The Hornets beat the Bobcats

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Published: January 19, 2008

Riding the streetcar on the way to the game yesterday, Mikey gets talking with another season ticket holder who tells us he can't make the game tonight. He's trying to give away his two tickets, and I love free stuff so I gladly take them.

At the Arena, I go looking for my free seat and find it four rows behind the basket. Section 119.

I should have hugged that man.

Wallace vs. West

First Quarter

The Bobcats start with their usual five of Raymond Felton, Jeff McInnis, Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor. Nothing new with the Hornets starting lineup either.

8:55 – As usual, we're working it inside to West early and he's delivered a pair of buckets pretty quick. Gerald Wallace is trying to defend him.

7:48 – Wallace blows right by West at the other end, before turning it over on the kick out. Ryan was right on in his game preview about the match-up with these two guys. Neither one can stop the other.

4:35 – Dunkfest. West lobbed to Chandler for the flush, and they switch roles next trip for similar fantasticness. Methinks we got nothing but slams the last four trips down the floor. 17-16 Hornets as we head to a timeout.

3:37 – Melvin Ely and Bobby Jackson check in for the Hornets, while Nazr Mohammed enters for the Bobcats. Melvin promptly gets a dunk off a feed from Chris Paul.

2:35 – Nazr crashes for an offense rebound and Ely fouls him on the put-back attempt. After a timeout in which a genius named Jimmy wins a game of tic-tac-toe, Mohammed sinks both free throws to put the Cats up 23-20. We're struggling to stop them right now. All six guys that they've played have scored already.

1:44 – Ely battles for an offensive board and gets it to CP, who finds Peja Stojakovic ready to fire from the corner. It's good and we're tied at 23.

0:55 – Wallace hits a jumper over Peja on the baseline. He's got 10 points already.

The quarter ends with Chris Paul milking some clock out high. When the time comes, he drives down the right side of the lane and draws a double team, leaving West open at the elbow. Chris pulls a pass out of his ass and West nails the jumper. We lead it 26-25 after one.

Second Quarter

Hornets: West, Ely, Ryan Bowen, Jannero Pargo and Bobby Jackson.
Bobcats: Wallace, Richardson, Mohammed, Ryan Hollins and Matt Carroll.

10:51 – Ely runs into a double team on the low block but manages to squeeze one up and hit it as he's fouled. Nice.

8:42 – Timeout with the Hornets up, 32-29. Que the Honeybees. The pace has picked up this quarter with the reserves in, but mostly because both teams are playing sloppy and the misses and turnovers are getting guys up and down the floor faster.

7:22 – Melvin Frickin Ely finishes a fastbreak as Hugo scares a kid two rows in front of me.

6:09 – Tyson, who got back in the game for West early this quarter, drops through a reverse hook type thing while being fouled. He makes the free throw after West and Mo-Pete get back in the game. 39-33 Hornets.

5:41 – Byron burns a timeout after Chris Dudley fouls to break up a back door lob attempt to West. We're back to four starters and Bowen after the timeout. Must be said that the reserves are doing a damn fine job this quarter. Pargo did some nice quarterbacking while Ely and Jackson shouldered the scoring load. Bowen manned up on Wallace and slowed his roll nicely, and now he's checking Richardson pretty good.

3:58 – Chris sinks a runner to put us up double figures, 47-36. Methinks we lookin' foxy as Bobcats coach Sam Vincent calls a timeout. Bowen is making a big difference out there. He's busting his ass and stirring it up. A minute ago he tipped in an offensive rebound he had no business getting.

3:30 – Peja is back in for Bowen out of the timeout, and J-Rich celebrates by slicing by the new guy for an easy two. If we could somehow combine the offensive skills of Peja with the defense and hustle of Bowen, we'd have ourselves something special.

2:44 – The Bobcats double David West down low. The man some call Fluffy leaves out a deep belly laugh and tells the defense they all some crazy fools. Then he kicks it back out to the wing and we swing it real nice to Peterson in the far corner for one of those three-pointer things. The lead is now fourteen.

