The Hornets Beat the Pistons

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Published: February 26, 2009

The game was a hard fought one, with neither side willing to back down.  Detroit had two fortunate things happen to them in the game: Iverson got hurt and Hamilton took his minutes, and Rasheed Wallace got tossed, and Maxiell came in for him.  Both of those were fortunate for them – Iverson was a mess and couldn’t get open for a shot, and Wallace, despite having gotten momentarily hot from the outside, was letting Chandler slip by him to the boards all night, and wasn’t interested in rotating on defense.  Maxiell was getting after the rebounds, fighting West non-stop, and Hamilton was at his finest coming off multiple picks and getting open shots.

Observations

  • David West had himself a game, with 30 points, 10 rebounds(6 offensive), 3 assists, and 2 blocks to accompany his lone turnover.  He got to the line 13 times, and like Joe noted in the Game On comments, he’s been passing from the high post really well the past few games, creating open looks under the basket.  Like in Sacramento, he had several great plays at the end of the game, including  a nice block of Maxiell on a putback and then snagged a huge rebound on the last shot by the Hornets, forcing the foul and the final three point margin. 
  • For the second game, Byron pulled Rasual Butler in the fourth after he was unable to stick with a shooter.  Last game it was Kevin Martin, this game it was Rip Hamilton.  It bothered me a little though – in both games, they left Rasual Butler on an island.  When he couldn’t keep up with those guys as they ran through multiple  picks, the Hornets didn’t really move to help him.  As soon as Posey or Peja came in for him, West and Paul started stepping out to help more and the defense became a lot more reactive.  I’m sure that’s the instructions, and it’s a sign of respect for Butler’s ability, but that doesn’t make Rasual’s life any easier.  Offensively, Butler was in a nice rhythm early, but forced a few shots late.

  • West’s frontcourt buddy, Tyson Chandler, snagged a season high 17 rebounds and finished the pick and roll with emphasis several times in the first half.  He managed only one foul this game, though a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that other than the ineffective Stuckey and Iverson, there wasn’t anyone willing to go towards the basket while shooting.  Tyson seemed to tweak his ankle or knee later in the game, but stayed in and still worked hard.  Great to see.
  • Paul had a poor shooting night, shooting 6-17 for 20 points, but he of course added 13 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.  At the end of the fourth, he repeatedly broke down the defense but missed those little floaters in the lane he almost always puts down.  Fortunately, most of the time he had drawn so many defenders that one of the bigs could crash the boards and put it down.
  • The Hornets bench crashed and burned when it came in.  It wasn’t even that they were missing shots – they had trouble getting shots at all, turning the ball over four times and generating only three shots in the second.  Altogether the Hornets bench provided six points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers and six fouls.  No wonder West and Paul played 42 and 43 minutes each.  Julian played.  That was nice.
  • Can’t wrap this up without giving a shout out to Peja.  During the first half, he was money, going 7-12 for 17 points, and shooting 3-6 from deep.  He stuck his shots, and though he couldn’t stop Tayshaun Prince from scoring on him early in the game, he figured it out later and kept him from easy shots.  That’s all we need from him.  I would so love to see him keep it up.

We play next on Friday against the Bucks.  Let’s hope the streak continues.

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