Game 4: Once More Into the Breach

Published: April 27, 2009

The Hornets try to even the series tonight and send it back to Denver as a best of three contest.  Paul now has a sore knee – as does Posey.  Let’s see if they can gut one out – or maybe West can finish some of those layups he generated last game, and help carry the guys to their next win.

Some random thoughts about the series:

  • There have been a lot of people celebrating the Nuggets’s defense of David West in this series – and as much as I dislike the red-lipped thickneck Kenyon Martin, there is no denying he’s been anything less than stellar.  There is one thing, however, that irritates me no end about the coverage of this series.  How can anyone possibly congratulate Martin on his defense, and in the same breath state “There is no way Peja Stojakovic can handle Carmelo Anthony.”  Give me a break.  Martin has reduced West from 1.23 points per shot to .96 points per shot, and forced West’s turnovers up by 0.6 per game.  However, Peja has been having his own success on Anthony.  The Hornets only sent double teams for a brief stretch of game two against Anthony, and otherwise have largely left Peja on an island against the Nuggets top scorer.  The result is Anthony earning 1.06 points per shot this series, down from 1.25 points per shot in the regular season.  Granted, Anthony’s turnovers are down and assists up, but really, is that the sign of a Peja being a bad defender?  Kill Peja for for his 5 total rebounds and one lonely assist in 90 minutes of work. Don’t kill him for his defense, he’s doing a fine job.

  • Tyson is only 26 years old, and yes, you don’t trade young capable centers, but Mikey brought up a good point a couple games ago.  We killed Bower for the trade he tried at mid-season to get Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox.  While he insisted it was for basketball reasons, everyone rolled their eyes and dismissed it as financial.  However – Bower had to know that Tyson’s ankle injury was ugly and would take a long time to heal.  The Hornets in the off-season made the decision(clearly signalled by the Posey signing) that they were going to try to contend for a title now.  Joe Smith has averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds in 20 minutes in the playoffs for Cleveland and Dikembe Mutombo on one leg would be an upgrade over Armstrong, much less Chris Wilcox.  If the Hornets had those two able bodies in there right now to soak up Tyson’s 27 minutes, is there any question they’d give more than 5 points, 5 fouls, 2.7 turnovers, and 6 rebounds a game?  Add all that to the salary implications we all pointed to when the trade was made, and I don’t blame Bower one bit for trying to move Tyson in that deal.(Cue screaming Bower-Haters)
  • Quietly, Rasual Butler has been going about his business.  The Phoenix has converted 9 of 12 shots from three during the series.  He’s also quietly gotten better in every game.  Let’s hope he continues his ascent tonight.
  • I haven’t seen Byron get a technical foul since I watched a Hardwood Classics game when he was coaching the New Jersey Nets.  It was immensely satisfying.  Maybe now I can understand those soccer fans who say their sport is so great because the goals mean something because they take so long to develop . . . okay, not really.
  • I have to agree with every comment I’ve seen on this blog about JR Smith.  I’m so happy he was traded away.  Athletic and shooting gifts aside, the guy is a train wreck.

Enjoy the Game.

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