Hornets no longer own this crowd

By John Rohde Modified: November 22, 2008 at 9:11 am •  Published: November 22, 2008
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photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook grabs a rebound between Hilton Armstrong, left,  and Ryan Bowen of New Orleans during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008.   BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook grabs a rebound between Hilton Armstrong, left, and Ryan Bowen of New Orleans during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
A minute-by-minute blow of the Hornets’ return to Oklahoma City on Friday night:

6:37 p.m. — Roughly two hours before tipoff, the first Hornets player to step on the court is Chris Paul. Imagine that.

A few minutes later, Hornets general manager Jeff Bower walks by and playfully is asked if he can leave a few players behind.

Bower smiles, quickly answers no and adds, "We’re going to count all our players on the plane when we leave. Make sure they’re accounted for.” The two teams meet again tonight in New Orleans.

7 — The Hornets’ locker room is open to media.

Waiting inside with a smile and a handshake to all who enter are Tyson Chandler, David West, Peja Stojakovic, Rasual Butler, Hilton Armstrong, coach Byron Scott, trainer Terry Koffler and equipment manager David Jovanovic, who wanted to talk a little Oklahoma-Texas Tech football.

7:12 — Media swarm around Scott in his dressing room for a pre-game interview session.

Scott tells a New Orleans reporter he wants his 5-5 team to toughen up and play "with that fear of losing.”

The 1-11 Thunder certainly has that fear of losing.

In Scott’s first season, the Hornets went 18-64. If anyone can relate to the Thunder’s pain, it’s Scott.

Asked what was the toughest part of 18 wins, Scott quickly answers, "the 64 losses.”

Scott kept his house in north Oklahoma City, where his 22-year-old daughter resides while attending college. Scott’s son, a senior in high school this year, will join his sister at the house next school year while attending junior college.

Scott kept his membership at Oak Tree Golf Club, which is in the midst of a massive renovation. "Yeah, they’re making it harder,” Scott said, shaking his head.

Asked for his favorite memory of the Ford Center, Scott said it was opening night three years ago when the Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings, 93-67.

Scott was stunned when he went out to the court an hour before tipoff and found the stands full. "That shocked me,” Scott said.


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