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The Hornets beat the Grizzlies
Nice game last night for the Hornets. We were missing Tyson Chandler (flu) and Morris Peterson (back spasms), yet still managed to beat the Memphis Grizzlies comfortably in the end, 112-99 ( box | recap | standings ).
The best part of the whole thing was the crowd of 17,231 there to see it. That's a sellout, folks. Against the Memphis frickin' Grizzlies. It seems people have finally realized that we have some damn fine players at the Arena every game, regardless of the opponent.
Screw you, LeBron James. We don't need you anymore.
Let's jump to some notes, straight out of my brand spanking new Steno notebook…
- Chris Paul had 2 points but still managed to play like an MVP. Mysterious and wonderful his powers be. His shot wasn't dropping and he wasn't really doing his whole get-in-the-lane-like-a-cyclone thing, but I like to think he used the absence of Tyson and Mo as an opportunity to get guys like Rasual Butler and Hilton Armstrong some good looks and thereby up their confidence. Wise.
- Peja continued to scorch. 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting, and he added 5 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals as well, just for gits and shiggles. He's now scored 20+ in six of the Hornets past eight games, proving that there is indeed joy to be found outside of inflatable structures.
- Rasual and Hilton did a good job filling in. They both had some lapses but they gave it everything out there, Rasual in particular. It's frustrating watching him miss shots night in and night out, but nobody can question his effort. He really is busting his ass out there. He finished 4-of-12 shooting last night and has been suffering through a shooting slump pretty much since we flipped to 2008, but I imagine if he keeps working this hard we'll see him dropping mucho jumpers again soon.
- David West scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, repeatedly making Darko his Milicic. It was his best offensive game since he got the All-Star nod. Defensively, I saw more of the same laziness/unwillingness/whateverness when it came to rotations and playing help. It pisses me off, but I'm gonna stop talking about it. West has added something substantial to his game every offseason since he came in the League, so hopefully cleaning that up will be the next step for him. Until then, I guess I should shut up and be happy with him killing folks on the other end of the floor.
- Had to love West and CP addressing the crowd at mid-court before the game to say thanks for the All-Star votes. CP was his usual articulate self, then asked West if he wanted to say anything. Fluffy raised a fist and walked away. Legend.
- Met up with some folks off the HornetsReport.com boards before and after the game. I was worried about meeting people off the internet because last time the girl looked nothing like her photo and wanted her husband to watch. This time turned out much better though. Good people. We'll have to do it again some time.
- What more can be said about Ryan Bowen? Dude was everywhere last night. I got the impression that if he couldn't quite reach to tip the ball away on defense, he'd rip off one arm and throw it at the damn thing.
There was one play by Bowen last night that I found particularly amazing. On defense midway through the second quarter, he was fronting Hakim Warrick in the post. Some anonymous Grizz guard (let's call him Pokey McDonaldson) lobbed a pass into Warrick, over Bowen. While the ball was in the air, Ryan, realizing that he couldn't steal the feed, managed to spin around and get behind Warrick. So by the time Hakim actually caught the ball, he had Bowen playing traditional post defense behind him. Yeah. Bowen effectively managed to force a difficult pass into the post, then was quick enough to play help defense for himself.
Of course, RB proceeded to hack the shit out of Warrick when he made his move to the basket, but we'll edit that part out.
- Bobby Jackson played great. His best game since returning from injury. He did a little of everything; hitting shots, pushing the tempo, playing solid defense (for the most part) and even coming up with a block I can't remember. His steal and fastbreak dish to Butler in the second quarter was as good a play as I've seen him make this season.
- The refs were not very good, in that they sucked and made stupid calls. None of them can use my bathroom for Mardi Gras next year.
- The halftime show was this act called Russian Bar, which featured a nice looking chick, presumably from Russia, bouncing off a bar being held at either end by two big dudes, also presumably from Russia. It was a pretty good show, because if they were even a half inch off on the landing, she would have become one with the hardwood.
- Zack from 3 Shades: I hate the Hornets. Maybe more than any other Griz opponent.
So another win then. Twas scrappy at times and we could never really turn it into a blowout, but with two starters out and Chris Paul scoring little, it could have been a billion times worse.
Next up we've got a two-game trip to wrap up the pre-All-Star schedule. Tuesday sees the Hornets in Chicago to play the team they have there, and Wednesday it's off to Milwaukee because they also have a professional basketball franchise. The next home game is Wednesday, February 20th against Dallas. If we just sold out the Grizzlies, I can only imagine what the crowd will be like for the Mavs.