1:37 – Peja drops a three, his second of the night. 57-40 Hornets.

0:55 – West rams home a Tyson Chandler miss to end the first half scoring. That's 16 points now for West, and we lead it 59-40 as they head to the tunnels.

Spoiler alert. Or did the post title already ruin it for you?

Halftime Thoughts

  • My free seat is super-nice and everything, but it's tough to concentrate on the game from here. The Honeybees are on their stools only about 15 feet away, and they get up and wave at me every now and then. Well, they wave at everyone, but I like to think it's just for me. It's very distracting.
  • The Hornets really are a match-up nightmare for the Bobcats. They started out with that usual small lineup of theirs, and West and Chandler were just killing them inside. So they bring in Nazr to bulk up the frontcourt but then they've sacrificed their perimeter defense and we just burn them from there.
  • The halftime show is a chap named Roberto who does various circus tricks, like juggling golf clubs and riding a ten-foot unicycle. I'm thinking I should really get myself a unicycle. Not a big one like that, but a regular-sized one. I wonder how long it takes to become a proficient unicyclist.
  • The Hornets don't make me nervous so much these days. I used to worry when they were playing an inferior team, because often our guys would underestimate them and before you know it we'd have lost one we shouldn't have. But nowadays I can go ahead and expect them to win these games and they rarely let me down. It's a warm and fuzzy feeling.
  • Matt Carroll would be a nice addition to our bench.
  • The Bobcats have an assistant coach named Paul Mokeski. He's massive. Ely was over at the Bobcats bench talking to some old friends during the halftime shootaround, and this dude dwarfed him.

Third Quarter

The Bobcats decide to start Nazr in the second half, leaving McInnis on the bench. He and West trade baskets to start.

8:35 – Timeout Charlotte. Another three by Peja just capped a 7-0 run and we now lead it 68-44. Man, we're good. Paul has started this half much more aggressively, getting into the lane and causing a ruckus.

Out of the timeout, the Cats score inside on three consecutive trips, but a post fade from West and yet another three by Peja isn't helping their comeback ambitions.

4:00 – Charlotte opts to double team Chris when Hollins gets caught on a switch. Bad idea, as we swing it around to Peja for three. That's his fifth tonight, on just seven attempts. Life is good.

3:27 – Peja comes up with a steal and Chris ignites a fastbreak. CP to Peja, back to CP, who is now right at the basket and throws a little pump fake to get a chasing Ryan Hollins in the air. After the defense has left the building, Chris pops in the easy one and flashes a smile at Hollins as he jogs back down the court.

2:55 – Peja gets his third steal in two minutes (!) and we're off on another fastbreaking adventure. Gerald Wallace doesn't like it though and fouls Peja in frustration. The two free throws make it an 84-56 Hornets lead.

2:02 – Chris Paul misses a 14-footer, but relieves McInnis of the outlet. CP is all alone on his way to the basket and decides now would be a good time to add to the jamfest. He rises for the flush and spins off the rim for a fancy landing. The crowd loves it.

0:01 – West goes strong to the rack and gets two to beat the shot clock. The lead is the highest number you can think of as the third quarter comes to a close.

We won't see the starters in the fourth quarter. No need. West has finished his night's work with 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting, while adding 7 rebounds for kicks. Chris and Tyson both take a seat with double-doubles in the bank. Peja is down for 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Fourth Quarter

Ryan Bowen dunks the basketball

Postgame Thoughts

This game was so wonderful and joyous that I believe it increased the life expectancy of all in attendance by five years. I shit you not.

Final score was 112-84. Linkage: box | recap | standings

After the game a group of us made our way down to Gordon Biersch where we drank some drinks and added untold value to the Hornets postgame radio show. That show is of course broadcast live from Gordon Biersh and presented by the legend known only as Joe Block. Try make it down there after future games if you can. Tell them Ron sent you. They'll have no idea what you're talking about.

Next in the crosshairs are the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday at the Arena. It's an early one (2:30pm tip) because of MLK, so you might need to quit your job to see it. Totally worth it, I think you'd agree.

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