The Hornets beat the Bobcats
The Hornets got back on track with their 94-85 win over the Bobcats yesterday (box | recap | video | photos). This means they still have a shot at that 78-4 record. Just have to beat the Mavericks three times now.
News and notes and thoughts and thoughts and notes and news in no particular order…
- First, the bad news: Tyson Chandler got caught with a Sean May elbow in the fourth quarter, suffering a mild concussion and losing a tooth. He didn't travel to Detroit for today's game, and may miss even more time.
Remember that one thing I said could mess up this season? Injuries. David West and Chandler were two guys I singled out as having a hobbled past. Slowly but surely, my worst fears are being realized.
- Of course, the Hornets won the game, but it took a career-high 42 points from Peja. First of all, I can't believe his previous career-high was less than 42. I mean, he averaged 24ppg for a season in Sacto. You'd think he might have gone for 50 at some point.
Second, Peja scored the Hornets first 20 points, in less than seven minutes! Unbelievable. He had 22 points total in the first quarter, topping David Wesley's franchise-record of 21.
Without Stojakovic tonight, the Hornets would be 4-4 right now.
- I hate to say it, but Chris Paul is struggling right now. He was 0-8 for the game, getting just 2 points off free-throws. He did have 10 assists and just 1 turnover, but we expect at least a dozen points a night from Chris, especially against one of the weaker teams in the L.
He hasn't put together two solid games in a row yet for the Hornets. He almost looks mortal right now.
- Good report on the game over at the HR boards.
- Brandon Bass had played a total of zero points this season, when Byron Scott threw him into the starting line-up yesterday. And, surprise surprise, Brandon struggled. He played 11 minutes with his most significant contribution being four fouls.
You have to question Byron Scott's reasoning with that move. His explanation:
"No. 1, he deserves a chance. He's been doing everything in practice like he's supposed to do. And No. 2, I wanted to keep the rotation the same. I want Cedric (Simmons) to continue to come off the bench, same with Bobby (Jackson), same with Linton (Johnson)."
See, I think you should put your best players out there and see what happens. Screw the rotation when guys are out injured. But what do I know?
- Emeka Okafor was a beast: 25 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high 7 blocks. Sean May was also solid, scoring 18 and grabbing 11, while Whiskers dropped 21 points.
- A big improvement for the Hornets taking care of the ball. They turned it over just 10 times against Charlotte, compared to 26 give-aways in LA on Sunday.
- The reason the game stayed close was horrible shooting by every Hornet not named Stojakovic. Ok, so Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo did good, but not counting Peja's 15-of-22 clip, the rest of team shot 20-of 64. That works out at 32%. Not good.
- Interesting stat from Darnell Mayberry today in The Oklahoman: With his new contract, Peja gets paid $131,707 per game. That buys you a lot of sausages.
We move on…
As mentioned, the Hornets play the Pistons in Detroit this evening. Hardly the easiest place to play the second game of a back-to-back. The Pistons are just 3-4 so far this season, but they've been without Rip Hamilton and his 22ppg for the past two games due to an elbow injury. He's due back in the line-up today.
Detroit haven't played since Saturday's "embarrassing" 111-79 loss at Golden State. The teams they've played to date have a combined 26-25 record, so read into that what you will. Check the links at the bottom of this post for more Pistons info. there's millions.
As for the Hornets today, they will be without D-West, Tyson and Marc Jackson, so they'll be lucky to grab any rebounds at all. Could turn out like that game in San Antonio two years ago, where Darrell Armstrong played out of his mind and led a depleted roster to an upset win.
But don't count on it.