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Archive for Sunday, May 18, 2008

West showing improvement

May 18, 2008

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— A hard shot to David West's ailing back finished him for the fourth quarter of the Hornets' blowout loss at San Antonio in Game 6.

Game 7 on Monday night is another matter entirely.

One day of rest proved enough for the Hornets' All-Star forward to get back on the court for Saturday's practice, working on his game-changing array of mid-range jumpers, fadeaways and post-up moves.

That was a relief to teammates, who were understandably concerned when West was face-down on the court Thursday night in San Antonio, his left arm bent awkwardly over his lower back, after a hard screen set from behind by Spurs veteran Robert Horry.

"If you come to practice and one of your best players is hurt, and you see him out here getting some shots up, that's the sign of a warrior," Hornets guard Morris Peterson said.

"That's a sign of somebody who is putting the team in front of himself. That's the kind of guy he is. It did feel good to see him out there. It gave guys more confidence that he's going to play Monday."

With both teams taking Friday off, Horry was greeted on Saturday with lingering questions about his motives for the hard foul that resulted in West being helped to the locker room with team personnel propping him up from each side.

Although West had not played well to that point in Game 6, going 4-for-14 for 10 points, he dominated the Spurs in the Hornets' Game 5 victory in New Orleans on Tuesday, playing through a pinched nerve in his back while reaching playoff career highs of 38 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.

West averaged 20.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in the regular season.

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