Posted by Royce Young
I don't think the Hornets could've pictured a more perfect result in Los Angeles Sunday. They walked in to Staples without anyone giving them any kind of a chance and upset the defending champs 109-100 behind a huge day from the best point guard in basketball, Chris Paul. (Yeah, remember him?)
But with a minute left, the Hornets perfect day got a small smudge put on it as center Aaron Gray went down with a nasty looking rolled ankle. Gray had to be helped off the floor and appeared to be in a great deal of pain. Obviously he'll have X-rays and all the like, but I'm assuming he's doubtful for Game 2, and potentially the rest of the series. The way he grabbed high up on his leg said high ankle sprain and those are no fun.
This is a bigger blow than you might initially think. Yes, I realize we're talking Aaron Gray here, but the seven-footer was very productive Sunday for New Orleans scoring 12 points on 5-5 shooting in 20 minutes. His value inside on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol definitely didn't show up in the box score. And with the Hornets already missing David West, they're very thin on the interior already. So subtracting Gray will definitely hurt them going forward.
It's an injury though that's a lot more important than it seems at first glance but when Chris Paul plays like Chris Paul, the Hornets can pretty much plug in anyone. Jason Smith and D.J. Mbenga will be called upon in bigger ways now to back up Emeka Okafor.
But the Hornets lead 1-0 though and if you'd have handed them at least a split in L.A. a week ago, they probably would've said, "OK, we'll trade a win in Game 1 for Aaron Gray, straight up."