The Hawks beat the Hornets

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Published: October 8, 2009

…but it’s okay, it’s only preseason.

The Hornets dropped their exhibition opener to the Hawks in Atlanta, 108-102. Our guys were thin up front with Emeka Okafor, Ike Diogu and Hilton Armstrong all sitting out to nurse minor injuries. Chris Paul delivered 20 points and 7 assists in 22 minutes, while Bobby Brown scored 23 points in 30 minutes of work. Check the box score here.

Bret LaGree of fellow THN site Hoopinion was at the game and was legendary enough to send along the following report:

Hilton Armstrong obviously didn’t play but, on tonight’s evidence, he needn’t worry about Earl Barron stealing his roster spot.

Julian Wright has a great (I fear it may be an innate) ability to overcomplicate a situation, to try to squeeze three moves into a play where only one is necessary but that wasn’t in evidence tonight. At the start of the game, he and Morris Peterson would spot up outside the arc, leaving the paint (extended) to Paul and West, maybe Sean Marks if he set a ball-screen for Paul. Wright would cut to the basket if his man helped defensively. The three he missed was in rhythm and as good a look from that range as he’s likely to have. The 16′ jumper he made on the baseline in third quarter looked very instinctual. He was far superior to the Hawks 2nd/3rd string in the fourth quarter.

He tried to post up Mario West. Songaila’s entry pass attempt was weak and from a bad angle. Wright did better taking West off the dribble and finding a teammate when help came.

As is I believe typical of Wright he was better defensively when guarding the ball (Jamal Crawford couldn’t do anything more than dribble in place against him.) than when he had to keep track of a shooter off the ball. Marvin Williams lost him early and made an open three in the corner.

Bobby Brown was the first small guard off the bench. There was a dead ball nine seconds after he came in. Byron Scott called him over, pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and appeared to speak in detail (with reference material) to Brown until play resumed. I don’t know if that says anything about Scott’s comfort with Collison and Thornton knowing the system so far but I found it interesting. Neither were listed in the injury report but there may be more information as to why they didn’t play tomorrow. Brown got a bunch of open looks against (mostly) Bibby in the first half but was an unimpressive 3-9 (1-4 3PTA) from the floor.

Peja Stojakovic looked slow but not unhealthy to me. I believe he was guarded by West or Marvin Williams on every first half possession. Peja’s not going to create his own shot against either of those guys. He looked fine when Marvin tried to take him off the dribble. Peja fouled him but everybody fouls Marvin in that situation, it’s half his offensive utility. Only possible worry would be that he failed to finish at the rim against West and Mike Wilks in the fourth quarter.

Hornets back at it tomorrow (Thursday), taking on the Bobcats in Greensboro, NC. That game tips at 6:30 p.m. Central. Not televised, but you can listen to Sean Kelley and Gerry V calling it on KMEZ, 106.7-FM.

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