The Hornets beat the Grizzlies

Published: December 27, 2007


Damn that was an impressive win last night. I'm late writing this thing up because a couple bars got in my way coming home from Cooter Brown's last night. Those folks have League Pass and threw the game on a big screen for me and Mikey SeasonTickets. Add to that an alligator sausage po-boy and we're talking good times.

Here's some game notes, fresh from a funky new Ampad notebook…

Stro blow

First Quarter

Excellent, the usual starting five is out there for the Hornets. I feared Peja could have choked on a turkey or had a Christmas tree fall on him over the holidays. The Grizzlies start out with Damon Stoudamire, Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol and Stromile Swift. Usual starting pivot Darko Milicic starts out on the bench for the second straight game. Bad Darko. Must play better.

So the Grizzlies start out hitting everything, while the Hornets throw up a bunch of threes and only make a few of them. We can't stop Mike Miller (10 points in the quarter), and they can't stop Chris Paul. The Grizzlies are going under the picks set for CP and he's punishing them by knocking down jumpers. He has 12 points in the first quarter.

The pace is pretty fast and the Grizzlies lead 29-27 after one.

Second Quarter

Second quarter equals second unit. Pargo, Jackson, Wright, Butler and Armstrong are in for the Hornets. Rudy Gay is still in there for Memphis, along with Milicic, Hakim Warrick, Juan Carlos Navarro and Kyle Lowry.

9:31 – Hilton Armstrong is getting it done. He's already saved a possession by diving out of bounds after a loose ball and just now he sent a Navarro floater into the third row. Nasty. He also delivered an oop to Julian Wright a minute ago, but a foul on the floor meant it didn't matter.

8:29 – Hilton puts home a lob from Pargo. That caps a 7-0 Hornets run, and we're up 34-31. Timeout Memphis, and they get Pau and Mike Miller back in the game. The Hornets stay with the same five for a minute longer.

5:58 – Pargo, who has jacked up a shot three of the past four offensive trips, finally passes the ball, finding Tyson underneath and Lowry makes him earn it at the stripe. That lets Byron get Mo-Pete back out there. Tyson knocks down both free throws to get the Hornets back on top, 38-37.

3:28 – David West barrels to the basket, misses one, rebounds, gets blocked, rebounds, and puts it home. That was hardcore.

2:50 – CP drops a deep three to beat the shot clock. That's his third triple of the game, and it's starting to look like he's gonna have one of those nights. Sucks to be Damon Stoudamire right now.

0:31 – West comes up with a Tyson Chandler airball and makes a tough stick back. To celebrate, he picks up a technical foul. You could see that coming. He's been sucking on an especially sour lemon tonight. Looked like he got away with a sneaky elbow on Warrick earlier.

0:10 – Warrick is dared to take a three, so he does and hits it. Apples. I had no idea he could do that.

End of the half, and the Hornets are on top, 52-50.

Halftime Thoughts

  • The fast pace is more the Grizzlies idea than ours, but I think the Hornets are well equipped to play that way, especially when the threes are dropping. The Hornets missed their first five from deep, but went 6-of-8 after that. Me likey.
  • CP leads the Hornets with 15 points, while Mr. West has 12. Mike Miller has 13 to lead the Grizzlies.
  • I really like Mike Miller by the way, probably more than any other Grizzly. He's got a well rounded offensive game, and his hair is funny.
  • I like my new notebook, too. Methinks Ampad make good paper based office products, with a respected reputation for quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
  • Tyson hasn't been much of a factor in the first half (2 points, 4 rebounds), but as Mikey points out, the shooting percentages have been high (both teams at around 50% from the field), and that hurts Tyson, who usually feeds off other people's bricks. Still, there are rebounds to be had out there, and the Grizzlies are coming up with most of them, holding a 22-16 advantage on the boards thus far.

Peja with the swishes

Third Quarter

The Hornets start out looking for Peja, who didn't get many shots up in the first half. He rewards his teammates by knocking down a pair of jumpers in the early going.

