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Old 10-31-2008, 09:45 PM   #1
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Default Hornets already feeling Posey's presence

NEW ORLEANS (AP)—When James Posey checks into a basketball game, he reaches down below his black knee pads and pulls a mouthpiece out of his sock.

Call it the sweet taste of success for a guy who makes a living playing defense.

The New Orleans Hornets certainly didn’t make the acquisition of Posey their top priority in free agency because of his career scoring average of 9.2 points. As coach Byron Scott likes to point out, Posey’s two championship rings say a lot more about the nine-year veteran’s value than his statistics.

“He’s like a few players in this league that can affect a game without scoring,” Scott said. “He’s going to take the charge, he’s going to guard the best players, he’s going to communicate at all times.

“I loved him for all those reasons,” Scott said. “He’s won where he’s been. He hits big shots in big games, he defends the best players almost every night.”

When New Orleans’ lost to San Antonio in the seventh game of a second-round playoff series last spring, Scott still thought his younger squad looked more vigorous and more talented than the Spurs. What they lacked was the defensive toughness and playoff savvy to close out a series against veteran team that had won titles before.

Scott didn’t want another scorer or another developmental project through the draft. He wanted a players who’d proven he could help teams win championships, as Posey had done with Miami in 2006 and with Boston last season.

So the Hornets sold their first-round draft choice, which freed up cash they needed to sign Posey to a four-year, $25 million deal.

Posey’s stock as a free agent rose during the Celtics’ title run, when he accepted and excelled at supremely difficult defensive assignments. In a first-round series against Atlanta, he guarded Joe Johnson. In the second round against Cleveland, LeBron James. In the third round against Detroit, Richard Hamilton. And in the finals? Who else, Kobe Bryant.

And while Posey isn’t known for prolific scoring, he can drive opposing defenses mad with his knack for draining clutch perimeter shots.

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Old 11-01-2008, 09:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hornets already feeling Posey's presence

Posey looking too nice out there tonite!
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