The Hornets beat the Blazers

Published: January 3, 2009

Now that’s how you start the new year.

Twas a great performance by the Hornets in Portland tonight, going in and beating the Blazers 92-77, despite losing Tyson Chandler in the third quarter. The game had more drama than Britney Spears with HIV on TNT. Let’s get to it all in bullet mode…

  • With four minutes left in the third quarter and the Hornets trailing 51-56, Chris Paul bricked a three-pointer at the shot clock buzzer. It was his ninth field goal attempt of the night, and he’d made just one of them, giving him 4 points in the game. Fast forward 13 minutes, and Chris Paul now has 17 points. He hasn’t missed a shot since that errant triple, and the Hornets’ lead is 83-71. Oh, and CP was busy resting on the bench for 3 of those 13 minutes.

    But really, was there ever any doubt that Paul would grab the game by the balls in the fourth quarter? We’ve seen him do it so many times this season and last; getting teammates involved early and not worrying about his own scoreline. Then when it comes to the crunch, he just refuses to be denied and wills in those same jump shots and floaters that misfired earlier in the game. The mark of a great player, for sure.

  • CP3’s final line: 17 points, 7-16 FGs, 11 assists, 7 boards, 1 steal, 3 turnovers. But perhaps the most important number of all alongside his name in the boxscore is 36. That’s how many minutes he played tonight, and that’s nothing but fantastic coming against a really tough Blazer team on the road. Byron was able to get Chris some good rest because Antonio Daniels was out there making solid, non-Mike-James plays. In fact, we were +3 tonight with Chris Paul on the bench, which makes me feel how I feel when I’m drinking cold beach-bar beer on a warm sunny day. Worth mentioning too that we’re now 8-0 when Daniels gets in the game.
  • Also worth mentioning that Sean Marks and Devin Brown did not play tonight, and even though it’s January now, that alone makes Byron Scott fully deserving as Coach of the Month for December.

  • So Tyson and Joel Przybilla got into it. That’s been coming a long long time. I have mixed emotions about the whole incident. I do like Tyson standing up to the enemy, and he’s been lacking energy and passion this season so hopefully this might get him back on track in that regard. That said, I believe the officials were right to eject him. The hand slap that started it all was bitchier than it needed to be, and had Tyson just held back after Przybilla threw the forearm, the refs would have given Ghostface the brunt of the punishment (one replay even shows the referee on the baseline stepping in after Przybilla retaliated). But that return forearm by Tyson was real hard and real high and definitely warranted an end to his night’s work. Given that it was called a flagrant 2, the NBA will review it and may suspend Chandler for a game or more. I’d assume he’ll miss at least the game in Denver tomorrow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the penance is even harsher than that.
  • By the way, did anyone catch what Przybilla said as he backed away from Tyson after that hard hit? Looked like “I’ll fluff you up!” but then my lip reading skills may need some work.
  • David West OWNED LaMarcus Aldridge out there, on both ends of the floor. Sorry, Blazer fans, there’s just no denying it. West was firing home all kinds of fantasticness over the head of Aldridge, then bodying him up for the goodo at the other end, forcing him into some real tough shots. Both guys were drawing double teams, but West handled the extra attention much better, stepping out of the post and facing up so he could see the help coming. Meanwhile, Aldridge went back-to-the-basket and got caught numerous times when he tried to turn into the middle. West finished with 25 points on 12-21 shooting; Aldridge had 13 on 5-18 from the field.
  • Only fair to note that LaMarcus did out-rebound West 10-4, but as a team the Hornets held a 34-30 edge on the boards, which was a big deal considering Tyson only played 18 minutes. Posey deserves a lot of credit for our edge, since he snared 9 boards off the bench. Oh, and he also threw in 15 points and the usual sticky D. Rudy Fernandez didn’t look all that hot when The Phantom got his mitts on him.
  • Travis Outlaw is automatic with that mid-range J. He just doesn’t miss it, especially when he gets one dribble in and then rises. Pity about his passing though.
  • Hilton Armstrong got 23 minutes due to Chandler’s ejection, and he had perhaps his best game of the season. Not only did he score a bunch of big baskets, move very well without the ball and finish with 12 points on 6-6 shooting, but he also played some tremendous D on Greg Oden, keeping the old man a good distance from the basket and forcing him to settle for some long hooks. Asked about Hilton’s performance after the game, Oden responded “Whaaa? Speak into my good ear, will ya?”
  • Only 7 free throws attempted tonight, compared to 18 for the Blazers. Granted, the fact that they only had two referees out there (one called in sick) meant that a few calls went uncalled, but I thought we actually benefitted from the depleted crew since Armstrong and West were playing some pretty physical D out there.
  • All our guys played well tonight apart from Butler and Peterson, though the latter didn’t get a lot of burn. Rasual followed up his 21-point, 5-of-8-from-three performance against Washington by missing both his attempts tonight and going scoreless in 18 minutes. To be fair, he was hampered by foul trouble, and he has been a million times better than anyone expected him to be this season, so we’re still gonna answer the phone later when he calls to talk about girls and school and other cool stuff. BFF’s, for real.
  • Man, I almost forgot about Peja. Dude lit it up in the first quarter, answering Ryan’s prayers with a barrage of three-pointers and a for-the-hell-of-it hook shot. That would be 11 points for Stojakovic before the second frame. He’d go scoreless then until he fired home a ridiculously long triple late in the fourth and the game pretty much done. I threw my head back and let loose a Bond-villain laugh for that one. Peja would probably make a good Bond villain. He’d be old school, wearing the Dr. No suit, stroking his beard with one hand and a white fluffy cat with the other, legs crossed sitting on a big chair behind a long table, ready to flip a hidden switch and pull the floor from beneath Bowen. Bruce Bowen.

That’ll do me. First recap in almost two weeks, but sure tis like riding a bike. Hornets back at it tomorrow night in the high place, tip off is at 8 Central. I seem to remember us rolling into Denver on Thanksgiving sans Tyson Chandler and coming away lossless. A repeat would be real nice.

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