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The Hornets beat the Warriors

Published: March 23, 2009

Finally the Hornets were able to come out, build up a big lead, and pretty much sustain it all the way to the finish. The Warriors fell in love with the no-passing and the long-shooting in the second quarter and our reserves were able to stretch the lead out. We weren’t having much luck from downtown either, but our guys were disciplined enough not to keep chucking, instead getting inside for more reliable looks. It was pretty much tit for tat in the third quarter and most of the fourth, until we started to look tired and G-State put a run together. Not enough time left though for them to make it all the way back, or for the Hornets to deliver free chicken. Shucks.

Some bullets for your perusal…

  • Hilton Armstrong was having himself one helluva game before he got his finger all cut up early in the third and had to leave to go get stitches. He had a double-double by halftime, showing some very nice, aggressive moves against Anthony Randolph down low and coming up with rebounds at both ends of the floor. In just 16 minutes of action, Hilton ended up with 14 points (5-of-6 FGs), 11 boards and a block. Hopefully the finger thing won’t cause him to miss any more time.
  • Rare sighting of some good play by the Hornets bench in the second quarter. It helped that the Warriors seemed intent on settling for long and quick jumpers, but our guys took care of the boards and found ways to score. We had Antonio Daniels knocking down shots, lots of guys taking it to the rim, and Ryan Bowen running around causing several varieties of havoc. We’d put an 11-2 run together before David West returned to the floor, and Byron was able to rest Chris Paul for nine whole minutes of game time. Very nice job by the second unit. I’m already looking forward to the next blue moon.

  • Speaking of Bowen, he also got hurt tonight. I didn’t see it happen, but apparently he dislocated his shoulder. He didn’t seem in any pain though when he left the game in the second quarter, receiving a nice cheer from the crowd for his relentless hustle. He was back on the bench later with his shoulder all wrapped up, and rumor has it he was doing one-arm push ups in the locker room after the game, just to keep that adrenaline flowing.
  • Byron’s decision to leave our big guns in at the start of the fourth quarter was not a good one. I guess he was hoping we could put another quick run together to really finish off the Warriors, then empty the bench for the final eight or nine minutes. Less risky would have been to start the fourth as we started the second, only bringing West and Paul back if the Warriors made a run. That way the bench would have been rewarded for their earlier play and our starters would have been ready with fresh legs to squash any comeback attempt. As it was, the Warriors made their run anyway and Byron couldn’t take West and Paul out of the game for fear of blowing it. Our two All-Stars didn’t look perky down the stretch either, with West having trouble holding onto the ball and CP settling for long jumpers. Fortunately we don’t play again until Wednesday, and Byron had already decided to give Chris and D-West the day off from practice tomorrow.
  • Twas kid’s night at the Arena tonight, as well as Hugo’s birthday. They had a kid do the pre-game intros, and there was the crowd-favorite baby race at halftime (hio1515 must have been loving that). A few other NBA team mascots were in attendance, including Houston’s Clutch and his pink thong. Inflatable clutch was at the party too, and he managed to swallow a Honeybee during one game break. Can’t blame him, she did look delicious.
  • Methinks the Warriors are a fairly undisciplined bunch. In Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson, they have two guys that can get to the free throw line anytime they want to, but they seem far more content to settle for those long jumpers. To be fair, they really only fell into that trap in the second quarter, but that proved to be the difference in the ballgame. Had they stayed focused and attacked the basket in Q2, they would have given themselves a great chance to win this game.
  • By the way, does anyone know what was up with Don Nelson chilling on the bench all game, preferring to let assistant Keith Smart work the sideline? Is that how Nellie usually runs ship?
  • West had to work hard for his 23 points. He shot the ball pretty well, but he ended up with 5 turnovers. The Warriors doubled him a lot and Maggette was pretty physical with him in the second half. West did make some nice passes out of the post though, finishing with 6 assists, only two shy of CP.
  • Some numbers: Rebounding ended up even at 47, though we had a 30-23 edge at the half. The Warriors finished 4-of-19 from deep (they were 1-of-12 in the first half), we were 4-of-16. We went 17-20 from the free throw line, they were 21-of-27. We led points in the paint, 46-42. Golden State had 15 fast break points to our 13, which speaks well of our transition D and the pace of the game being in our favor.

The Rockets beat the Spurs in San Antonio earlier today to move into that second playoff spot. We’re now in fifth, just 1.5 games behind Houston. Full standings here. The Nuggets are a half game ahead of us, and they just so happen to be our next opponent, dropping by the Arena on Wednesday. Those guys can be handy at the rebounding and the inside scoring, so let’s hope our bigs are all healed up and ready to rumble by then.

To finish on a positive note, Peja has been on the bench in a suit for the past three games (maybe just for the first halves; I can’t recall seeing him after halftime). I’ll take that as a good sign that his back injury isn’t too bad, since he’d surely be staying home getting supermodel massages and drinking herbal tea if the spine was all achy-breaky all the time.

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