The Hornets beat the Sonics

Published: January 17, 2008

I'm feeling miserable ahead of this one. Sore throat, bad cough, stuffy nose, and for some reason my right eye feels like I just took an elbow from Kenyon Martin. It could be an allergic reaction to that Robitussin stuff, I guess.

I've been out sick from work the past couple days and for the first time since I got to New Orleans, I'm not in the Arena on game night. Instead I'm slouched on the couch, surrounded by snot rags. If only the Honeybees could see me now.

Here's how the game goes…

West shoots over Durant

First Quarter

Our starting five is intact. Thankfully, the back stiffness that Peja suffered in Houston hasn't developed into something more serious.

Meanwhile, the 9-28 Sonics, losers of seven straight and currently residing in the Western Conference basement, start with this five: Earl Watson, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nick Collison and Kurt Thomas.

The Hornets look for West early and he goes right at Collison, gets a couple buckets and a couple fouls on the Jayhawk. Chris Wilcox replaces Collison, but West keeps scoring. He's got 8 of our first 10 and we lead by six.

5:45 – Earl Watson is trying to push the tempo for the Sonics and he gets some scores in transition. Peja has been trigger-happy so far, launching some quick threes. He's 2-of-5 from the field as we head into a timeout. 17-10 Hornets.

4:02 – CP is getting in the lane. He just found Chandler with a sweet dish inside and now Tyson's at the line. Our pivot has seven rebounds already.

2:37 – Timeout. West and Chandler are owning the boards. Because of them we just got three shot opportunities on one trip. Chandler now has 10 rebounds. Insane.

Ely and Jackson are in out of the timeout, and Bobby promptly cans a pair of threes. I'm not sure what demon has been possessing him lately, but methinks we should sacrifice a goat in its honor.

Quarter ends with the Hornets up 30-18. All good so far. Durant is about the only Sonic who resembles an offensive threat, and we're controlling pretty much every facet of the game.

Second Quarter

Hornets: Pargo, Jackson, Ely, Chandler and Bowen.
Sonics: Watson, Wally Szckafjsdiwfajf, Damien Wilkens, Jeff Green and Kurt Thomas.

9:03 – Tyson now has 13 rebounds, Bobby is 3-of-3 from the field, Bowen is hustling like a madman, and Ely and Pargo have both dropped buckets while being fouled. 38-24 Hornets. You could say this quarter is going quite well.

5:57 – Watson drops a three to give him 11 points in the game. Dude is looking pretty good. Can we have him please? At the other end, Bobby comes down and shakes his defender fourteen different ways before he takes a bounce and knocks down another jumper. Still perfect from the field, he's got 10 points tonight. Hornets lead, 49-32, as we head into a timeout.

Out of that, we've got our starting five back in.

3:10 – Chris blows an open layup off a lead pass from Peterson but Peja gets to the line off the rebound. 55-39 after both free-throws go down.

1:21 – West comes out of the game, replaced by Ely. The man with no definite nickname has been schooling Jeff Green the past few minutes, and he's now got 14 points in the game.

End of the second, we lead 65-46. That's our new season high for points in a half.

Chandler slams one home

Halftime Thoughts

  • Cruising so far. Everyone but Morris Peterson is hitting, and the Sonics just can't keep up. Peja leads all scorers with 17 points, seven of them coming at the free-throw line. Our bench has chipped in with 21 already.
  • Tyson finished the half with 17 rebounds. That's a new franchise record for boards in a half, bringing us one step closer to erasing Matt Geiger from memory.
  • The Sonics were obviously lacking defensively, but they didn't play so bad at the other end. Watson, Durant and Szczerbiak accounted for 33 of Seattle's 46 first-half points, shooting a combined 5-of-7 from deep. We have forced them into a tough shot every now and then, but overall we haven't bothered them a hell of a lot. They average 97 points per game, so they're not far off that pace. I'm guessing all PJ Carlesimo will be preaching in the locker room is defense.
  • Some more numbers from that half: The Hornets had 20 assists on 24 made field goals, shot 7-of-13 from three-point range, and committed just 2 turnovers.
  • Chris has 6 points, 9 assists.

