The Hornets beat the Knicks

Published: April 5, 2008

Hello, Playoffs.

The win over the Knicks tonight at New Orleans Arena ensured some teal in the postseason for the first time since 2004. The Hornets, who finished with just 18 wins three seasons ago and were left out in the cold during last year's Playoffs, became the first team in the insanely tough Western Conference to reserve their place in the big dance. Aw yeah.

Chris Paul rips apart the Knicks

The Knicks were pesky tonight though. Took our guys about 45 minutes to shake them. Let's dive into the notes and figure out win number 53… 

  • Final score was 118-110 ( recap | box score | standings ). You might assume from that score line that not much defense was played, and you'd be right. Congratulations. The Hornets fumbled around for most of the game — much like a blind man encountering his first bra — then followed Chris Paul's lead to ensure another victory for New Orleans.
  • The defense was bad on both sides. The Knicks played zone for most of the night, and that seemed to limit David West's touches and really stalled our offense without Chris on the floor.

    We started off with a man-to-man D, then switched to a zone when we couldn't stop Zach Randolph catching the ball deep in the paint, or prevent Jamal Crawford from scoring all over the shop. The zone didn't really work for us though. It's not that we sucked at it completely, but the Knicks seemed to find enough space in there to squeeze up and hit tough shots, and every now and then they'd find a David Lee or a Malik Rose inside for an easy one. About two minutes deep in the fourth quarter, we switched back to man D, and held the Knicks to 15 points the rest of the way.

  • It was a little frustrating sitting there and watching the Knicks stick close for most of the game, but I've come to trust the Hornets a lot these days; Chris Paul in particular. I knew that kid wouldn't let us lose.

    Paul was spectacular all game. He finished with 33 points and 15 assists, and would have had closer to 20 dimes if Peja and D-West weren't struggling tonight. CP had a whole bunch of insane plays, like that triple-pump layup he tossed in with nine minutes left in the game, or that under-the-armpit pass he threw back to West in the final 90 seconds. He got creative on the break quite a few times actually, and the Knicks were powerless to stop him.

  • As mentioned, West and Peja struggled tonight. The Knicks seemed intent to double West and get the ball out of his hands, so there wasn't a whole lot he could do. He took just 13 shots (he averages 17), making 6 for 17 points.

    As for Peja, he appeared to be forcing the issue early on, taking a bunch of difficult shots when everyone else seemed to be getting good looks. As usual though, he came on strong in the fourth quarter, knocking down 5-of-7 shots for 12 points in the period. Overall he got 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting.

  • Tonight was Honeybee Night at the Arena. Every fan got a Honeybee poster on the way in, but that was just the beginning. Between the first and second quarter, we were treated to the Honeybee Olympics, which basically involved the ladies running and jumping and wheelbarrowing. It was splendid. At halftime, there was an extended Honeybee dance routine, which beat the hell out of any juggling act I've ever seen. It was a wonderful collage of white shirts, black socks, lots of hips and high kicks. It was all very interesting.
  • A fine game by Bonzi Wells tonight. Splinter would have been proud.

    Morris Peterson had himself a decent showing (11 points on 4-of-6 shooting), but Byron Scott opted to throw Bonzi in with the other starters for most of the fourth quarter. Wells made a big difference out there, crashing the boards, challenging shots and running the break. He finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds.

  • There was a kid sitting in front of me in section 118, wearing an old Baron Davis jersey with some white tape covering the name on the back and "Bird man" scrawled on top of it. That kid gets the whole recycling thing.
  • A nicely rounded performance from Tyson Chandler tonight: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
  • Play of the game: We'll cheat a little and give it to the random dude that did the 7-Up shootout thingy during a timeout in the third quarter. He had to hit a layup, a free-throw, a three-pointer and a halfcourt heave in something like a minute. All he needed was four shots. Yeah, he didn't miss once.

    His prize: a year's supply of 7-Up. "Congratualtions! Have some tooth decay."

  • From Jim Eichenhofer's observations

    The second-string center minutes are up for grabs. Hilton Armstrong made another positive step in the right direction in terms of his bid, netting four points and three rebounds in 14 minutes of action. He was also aggressive on defense inside, partly leading to five fouls. Meanwhile, Melvin Ely was a healthy inactive. Chris Andersen did not get into the game and is still waiting to make his home debut.

  • Tonight was another sellout, with the attendance announced as 17,779. It hardly seems surprising anymore.
  • Other blogs wrapping this one up: At the Hive and Best of New Orleans.

So there we have it. Once again, not the most inspiring performance by the Hornets, but a win nonetheless. Good news tonight too that the Spurs got demolished in Utah, so we're now 1.5 games clear of everyone else in the Western Conference.  

Next up we've got them G-State Warriors for an early battle on Sunday. Baron Davis and his cronies just lay a beat down on Memphis, but we owe them for snapping our nine-game winning streak back in January. Methinks we'll be getting some payback.

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