The Hornets beat the Mavericks
The Hornets beat the Mavericks last night, by a score of 84-81. Beating Dallas should be a big deal, but it's the preseason, so let's not get too carried away. They were missing four starters. When guys like Brandon Bass and Jose Juan Barea are spending 24 minutes on the floor, you know it's not for real.
That said, there are some positives we can take from the game last night. Firstly, it appears that David West has no intention of sucking this year. He knocked down 7-of-10 for a game-high 17 points. Bass (8pts, 8rebs, 2blks) and Linton Johnson (12pts, 7rebs) continued to impress, while the team as a whole had 8 blocked shots, which was 14 more than we had all of last season. The free-throw shooting was also solid, with our guys knocking down 23-of-27 from the stripe.
Unfortunately, there were probably more negatives than positives in this game, starting with our redemption-seeking center, Tyson Chandler, who got in foul trouble early and finished with 3 points, 6 rebounds and 4 fouls in 22 minutes of action. I'm no expert, but I don't think you get in the All-Star game unless you end up with more points than fouls. He'll have to work on that.
Desmond Mason — who turns 29 today, btw — showed off his improved shooting stroke with a 2-of-7 performance from the field. I didn't see the game so I can't tell you if he was missing open jumpers or what the hell happened.
Also disappointing was Hilton Armstrong, who managed a foul, a steal and a rebound in eight minutes of burn, before mysteriously injuring his ribs. He'll probably be day-to-day. Today's Dallas Morning News notes that Armstrong "got schooled early by (Josh) Howard. In the first quarter, the 6-11 Armstrong was trying to guard Howard, who gave him a stutter step, then left him crumpled on the floor with a crossover move for an easy 10-foot floater."
Cedric Simmons wasn't much better than his fellow rookie, missing six of seven shots up until he buried a clutch jumper. He did snag 5 boards and swat a pair of shots, too, so not a bad debut really.
As for the other new faces: Jannero Pargo launched enough shots to score 9 points on .400 shooting (which Byron Scott apparently doesn't mind), and Bobby Jackson didn't show much, finishing with 7 points and little else.
With this being my third year of breaking down preseason games, I can tell you that none of this means much. It's all just a big misleading tease for the real shit in November.
There's a truckload of reports on the game from the Times-Picayune and the Oklahoman today, so pick your way through those for more. You can find them linked up on the news page. Some video highlights there, too.
And I'm done.