The Hornets beat the Nuggets

Published: January 29, 2008

Everyone knows Mikey. He's the New Orleans Hornets mega-fan who yells his head off at every home game (and the odd road game within driving distance) and always has a comment or three for radio host Joe Block at the postgame show at Gordon Biersch.

The dude always has something to say.

But, with 3:34 left in tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets, after Julian Wright blocked a layup attempt by Von Wafer and followed at the other end with a sweet one-handed dish to Hilton Armstrong for a vicious slam that extended the Hornets lead to 29 points, I turned to Mikey and found him speechless.

That's how good we are.

West. CP. Busting ass.

You know, I really think we turned the corner with the win tonight, in terms of both attendance and national recognition for what this team is doing. The crowd was by far the best this season. No, not a sellout — 15,601 was the reported attendance — but easily the loudest and most enthusiastic crowd of the season. Chris Paul was showered with MVP chants on numerous occasions, folks were firing out "Who Dat's" in the second quarter, and after the game as we walked West through the tunnel on Girod, the walls almost shook with echoes of Chris Paul "Whoo's!"

As for the national recognition, I just caught the midnight SportsCenter and none other than your New Orleans Hornets were the lead. A nice couple of minutes devoted to the finest team in the NBA, and the legend that is CP3.

Let's get to some game notes…

  • The final score was 117-93. Here's the essential linkage: recap | box | standings

  • Great contributions from plenty of our guys again tonight. CP filled up the boxscore like some kind of malfunction, Peja rained in some long bombs, West and Chandler owned the paint and the bench was nothing short of spectacular.
  • Kenyon Martin went off on us early, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. But Melvin Ely was out for revenge on that dude after the eye socket incident back in December. Martin would finish with 18 points and 9 rebounds in 36 minutes, but Ely almost matched that with 16 points and 9 boards in 22 minutes. There was this nice old lady sitting a couple seats away from me who kept screaming "Hit him in his eye, Ely! Hit him in his eye!"
  • Speaking of K-Mart, my main man Toney Blare was sitting along the baseline for this one and assures me that the dude talks a lot of shit and plays dirty. He also figures that the reason CP blew that wide open layup early in the fourth quarter was because he expected a hard foul from Martin. Of course, that foul never came, so Chris stole the rebound from Kenyon and dished it right to Ely for two.
  • The officiating in this one can only be described as awful. There was that inadvertent whistle at the end of the second quarter, which put the brakes on a Hornets possession and dimmed the buzz of the crowd. A couple minutes before that, Chris lobbed to Tyson on the fastbreak and the big man brought the house down. But wait! There was a foul called, on the floor, before the pass. Chris didn't want it, Byron didn't want it, 15,601 fans on a Monday night didn't want it. But the Nuggets fouled and we got punished. Worst of all though was the technical they gave Chris for swinging on the rim after his breakaway flush early in the fourth. Next time, he should just come down right away and kick Eduardo Najera in the face.
  • Ryan Bowen had a great game. Scored eight, rebounded three, stole three. Oh, and he did a million other things that didn't show up in the boxscore. After he hit a jumper early in the fourth quarter, he stole one away from JR Smith and got it ahead to Chris Paul. Bowen then used his powers of teleportation to beat everyone up the floor and get a pass back from Chris for the layup.
  • FYI: They play the song "Do the hustle" whenever Ryan Bowen scores at the Arena.
  • JR Smith, playing his first game back in N'Awlins since we traded him however long ago, was booed nice and loud until he dunked on Jannero Pargo and subsequently crashed to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Ouch. Smith deserves props for playing on after that fall. He appeared to be hurting for the rest of the game, although that was only apparent on the defensive end.
  • Quick question: Why did we choose to foul JR in the backcourt at the end of the first quarter? That gave the Nuggets a sideline inbound which resulted in a Najera three. My brain was confused.
  • Carmelo Anthony didn't play tonight. Allen Iverson had his work cut out, and we did a decent job on him. Morris Peterson used up five fouls on AI in 18 minutes, and CP and Pargo also took turns on him.
  • Play of the game: Two minutes deep in the third quarter, and Chris crosses up Anthony Carter something disgusting, then tosses up a teardrop that Kenyon Martin can only stop on it's downward flight. Count it.
  • Okay, so there were a dozen other plays you might have preferred over that one. Julian Wright's alley-oop anyone?
  • You know, if I was an opposing coach, I'd tell whoever is defending CP to step off him for the entire first half. Chris seems determined not to shoot until the third quarter, unless it's late in the shot clock or someone gives him a wide open lane to the rack. But when he's left open for jumpers in the first half, he doesn't even glance at the rim.
  • The Nuggets played a lot of zone in this one, and their 3-2 formation bothered us for a minute in the fourth, cutting the lead to 15 at one point. We beat it in the end by moving the ball well for some open looks and just beating Denver down the floor for easy buckets.
  • Our rebounding was savage. 52-33 was the edge. Marcus Camby is supposed to be good at the rebounding thing, right? There were a couple of offensive trips for the Hornets which lasted forever because of offensive rebounds. Ryan Bowen usually had something to do with it. The crowd really appreciated the hustle.
  • After the game, we pointed ourselves towards Gordon Biersch and prolonged the fantasticness of this win for a while longer. None other than Kenyon Martin walked into the joint just as the game highlights came on the big screens. Ha.

So we're now riding high on a 9-game winning streak, and we're beginning to look scary-good with all these blowout wins. To put into perspective just how dominant the Hornets have been lately, check out this piece from Jim Eichenhofer's game recap

In the history of the NBA, the Hornets are now the second team ever to win seven straight games by a margin of 14 points or more in each triumph. The 2003-04 Pistons, who went on to win the NBA title that year, won eight games in a row by 14 points or more. That's it. That's the only team with a longer streak of doing this than New Orleans' current run.

Yes. These Hornets are special. Finally, the local sports fans and the national media are beginning to realize just that.

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