The Hornets beat the Bucks

Published: January 22, 2008

There was a good buzz going when I got to the Arena ahead of today's game. They had the big inflatable inflatables out front and there were a million kids running around ready to burst with excitement. The Hornets ran a promotion for the game where children under 12 could get in free when accompanied by an adult.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find an adult to accompany me.


During warmups, Melvin Ely parks at halfcourt and has himself a good chin wag with the Bucks' Jake Voskuhl. Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler goof around some playing 1-on-1, while Morris Peterson practices his threes from the corner pockets.

After Dee Alexander delivers the anthem and Mo-Pete thanks everyone for coming out, we're ready to tip.

Pedrag vs. Michael = not much defense

First Quarter

The Bucks start with Mo Williams, Michael Redd, Royal Ivey, Yi Jianlian and Andrew Bogut. We've got our usual five.

10:02 – Yi goes baseline on Tyson, then dunks on him.

7:28 – Bogut goes baseline on Tyson, then dunks on him.

6:55 – Michael Redd goes by Peja Stojakovic on the baseline, and lays it in. 11-4 Bucks lead.

6:16 – After Redd nails a 20-footer, we're down by nine and Byron calls timeout. What a shitty start. The defense is soft, and the Bucks are making their open looks. At the other end, our master plan seems to be to feed Tyson in the post, which is working about as well as you might expect. This is the kind of start where I'd like to see CP take control and attack, rather than defer to his teammates like he usually does in the first quarter.

Out of the timeout, Chris blows by Mo Williams for the lay-in. At the other end, Mo-Pete is now defending Redd, which is probably a good idea since he's dropped nine points on Peja already.

4:39 – Peja drops a three to end a scrappy Hornets offense. 15-9 Bucks.

4:24 – Pargo replaces Peterson. We've shown signs of life since the timeout, showing that aggressiveness and crashing the boards hard.

2:40 – West gets a steal and fires it ahead to Pargo who finishes the break. 18-13 Bucks, and they'll call a timeout.

1:25 – Chris comes down with a defensive board and heads a 3-on-1 fastbreak. He ends up with an open lane so he takes it himself but blows the layup. About four seconds later, Redd cans a three at the other end. Shucks. 22-13 Bucks.

0:26 – Pargo delivers a nice feed to West for the second straight trip, and this time we get a dunk out of it. 24-17 Bucks.

That concludes the first quarter scoring. That was a pretty miserable start. Pretty much all our guys came out flat. Only Pargo played anyway decent, and even he had some lapses at the defensive end.

Second Quarter

Hornets: Paul, Pargo, West, Ely and Bowen.
Bucks: Mo Williams, Charlie Bell, Bobby Simmons, Charlie Villanueva and Dan Gadzuric.

11:32 – West, who shot just 2-of-9 from the field in the first quarter, is happy to see Gadzuric out there and blows right by him, down the middle of the lane for the slam.

9:50 – Bowen hustles his ass off to grab an offensive board and keep our possession alive. West gets to the free throw line as a result. He makes both to trim Milwaukee's lead to four. Paul leaves for Peterson.

7:29 – Peterson sinks a three to make it a 2-point game, 34-32.

6:15 – Ely beats Villanueva to the rack and gets himself a slam, but Charlie V answers at the other end. Bucks still lead it by two.

5:09 – Timeout New Orleans. The reserves have done well. Pargo in particular has been great. He's taken his shots when he needed to but also did some nice quarterbacking out there. The defense has been better for the Hornets, but we've already given up 15 points to Michael Redd, and a bunch of other Bucks have made it onto the scoresheet.

As the timeout comes to a close, some dude proposes to his special lady on the big screen, and she says yes. I wipe away the tears of joy and see that all our starters are back on the floor.

4:30 – The Hornets put together a perfect fastbreak. Tyson tips it away from a posting Bogut at the defensive end. Chris Paul came up with it and got it ahead to Mo-Pete, who makes the cross court feed to a streaking Stojakovic, who throws in the reverse layup. Twas nice. All tied.

3:31 – Charlie V rains a wide open three. Never liked that guy.