Third Quarter

The Sonics start out playing tough D and reel off six straight points before West gets a bucket.

9:41 – Kurt Thomas steals a sideline inbound and Earl Watson makes us pay at the other end, converting a three-point play. Just like that our lead is down to ten, and Byron calls a crafty timeout.

8:21 – Collison knocks down a basline jumper to make it an eight point game, 69-61, but CP zips down the floor and nails a runner to put us back up double digits.

5:41 – Chris messes up Kevin Durant, crossing him over, hesitating and changing pace in the blink of an eye. All that gets him into the lane for an easy two.

4:30 – Bobby hits another three, though he's no longer flawless tonight. The lead looks healthy again, 81-66, and the Sonics call time.

3:35 – Peja rewards West's offensive rebound by feeding him in the post. West gets baseline on Wilcox, comes back with the right hand and gets a shot off as he's fouled. Special.

2:53 – Wilcox gets some payback, throwing down a nasty right hand slam as he's fouled by West. 86-73 Hornets.

1:24 – Peja hits a three off a drive and kick from Jackson. Give Stojakovic 23 points already. 91-75 Hornets. The Sonics are running out of ideas.

0:03 – We get a steal or something and Chris takes off on the break. Tyson trails and you know what's coming. Never gets old.

We lead 95-75 after three. Not sure how we managed to win that quarter when it seemed like the Sonics kept coming at us. We've scored at least 30 in each period so far.

Fourth Quarter

Hornets: Jackson, Pargo, Bowen, Ely and Chandler.
Sonics: Ridnour, Wally, Wilkens, Collison and Johan Petro.

10:14 – Pargo gets us past the century mark with an easy hoop in transition. Way to push it, JP. 101-77 Hornets.

7:53 – Looks like this one's already over, or at least Byron Scott seems to think so. We're up 20 and Rasual Butler and Hilton Armstrong just checked in. Durant is still on the floor for Seattle, trying to figure out Ryan Bowen's mystical defense.

5:53 – 107-83 Hornets lead. Out of a timeout, Marcus Vinicius is in the ballgame. Just when PJ Carlesimo thought it couldn't get any worse.

3:16 – Ely fakes out Jeff Green and takes it inside for some therapy. He really hated that rim for a minute. The lead is massive, 114-84.

1:59 – V rolls in a three. Section 303 must be buzzing right about now.

As the clock winds down, I'm thinking it's a pity Julian Wright is on the inactive list tonight. He could have been given some nice minutes. I'd assume he's a bigger part of our future plans than guys like Rasual Butler and Marcus Vinicius, so I'm not sure why we have him chilling right now.

123-92 is the final score.

Two dudes with crazy last names

Postgame Thoughts

This one was never in doubt. The Hornets are really doing a great job of putting away the weaker teams this season. I believe they're now 19-2 against sub-500 teams. Good teams take care of inferior opponents.

A lot of our guys came through with big games. Chandler was phenomenal with 14 points and 21 rebounds. Paul and West also had double-doubles in limited minutes. Peja led all scorers with those 23 points, shooting 6-of-11 from the field. It was nice to see him play well after his back acted up last game.

Our reserves came through with a great performance for the third straight game. Pargo had 18 points, half of those coming in the fourth quarter, while Bobby Jackson dropped 13. Butler and Ely chipped in with 8 apiece.

I feel kinda bad for the Sonics. They've got some great role players, but Durant isn't ready to lead them just yet. I think if they keep that team together, pick up some more pieces in the draft and leave it all to simmer for a while, they should be dangerous in a few years. They might suck right now, but they're definitely a classy bunch.

Linkage to wrap up this one: box | recap | standings

We're now 26-12 on the season. Say it over and over. It sounds good. Take a look at those standings though. Pretty tight at the top. I hadn't really considered this until I read Tyson's latest blog entry, but Byron Scott has a chance to be coach of the Western Conference All-Star team. We just need to keep winning.

Next up we've got the Charlotte Bobcats at the Arena on Friday. They just got done beating the Magic tonight. Friday is also Tyson Chandler bobblehead night at the Arena, so get there early if you want a small piece of plastic that looks like your favorite center. Twould make a perfect gift for the lady in your life.

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