The Hornets beat the Bobcats
Twas a real nice stomping by the Hornets tonight. Our starters came out and set the tone early, the bench played pretty well in the second quarter, and by halftime we were looking good with 19-point lead. The game was blown open completely in the third quarter, with more of the same dominance at both ends by the Hornets. A 31-point advantage at the beginning of the fourth meant Byron got to rest all the starters for the final frame, and even some serious Devin Brown suckage couldn’t get the Bobcats close to a comeback.
All in all, it had to have been one of our more balanced attacks all season. Chris Paul finished with what looked like an effortless 15 points and 15 assists, not missing a shot in his 31 minutes. Peja threw home 5-6 from deep to finish with 17 points. David West had the jumper working and ended up with 17 points, 8 boards and 4 dimes in 29 minutes of work. Tyson Chandler got himself 13 points, 11 rebounds (6 offensive) and 3 blocks in just 24 minutes of action. Throw in 16 points off the pine for Morris Peterson and it was all just way more than the depleted Bobcats could handle.
Notes and observations, observations and notes…
- Real nice to see Tyson having a big night. He hadn’t managed a double-double in his past seven games, and tonight marked only his fourth such performance of the season. He got going early with some easy buckets and that seemed to get his energy up. Before long he was chasing down rebounds in the corner, running the break and wiping Bobcat layups off the face of the earth. That’s more like the Tyson we’re used to. Hopefully he can bring more of the same to Boston on Friday.
- Peja in the last five games: 19.8 points per game, 33-62 (.532) from the field, 22-34 (.647) from deep. And that’s in just over 30 minutes a night. Magical stuff. I don’t think it’s just a case of Peja getting in a groove either, but more a conscious effort to get him more involved offensively. Earlier in the season he was standing unused in the corner or on the wing for several trips at a time. Now we see Tyson setting back picks for him off the ball, and he’s getting fed more frequently when he draws a mismatch.
- Charlotte were without Gerald Wallace already due to a death of his grandmother, and they pulled the trigger on a deal with the Suns today which left them without Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. To celebrate, Larry Brown started two point guards (Felton and Augustin) and one Adam Morrison. I liked how we went right to Rasual in the post at the start of the game, which quickly forced Larry Brown to get a bigger guard (Matt Carroll) on the floor. Nothing like making the other team adjust to you.
- Of course, we were shorthanded, too, what with Mike James traded and Antonio Daniels not here yet. Luckily, we had Devin Brown step up. Oh no, wait, he actually played terrible. He threw up a few wild shots and turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter alone. D.J. Augustin was clearly too much for him at both ends. I’ll feel much better when Daniels gets acclimated and can eat up a bunch of those back-up PG minutes. It’s painfully obvious by now that Brown is a liability when he’s not paired with a real point guard in the backcourt.
- I missed out on the double CP throwback bobblehead. Sad face. The whole Hard Wood Classic thing was cool though. I’m pretty sure they would have drawn much less than 15,750 tonight had they not done it. I mean, who really wants to see the Bobcats on a miserable wet Wednesday night? They had some old-school singers for the anthem (Irma Thomas) and at halftime (Jean Knight), afro-cam replaced fan-cam, and even the Honeybees went retro with their uniforms (there was absolutely nothing wrong with those). Honoring the Bucs legends at the half got a nice response from the crowd, too.
- Is it just me, or do the Bobcats have a bunch of guys who haven’t lived up to the hype? Okafor, Morrison, May, Felton; all of them have had disappointing pro careers thus far. Not that Okafor is usually as bad as he played tonight (5 points, 8 boards, 4 turnovers), but that whole rivalry that was supposed to develop between him and Dwight Howard seems a little ridiculous nowadays.
- The final rebound advantage was 48-38 to the Hornets, but that’s after a fourth quarter where our bench just wasn’t interested in that whole facet of the game. Through the first three quarters, we OWNED the glass. Peja even managed to get two offensive boards on one possession in the first quarter. He looked like Dennis Rodman out there, except not as black or tattooed or crazy-haired and with a much better shooting stroke. But other than that, he looked exactly like Dennis Rodman.
- You know, for a guy who I’ve often heard described as a “jump-shooting big,” Sean Marks sure does miss a lot of jumpers. Check out NBA.com’s Hot Spots thingy tomorrow (by which time it should be updated) and see how Marks has fared shooting the ball from outside the key so far this season. It’s not a happy story. It’s a shame too that he’s not much of a scorer inside, getting blocked twice on dunk attempts tonight.
- That probably sounds like I hate Sean Marks, but I don’t at all. I’m sure he’d make a wonderful BFF and we could have very enjoyable bike rides together, but I’d much rather see Julian Wright and Ryan Bowen getting his minutes. Both those guys bring a bunch of energy to the floor, and even if that energy is a little too wild and out of control at times, it’s still better than what Marks has displayed so far.
- darkprince89 remarked in the game thread comments that Mo Pete established himself as the rightful starting two-guard with his performance tonight (16 points, 4-5 3FGs). Apparently Byron has said the job belongs to Butler for the foreseeable future, and I’m okay with that. Rasual’s jumper wasn’t falling tonight, but he fits in pretty well with the starting unit. If Mo can keep bringing some offensive punch off the bench, methinks that’s more of a reason to keep him there.
So the Hornets have now won 7 of 8. It’s hard to tell if they’ve really improved much since the slow start, or if they’ve just been beating up on some crappy foes. I guess we’ll know on Friday when they face the Celtics in Boston.