3:00 – Whoops, we're down by seven again after Mo Williams bounces through the lane for a tough fastbreak finish. At the other end, Peja drains a step-back three over a pair of defenders.

2:08 – Yi comes back in the game for Milwaukee. They've now got all starters except Villanueva for Ivey, and I notice that not one of those five guys has picked up a foul yet. That might be an indication that we're not going hard enough.

0:45 – Bogut gets his second dunk in thirty seconds. 54-46 Bucks.

The quarter comes to a close with 4-0 Hornets run, making it 54-50 at the half.

Jannero's been doing less of this and more dishing lately

Halftime Thoughts

  • Perplexing that we're having so much trouble with these guys, although the Bucks frontcourt is well equipped to cause us fits. Yi and Bogut have taken turns on West and their length seems to bother him. They've also done a good job keeping in front of him on the drive.
  • Milwaukee are also doing a good job of defending the pick and roll so far. They're not letting Tyson roll to the bucket without a fight, so we haven't gotten any easy ones there.
  • The halftime show isn't really a show, but some kids' choir singing a song of some description. I miss it because I'm doing a lap of the concourse. It's all part of my vigorous new exercise regime.
  • Yi only averages 28 minutes a game. He sat out for most of the second quarter. I find this strange.
  • Decent sized crowd here today. It's announced later as 11,663. I've talked to a lot of people at the games and everyone is amazed that more folks don't show. I keep hearing the same things over and over again: "It's such great value for money." "They're playing really well." "Stop talking to me you freak!" I feel this thing building slowly but surely. Give us All-Star weekend and a decent Playoff run and our guys will be playing to big crowds next season.

Third Quarter

11:04 – Bogut strikes first with a more athletic move than I expect from him. We're down by six, but the game's about to change.

8:08 – We lead by five, and the Bucks call timeout. That was an 11-0 run for the Hornets, highlighted by a 4-point-play by Morris Peterson. The Bucks are still playing tough, but our defense has improved, and some recent rebounds bounced our way.

Out of the timeout, Bogut drops an elbow while posting on Tyson. Offensive foul.

7:03 – Chris misses a floater, and Mo Williams ends the scoring drought for Milwaukee by putting home a runner at the other end. CP is having a rough shooting night, going just 1-of-7 from the field thus far. He has managed to dish five assists however.

6:17 – West drives inside and wraps a nice pass to Tyson. Royal Ivey just grabs Chandler by the waist and drags at him to prevent the basket, but the big man somehow gets it to go. Wow. He's got 14 points and 12 rebounds.

5:26 – Williams sinks two free throws, giving him 16 points in the game. After a miss by Peja, Yi hits a long jumper to cut our lead to three, 67-64.

4:34 – West shakes free after getting fed in the post, and rams one down the throat of Yi. He glares at the young fella as he lands, as if to say "Don't call me Fluffy."

1:30 – Timeout time. We've converted on just one of our last five trips, with the Bucks forcing us into some low percentage shots. I thought Ryan said these guys suck on defense? Lying donkey killer. We still lead it by three, 68-71.

The quarter ends with a three from Peja, his fourth of the game, and a sweet drive by Chris. 76-69 Hornets lead as we head to the fourth.

At the break, there's a funky drumline on court, and the usher in section 316 goes nuts for it. The crowd loves it, too. More please.

Fourth Quarter

Hornets: Paul, Pargo, Ely, Bowen and Chandler.
Bucks: Bell, Williams, Simmons, Villanueva and Bogut.

The Bucks start off in a zone defense, and Ely scraps for two inside. Next trip, Chris and Tyson run the pick and roll. It hasn't gone to plan yet tonight, but this time it ends with Tyson catching the lob and slamming it home in reverse. Ely blocks Simmons at the other end, and CP and Tyson hook up once more for the alley-oop, this time after Chandler slips back door on the zone.

Suddenly, we're two minutes deep in the fourth quarter and the lead is 13. The crowd goes apeshit as the Bucks call timeout. Chandler goes to the huddle with a strut.

