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The Hornets Beat the Grizzlies

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Published: March 21, 2009

The Hornets let the Grizzlies hang around and hang around until 4:33 was left on the clock, and then Paul called over Butler, West and Wright and said, “Hey, why are we letting them hang around?  We’re the cool kids!”

Three minutes later, the scrubs were in, the Hornets were up 16, and it was all giggles and champagne.  I wish they had been able to do it earlier.

Observations:

  • 2-11 shooting from deep.  Outside of a Paul blitz to the hoop, there’s little I enjoy more than the Hornet’s three point shooting the past couple years:  my breath catching as the ball goes airborne, the moment of sweet anticipation, and that little surge of triumph as the ball rips cord.  Simply fantastic.  Sadly, since Stojakovic has gone down the Hornets have shot 39-132 from deep, good for 29.5%.  Those moments of sweet anticipation and triumph have become angst and frustration.  Peja, come back, we need you.
  • Paul and West carried the Hornets tonight, putting in just about 2/3rds of the total offensive output while playing 41 and 42 minutes respectively.  West did the heavy lifting in the first half, scoring 17, while Paul took over in the second, pouring in 24.  The only guy who put up any resistance against David West was Darko Milicic, and no one was really able to slow Paul at all when he decided he wanted to score.
  • The Giraffe Calf was back with his full mojo tonight, stuffing the statbox like few can: 8 points on 6 shots, 7 rebounds with 2 offensive, four assists, four steals, a block and a single turnover.  He started off the game a little rough against Gay who drilled two shots over him, but after giving up two fairly easy looks, Wright basically shut Rudy down.  Wait, you say, Gay scored 23 on 14 shots?  Most of those came against Posey, who couldn’t stay in front of him to save his life.  He also had two of those crazy passes that look like he simply lost the handle on the ball, and instead find their target dead on.  West used to be as surprised as everyone else by those passes as they flew at his face at 90 miles an hour, but he’s gotten used to Julian recently and started catching and finishing them with style the past few games.

  • In the fourth, with Armstrong and Marks sitting with 9 fouls between them, Byron did the intelligent thing, going with the Hornet’s best five players on the night, running Paul, Butler, Wright, Posey and West against a somewhat smallish Grizzlies team.(Other than Gasol)  It really was no surprise that a minute after Wright was inserted for Marks that the Hornets ripped off their run.
  • I’d love for the Hornets to be able to take credit for the 20 turnovers the Grizzlies had, but about 6 of them occurred without a Hornet in spitting distance of the ball.  People always say that the Grizzlies need to run more, but tonight they simply couldn’t complete good passes while moving quickly.  Makes it kind of hard to have a consistent running game..
  • Butler opened up shooting poorly, but as can be expected from the Phoenix, the nail in the coffin during the fourth quarter was him calmly drilling a three from the corner.  He also did some nice work on OJ Mayo, who played 41 minutes and managed 2-5 shooting, 6 points and 3 turnovers.
  • The bench scored 11 points, but I’m not too upset by that.  Bowen, Peterson and Marks gave some nice minutes, and Posey was big during the fourth quarter, even if he was being destroyed the first three.

Golden State comes avisiting Sunday.  This matchup just doesn’t have the anticipation it once had.  Seeing Baron Davis play hard is always a joy, and he always did against the Hornets.  Now, he’s gone, and it’s just another game against a poor team.  Have a good night.

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