At the outset of the season, when his team was healthy, Hornets coach Byron Scott had a rhythm to his backcourt substitution pattern. Starter Chris Paul would take a seat at a preordained time. Backup Bobby Jackson would enter like clockwork. The door then would open for Rasual Butler. Jannero Pargo played when needed. Devin Brown hadn't even arrived yet. But now that his team gradually is regaining its health, the Hornets' backcourt has an off-beat rhythm. Such was the case Friday night in the Hornets' 90-83 victory over Minnesota before a crowd of 18,032 inside the Ford Center. For a stretch in the second quarter, Scott went with a pint-sized, three-guard lineup of Paul, Jackson and Pargo, none of whom stands taller than 6-foot-1. Scott utilized numerous backcourt combos — Paul-Brown; Butler-Pargo; Paul-Jackson; Paul-Butler; Brown-Butler-Pargo; Jackson-Pargo; Jackson-Pargo-Butler; Jackson-Pargo-Brown; Paul-Pargo-Butler. "It wasn't planned,” Scott said. "It was just one of those things.” Those directly involved in this revolving door admit they're not sure what the backcourt combination will be from one minute to the next. "We were talking about that earlier today, saying, ‘Man, it's going to be interesting,'” Brown said. "However it goes, you just go out there and try to do whatever's best for the team.” Pargo said: "I just think he (Scott) is going with whoever's playing well. In this league, that's really the best you can ask for is to get an opportunity, even if it's just for a couple minutes to see how it's going.” Jackson shook his head and said: "Yeah, I'm curious. Coach is experimenting — especially with CP back — trying to get comfortable with which guys can play together. "It worked for us tonight, so we just have to continue.” Brown, Pargo and Jackson are going through the biggest adjustments with the return of Paul. While Paul was out with a severely sprained right ankle, Pargo, Jackson and Brown were the primary ballhandlers, which made it easier for them to get into the flow of a game more quickly. Now with the ball almost exclusively in Paul's hands, the trio has to get a handle on things in a different manner. "Whenever you go from one extreme to the next, there's going to be an adjustment,” Pargo said. "We got to try to find our rhythm with him out there on the court. "Once we do that, we'll be fine.” Scott's free-for-all approach looked brilliant in the end when he was able to re-insert four rested starters (everyone but David West) in the closing minutes, which is when the Hornets were able to pull away. Obviously, no one had any complaints about Paul, who finished with 24 points (9 of 13 from the field), eight assists and four steals in only his second outing after missing 17 games. Scott: "Tonight, he was Chris Paul. He was the Chris Paul of old.” Pargo: "He's the CP that he normally is.” Jackson: "He played extremely well. You can tell he's still limping, but he was aggressive. He attacked the boards and made some shots. For us to be settled, he has to do that.” Brown: "He definitely was better tonight than he was in the first game back (Wednesday), and that's a credit to him.”
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