The rest of the third quarter belongs to Chris Paul. He scores 16 points and dishes 4 assists in the period, and gets the Hornets into a comfortable double-digit lead. His play is just insane. He's scoring from inside, outside and everywhere in between, usually just working with nothing more than a pick up top. Oh, and just for the hell of it, he drives the Grizzlies nuts on the other end of the floor, too, playing solid D and coming up with steals.

One play in particular by CP stood out for me in the third quarter. About three minutes in, he ran the pick and roll with Tyson, and Stromile Swift got caught on the switch. Now I imagine Stro's intention was just to flash out and stall CP, then rush back to his own man, but Chris dived through a seam and got in front of Swift, and kinda boxed him out, all while keeping his own dribble. So he's at about the free throw line by now, with Stro on his back and Stoudamire still in front of him. It's like he forced the Grizzlies into a crappy double team, effectively eliminating Swift from the defense. Meanwhile, the ever clever Tyson has moved to phase two of the pick and roll, and is at the rim when Chris pulls the trigger on an alley-oop.

And CP makes plays like that all the time, just getting into positions that rip apart the opposing defense. I think it's the way he positions himself, and the smarts it takes to setup and execute plays like that, is what makes him better than just about every other point guard in the game.

Anyway, Warrick again closes the quarter with a bucket, and the Hornets take an 86-73 lead into the final stanza.

Fourth Quarter

Chris starts the fourth quarter along with Jackson, Butler, Armstrong and Peja. Hilton doesn't last long though, swapping out for Tyson at the 11:25 mark. Turns out he hurt his ankle in the second quarter, and now it's not letting him play. Just what we need; another injured big man.

8:17 – Jackson and Pargo are in the backcourt now for the Hornets, and Bobby is playing like a true point guard. He's controlling the pace and looking to get guys involved. Hornets lead 93-78 after a nice basket inside by West, who has quietly put 18 points on the board tonight.

6:21 – CP just drops the shoulder and bulls to the basket through poor Kyle Lowry. Count it and the foul. Give Chris 34 points after he makes the free throw, and the Hornets have a 15-point lead.

4:06 – Chris dives into the lane again and causes a ruckus before kicking to Peja who wets a three. At the other end, CP deflects a pass and the Hornets end up with it. This trip, Chris just pulls up and drops a 20-footer. That's just mean.

3:02 – Jannero Pargo, who hasn't been having a great game so far, wakes himself up with a couple steals, the second one coming off a Pau Gasol inbound after Pargo went coast to coast and knocked down a pull-up J. Make it a 20-point lead after Jannero splits a pair of free throws.

2:54 – MARCUS VINICIUS , BABY! Feeling comfortable with a 16-point lead, Byron gets the Brazilian on the floor for the second straight game. Mikey is loving this. He might be the biggest Marky V fan on the planet, I shit you not.

1:59 – Chris goes baseline and flips in a layup. He then fouls Lowry to check himself out of the game. 40 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 turnover, 17-25 from the field, 5-8 from three. Methinks the Grizzlies announcers mention that the 17 made field goals are the most by an NBA player this season. Or maybe just one shy, I'm not sure. But 40 points and he only shot one free throw? Just nuts.

Gay reach around

Postgame Thoughts

The final score was 116-98 to the Hornets, and all that was missing from that one was a dunk by Vinicius.

Just an excellent performance by the Hornets, especially CP. Peja came up good with 21 points on 7-of-14 from the field, West finished up with 20 points and 9 boards, and Tyson had a strong second half to end with 12 points and 13 boards. Mo-Pete laid an egg, missing all five of his shots, every one of them from behind the arc. Oh well.

The result puts the Hornets at 18-10 on the season, which equals their win total from their last full season in New Orleans. Next up it's the Bobcats tomorrow in Charlotte, and then we're back to a packed New Orleans Arena for the Cavs on Saturday. Could be a nice little win streak in the making here.

Leaving you with zee linkage: box | recap | standings

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