At The Hive

In our series of Q&As this is the second we've done with At The Hive. These were done before we lost last night so the first questions may seem a little out of place, but here they are. Check out At The Hive and Hornets24/7 as both are fantastic Hornets blogs: (You can see our side of the story here)

1. I know you are doing this just to jinx us into losing tonight against the Celtics, but I’m going to give you a pass. So, let’s say, hypothetically, because it might not happen, but maybe the Rockets come into the Hive at 23 in a row. This would be the Hornets third time to try and stop the streak. They had a chance to after 10 at New Orleans , and one after 17 in Houston , and were not able to end it. What do you think it will take for the Hornets to finally throw the Rockets streak for a loop? You know, if they still have the streak…

At The Hive: 2 major things: First off, fix up the recent defensive problems. Houston does come in tied for the 5th worst offense in the West, in terms of efficiency, but the Hornets have definitely "struggled" defensively against the likes of New York and Washington. Believe it or not, I'm not worried at all about the Peja on T-Mac match up; Peja's done a passable job (far more than I ever expected), and Chandler provides great help defense. Instead, the guy I'm worried about is Paul (and his ankle)- he's missed quite a few defensive rotations, and that won't bode well against shooters like Battier and Alston.

Offense will be much, much more difficult since the Rockets are the number 1 defensive team in the West. The key for us will be David West, and how healthy that ankle is. If Peja and/or Mo-Pete are feeling it, I really like our chances. Through all this, I'm of course taking for granted the awesomeness of Chris Paul.

2. Will David West play? Is the injury possibly worse than they are letting on? Or is he just prepping for the week off since Xavier has a 3 seed in the NCAA tourney and he wants to watch?

At The Hive: As I kind of alluded to above, I'm pretty sure he'll be playing. He did practice yesterday with "no apparent limitations." West did mention some slight swelling, but he really seemed like wanted to play tomorrow. So basically Byron's final say could be the only thing preventing him from returning. As far as the severity of this injury goes, I'd have to say it's not that terrible. It's one of those nagging injuries he's had now for almost 2 seasons, and he just keeps re-aggravating it.

3. I firmly believe Chris Paul is the MVP of the league this year. Why is he better than Kobe and Lebron this year in your opinion? Or are you willing to go out on a limb in front of your Hornets’ fan readers and say he’s not?

At The Hive: Haha, no way, I'm with you on this one. I base most of my thought process off statistics, since I think leadership, grit etc. is largely overrated and for the most part captured by the statistics themselves. Going defensively, Oliver's Defensive Rating has Paul #1 (103 Points Allowed/Possession) and James and Bryant virtually tied for #2 with 104. Before we go further, I need to point out how amazing that is... a 6' 0'' point guard contributing more on the defensive end than a 6'8" 240 lb, linebacker like forward, and a former All-Defense first teamer? That's absurd.

Offensively, Oliver has Paul #1 (125), James #2 (117) and Bryant #3 (114). Hollinger has James slightly better than Paul, with the two 1-2 in PER. However, PER isn't normalized for position- a point guard is supposed to have a lower league average PER just because of the way the game is played today. So I contend that Paul's 28.7 is actually more impressive than James' 30.

The thing that hurts Paul in the race is that he doesn't score as much himself. Most people would say "give me Kobe" or "give me Lebron" for a last second situation, since they can envision either one hitting a game winner. It's harder to glorify a guy passing to a scrub for a game winning layup.

4. Exactly how many girls has Bonzi infected with an STD since coming to the Crescent City ? Is he keeping the team out all night at the clubs like he did here in Houston ? And how mad are Hornets fans that we stole Bobby Jackson from you?

At The Hive: Hahah, so far he's already managed to violate the dress code once. Other than that, he's fit our second unit very nicely. As far as B-Jax is concerned, I think most Hornet fans were pretty... I don't want to say "pleased," but perhaps "indifferent in a positive way" with him leaving. We had two 6 footers backing up another 6 footer, so it was good to get some forward depth in return.

5. What’s your prediction for how the NBA regular season playoffs? Give me your 1-8 and your eventual Western Conference finals prediction.

At The Hive: Ah, way to put me on the spot. Okay, here goes:
1. Los Angeles
2. New Orleans
3. Utah
4. Houston
5. Dallas
6. Phoenix
7. San Antonio
8. Denver

I still think Los Angeles comes out of the West.