9:27 – Chris finds his shooting touch, firing in a 17-footer over Villanueva after a switch. Just what Milwaukee needs.

9:12 – Pargo delivers a nice feed to Bowen on the break, and the big bundle of hustle makes the bucket as he's fouled. You didn't think Ryan could do that, did you Charlie?

I must also point out that Bowen will finish this game with the boxscore showing three fouls as his biggest contribution, but the dude was special in this one. He challenged so many shots I thought he had a twin out there. It's amazing how fast he covers ground and closes out on shooters considering he's 6-9.

8:30 – Jannero Pargo makes a three point jumper. Tyson Chandler assists. We lead it by sixteen, 89-73.

7:16 – For the next couple minutes, Chris Paul puts on an offensive clinic. First he drives down the right side of the lane and draws a triple team. Out of that comes a right-handed bounce pass between two defenders, landing in the hands of a wide open David West. The 17-footer is good.

Next trip, CP ends up with Villanueva guarding him off another switch. He crosses him up before rattling home a fadeaway. After Charlie V makes himself feel better by dropping a three, Tyson rebounds a miss by Pargo and gets it back out high. Chris waits for the pick, then dives through the middle to split the Bucks defense and floats home a 10-footer.

5:05 – Redd bricks a 17-footer. He had 15 points in the first 15 minutes, and just four since.

4:24 – West steals. Chris gets the rock and the break is on. Ahead to Pargo, who lobs it at the rim for Chris to lay it in. Other end, Pargo comes up with a steal, and this time he gets to lob it to Tyson on the break. Tyson doesn't so much lay it in as he crushes it like a paper grape.

Milwaukee takes a timeout to consider the likelihood of overcoming a 101-80 deficit. Hugo and his crew take to the floor to launch t-shirts and the crowd is now well and truly in a frenzy.

3:03 – Byron empties the bench, which means a fresh look at recently reactivated Julian Wright. It seems like we run a couple plays for the rookie to get him an open shot, and he promptly knocks down a 17-footer off an inbound from Marcus Vinicius.

The very next defense, V intercepts a pass with his Brazilian hands, and throws a nifty no-look pass up ahead to a breaking Rasual Butler. Rasual proceeds to get blocked by Jake Voskuhl.

0:37 – After an 8-0 run by the Bucks does nothing to worry the crowd, Hilton Armstrong comes down with perhaps the first strong rebound of his career, and outlets to Pargo. JP goes long to JuJu for the touchdown, giving the crowd one more highlight tonight.

0:09 – Voskuhl vouls Vinicius on a drive to the vasket. The two have vords as Marcus heads to the vree vrow line, and both are awarded vechnical vouls. Could this be the vart of a vudding vivalry?

So it ends with a final score of 106-92. As I head for the exit, I realize that the Honeybees did not perform at all today. While the game may count as a win in the standings, methinks everyone goes home feeling a little unfulfilled.


Postgame Thoughts

This one took a little more effort and patience, but the end result was familiar. Make that three blowout wins on the trot, and a five game winning streak with an average margin of victory of 21 points. Oh, and look at us all alone at the top of the Southwest. It's much easier to moon everyone from way up here.

Turned out to be a pretty balanced attack for the Hornets with all five starters scoring at least 14 points. Great to see Peja and Mo-Pete stroking them from deep (8-of-15 combined), especially with West struggling today. Chandler was the star though, finishing with 20 points and 15 boards. Chris overcame a poor first half and almost put up a triple-double. We somehow cracked down on Redd after the first quarter, which made a huge difference.

The absence of Bobby Jackson hurt the bench somewhat, but the trio of Pargo, Ely and Bowen made solid contributions. Pargo in particular has been playing great lately, averaging 10 points and 5 assists in the past five games.

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

Next up is a slightly trickier opponent, as the Portland Trailblazers roll into town for Wednesday night. If we can get by those guys, we should handle the Clippers at home on Friday and take a seven-game win streak to San Antonio on Saturday.

Remember, there's free tickets available for the Blazers game, so tell everyone you know and some that you don't to get their ass to the Arena on Wednesday.

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