These aren’t Hornets – they’re F/A-18E Super Hornets

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Published: January 28, 2008

The Hornets stretched their winning streak to 8 last night while crushing the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio by 24 points. The Hornets, despite playing quality opponents like San Antonio, Golden State, Phoenix, Portland and Houston, have only lost one game this entire month – an aberrant drubbing at the hands of the Lakers.

In fact, this team is an almost perfect analog to the Navy Jet that also shares their name, the F/A-18E Super Hornet.  The F/A-18E is a fighter/attack aircraft much admired for its versatility, high manueverability and attack capabilities.  Able to carry deadly 2,000-lb bombs, launch mid-range attack missiles, and at times outfitted for long range missle strikes against ground targets, the Super Hornets are ideal offensive aircraft.  The New Orleans Hornets offense delivers much the same sort of punch, with Chandler smashing home the 4th most dunks in the NBA, Paul and West operating with deadly efficiency from anywhere between the three point line and the basket, and Peja and Mo Pete furnishing a blistering array of long-range shots. Outside of Phoenix, it is hard to find a more offensively versatile starting five anywhere in the NBA.

 

Offense is not the F/A-18E Super Hornet's only function, being well known as an exceptional escort and air superiority fighter – i.e. it controls the area it flies in with deadly effect.  The New Orleans Hornets again match their namesake, as their defense continues to be the third most stingy in the league – allowing only 99.8 points per 100 posessions.

Perhaps the most celebrated feature of the F/A-18E is the new design that allows it to make sharp adjustments and manuevers while maintaining control.  It's powerful afterburners, enhanced fuel capacity, and state of the art computer system allow the jet to reach incredible speeds, yet retain full combat ability.  The Hornets, through January, also have an afterburner switch, and in honor of the Super Hornet's weapons systems, I'll drop a stat bomb on you.

Since the Hornets started crushing opponents at the start of the month, there has been one constant in their success: They feel out their opponent for two quarters, sometimes pulling a little away, sometimes falling slightly behind by halftime,  but once they leave the tunnel to start the third, the switch gets flipped, the afterburners come on, and the Hornets simply execute their opponent into oblivion.

In the 12 January games, the Hornets have scored 604 points to their opponents 563 in the first half, for a small advantage of 3.4 points per game.  In the second half, the Hornets have outscored their opponents 646 to 532, or a 9.5 point per game advantage.  Only twice have the Hornets failed to win the third quarter – against LA in the one loss, and in Houston, where the Hornets only won by 5.

Overall, the Hornets have won this stretch of games by 12.9 points, lifting their season differential(Points per game vs. Points given up per game) to a West-leading 6.5 points a game.  Only the Pistons(7.5) and Celtics(10.7) have greater differentials, and they, of course, play in the east.  If the Hornets had played 66% of their games against Eastern opponents instead of Western ones, I'm fairly confident they'd be pushing those Celtics for best in the league.

Oh – and if we throw out that awful crapfest of a game in Los Angeles, in January the Hornets have been winning by 18 points a game, and outscoring the other team in the second half by 12.

What does this tell us?  Being able to make adjustments at halftime and come out and dominate the other team is the sign of focus by both the players and the coaching staff, and aggressiveness in taking advantage of those things the other team has been giving them. 

Focus and Aggression.  F/A,  like the Jet.  Or F'ing Awesome, like the Hornets.

((Okay – the F/A stuff at the end was a stretch, it should be a good coaching staff and an intelligent team, but work with me here.  I'm excited, damnit!))

And catch Ron's recap of the San Antonio win.  It's nice to smack that team – kind of like how Chris Paul smacked Bruce Bowen in the face.

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