Monty Williams hardly dwelling on Hornets’ dramatic victory

The last Chris Paul floating jump shot of the afternoon had barely found its destination in Game 1 before Hornets Coach Monty Williams was quickly putting Sunday’s victory over the Lakers in proper perspective.

Williams, before addressing his team, got together with his staff and pulled out another sporting analogy.

Take a guess. One hint: He did go to Notre Dame.

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“For us, winning Game 1 against a team like the Lakers was like getting the first down,” Williams said on Tuesday after a practice at USC’s Galen Center. “The [series] is a long ways from being over. We have a lot more to do. We didn’t dwell on it. As a staff, and as a unit, we’ve talked about the first quarter of Game 2, and that’s as far as we’re going to go with it.”

Other than the football usage, that’s boilerplate stuff from a coach after the first or even second victory of an NBA playoff series.


But Williams, 39, the league’s youngest coach, was managing to sound fresh and even entertaining. He was funny when asked about the two days off between games. Game 2 between the Lakers and the Hornets will be Wednesday night at Staples Center.

“We needed it. It’s helped us,” he said. “Obviously, I’m supposed to say I wish we could play again tomorrow or the next day after the game.

"… Saying you’re ready to get right back into bed with them. I’m not that crazy. … I may look like it.”

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The underdog role still fits nicely.

“You’ve got to understand this situation comes along only once in a lifetime,” Williams said. “You’ve got to relish it. Nobody has given us a chance all year long. I’ve pushed that point all year. You haven’t done anything. People still expect you to get smacked. They still expect a sweep, from here. And if you think otherwise, you’re in for a rude awakening.”

The Hornets are expecting a different Pau Gasol. Not the one who shot two for nine from the field for eight points or the one guarding, at times, Paul.

“Well, I know he’s going to have a different mentality coming into tomorrow’s game,” Carl Landry said of Gasol. “I’m sure he picked up the paper, watched TV, and everybody is talking about him, that he’s one of the main reasons why they lost the game.

“So I know he’s going to come out aggressive. We’ve just got to be prepared. When he throws his punch we’ve got to take it and throw our punch as well.”


Williams provided an update on reserve center Aaron Gray, who remains questionable with a sprained right ankle.

“He’s day to day,” Williams said. “We’re going to see tomorrow how he feels. He got a chance to do some rehab today, took some shots around the basket. Our trainer has done an excellent job of getting that swelling out of his ankle.”

Said Landry: “He played out of his mind in Game 1. It’s crucial that we have Aaron, but at the same time, we’ve got other guys if he doesn’t play.”