Recap of Hornets v Wizards in Barcelona

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Published: October 18, 2008

The Wizards got back Antawn Jamison, Antonio Daniels and Juan Dixon for this game, but the ending score was even worse than the previous game for them.  The Hornets grabbed a lead in the first quarter behind the Human Scalpel, Chris Paul, and never let go.  Even when Caron Butler went nuts in the third against our second unit, we still maintained a comfortable 12 point cushion throughout.

Observations:

  • Melvin Ely was credited with 5 blocks.  I saw two.  He had a nice offensive night, and his hook was rolling , but rookie JaVale McGee made him look (okay, showed him to be) earthbound and slow on the defensive end.
  • JaVale looked very nice, and the announcers were raving about him.  He’s got some very good offensive instincts and touch and will, without question, be a contributor this season.  However – hidden by his fantastic blocks and solid scoring was his complete inability to block out on either end.  He’s very tall, and hasn’t figured out how to handle shorter, stronger guys . . . yet.  Melvin and Hilton pushed him around quite a bit.
  • Once again, Hilton played aggressively.  I really liked his on the ball defense this game, and when he had a shot, he took it.  He had one pretty funny play in the third when he grabbed a rebound, took the ball the length of the court, burned a guy on a behind-the-back dribble, and then lost control of the ball when he attacked the basket.  He also only managed to corral 3 rebounds.  Stone hands, man.
  • I’ll say this right now.  I love James Posey.  Love him.  He’s giving it all in the pre-season, his defense is intelligent, his offense is the same.  Already the Paul-Posey connection in the corner is catching fire.  The Hornets are going to make it RAIN from three point range this year.
  • Mike James had a pretty rough game.  They were hounding him on the perimeter, and he had some trouble getting the ball where it needed to go, ending with him taking some bad shots.  He still managed to contribute other ways by hitting the boards and playing pretty solid defense.  I’ve still got him with the edge over Devin Brown.
  • Devin was sloppy with the ball – throwing it away a couple times on bad passes.  He’s a great rebounder, however, going into traffic three times to rip the ball away – and on the second unit he was the only guy really pushing hard in transition.
  • I am a little concerned by the second unit’s ability to penetrate and run an offense.  We may, once again, suffer through a lot of scoring droughts while the second unit is playing.  Like last year, though, that second unit defense is going to be a tough nut to crack.
  • Sometimes I wish Peja would get on the floor and dig out a rebound.  Just once or twice.
  • Rasual Butler may force Byron Scott to play him.   He’s been shooting well, and his defense, like it always was, is very good – especially as an open floor or help defender.
  • Once again, Ryan Bowen helped out everywhere, doing a little of everything – 1 rebound, 1 layup, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, and . . . 5 POINTS!  Career high?  I still like his 5 minute bursts of energy.

The season is almost upon us, my friends.

I want to say one thing about Paul.  When he’s been on the floor, even with other All-stars like Duncan, Parker, Butler, and Jamison, he has clearly been the best player.  He dominates the ball, dominates the action, and he’s relentless.  Even in this pre-season he’s been probing the defense aggressively and half the time he’s exploiting a mistake before you even can recognize they made one.  I’m completely in awe of him.

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