The Hornets beat the Raptors

Published: March 31, 2008

A nice showing by the Hornets up in Toronto this evening, where they led the Raptors by double digits for most of the game and wound up with win number 50 on the season.

Unfortunately, our bench decided to suck major ass in the fourth quarter and almost blew a 22-point lead. In a move to strengthen the defense of the second unit, GM Jeff Bower traded all our reserves for a Kevin Durant fathead immediately following the game.

Chris Bosh vs. David West. Our guy won.

Notes and stuff…

  • Final score was 118-111. Linkage: recap | box score | standings

  • David West set the tone early in this one, exploding for 16 first-quarter points and finishing with 32 overall on 13-of-21 shooting. The Raps tried guarding him with a few different guys, but it didn't seem to matter as West mixed it up with 17-footers, baseline fades and some nifty post work. He also played a very smart, unselfish game. The Raptors started sending more double teams at him as the game went on, and West did a great job of recognizing those and adjusting appropriately. We've seen him struggle numerous times this season when he gets that extra attention, but he seemed to have it all figured out tonight.
  • Chris Paul was great, as usual. His line: 20 points, 16 assists, 6 boards, 2 steals and 2 turnovers. He did his usual fine job of annoying the shit out of the other team on the pick and roll, often splitting the defenders to get in the lane, or just drawing them both out high to free up the screener.
  • Peja Stojakovic was on fire, dropping his first five triples and finishing with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Besides lighting it up from deep, he also took it inside every now and then, usually to exploit a mismatch.
  • With those three big guns rolling, it's no wonder the Hornets had 69 points by halftime, and 101 by the end of the third quarter. For the game, the Hornets shot an even sixty percent from the field.
  • The Raptors put plenty of points on the board, too, especially in the first half, when Chris Bosh dropped 19 points and Rasho Nesterovic added 12. Unfortunately for Toronto, those two managed to score just 4 points between them in the second half. I missed seeing exactly what it was that we did different on Bosh (if anything) after the half.
  • As mentioned, our bench almost killed us in this one. We had a 19-point lead with less than five minutes remaining, but then our reserves decided not to play any of that stuff that wins championships. Byron Scott had to bring the starters back in to close it out, but not before a layup by Jose Calderon made it a 6-point game with 94 seconds remaining and I just about soiled myself.

    Thankfully, Chris Paul hadn't gotten too cold sitting on the bench for the first nine minutes of the fourth, and had two assists left up his sleeve to seal the W.

  • The Raps' bench outscored ours 61-16. Toronto's head coach Sam Mitchell elected to keep his starters on the pine and continue riding with the reserves after they made a game of it again in the fourth quarter. Almost paid off.
  • Bonzi Wells scored 12 of our 16 bench points, all of which might have come against Jamario Moon on the low block. Wells suffered some back stiffness and had to come out the game in the second quarter, but didn't seem hampered by it later, especially when he was throwing that behind-the-back pass to Tyson Chandler for a three-point play.
  • It was Morris Peterson's first game back in Toronto since leaving the Raptors as a free agent last summer. The fans at the Air Canada Centre had many a sign to show their lingering appreciation for Peterson's time in the T Dot. In the game, Mo played 24 minutes and scored 8 points, which was actually his highest offensive output in more than three weeks.
  • Speaking of Mo-Pete, here's what he was doing one year ago today. Baby onions?
  • Play of the game? A whole bunch to choose from in this one, but I'll go with Peja's alley-oop to Tyson Chandler near the end of the fourth quarter. It was an especially high lob that Chandler really had no business catching, but he did just that and rammed it home. Making the play even better was the look on Peja's face as he ran back down court. It was as if he'd just dropped a stink bomb in the women's restroom.
  • Chandler finished his night's work with 17 points (8-9 FGs) and 10 rebounds. He has now scored in double figures the past four games.
  • We didn't get out-rebounded in this one, with the battle of the boards finishing at 34 apiece. That's not bad considering we shot such a high percentage. It seemed like the Raptors had absolutely no interest in crashing the offensive boards in the first half, letting us rip down a bunch of easy ones. I recall quite a few instances where Toronto would settle for a jump shot and then not have a single guy below the free throw line to go after the rebound. That definitely was not the case in the fourth quarter though.
  • Hey look, it's Linton Johnson again. I guess his 10-day with Phoenix didn't turn out so good.
  • Four games deep into this road trip and Chris Paul has dished 60 assists while turning the ball over just 5 times. I believe that ratio works out at something like incredible:1.
  • The win tonight puts us percentage points ahead of San Antonio at the top of the Western Conference. Those Spurs hammered the Rockets earlier today for their seventh straight win. Meanwhile, the Jazz continued to suck on the road, and G-State are leading the visiting Mavs as I type.

So 3-1 on this trip then, and 50 wins in the bag. None too shabby. Next up the Hornets have stops in Orlando on Tuesday and Miami on Wednesday. Then it's back to sweet home New Orleans for some games at the Hive. Aw yeah.

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