The Raptors Beat the Hornets

Published: December 20, 2009

The Hornets had an early game up in Toronto, and once again were unable to get it done on the road, falling to a fairly weak Raptor squad.  The Hornets had several things go wrong for them tonight, but this was a very winnable game.  .500 will have to wait.

Chris Paul

I’m a little confused by Jeff Bower’s use of Chris Paul at times.  Yes, I know he’s a top 3 talent in the league, but the man is fighting an ankle injury, comes up gimpy in the second quarter, and they still played him 40 minutes.  It was also obvious it was bothering Paul too.  No explosions into the paint, several mid range jumpers rather than drives, and his defense was atrocious in the second half as any determined drive to the basket would lose him.  It was an ugly game for him – 10 points on 13 shots, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal and five turnovers.  Basically, he played like Jason Kidd.

Collison proved earlier in the season he can run the team.  If Paul’s hurting, then play the rookie.

Shooting Woes

The Hornets lost by 6.  The Raptors are a bad defensive team, and you have to take advantage of that.  The Hornets did not.  I counted three missed uncontested layups by David West, one by Okafor, and two by Peja.  Uncontested.  If that wasn’t bad enough the Hornets missed numerous wide open three pointers.  3-21, with almost everyone contributing to the clankfest.

Only Okafor and Songaila looked in sync on offense tonight.  West and Paul found Okafor repeatedly with excellent bounce passes through traffic for dunks, and Songaila shot like Songaila always does.  He’s got a smooth 12-footer.

Rookie Report

Thornton was aggressive both offensively and defensively.  He did get trapped several times in bad situations, but he still looks good as a scoring option off the bench.  Particularly if he starts sticking his threes again.

Collison looked pretty good in his limited time.  He did get bullied a bit by stronger Raptor guards, but the tempo of the game increased greatly with him out there, and that did help the Hornets a little.

Other Observations:

  • West struggled mightily with Bosh, but he was working like a dog trying to keep him out of the paint.  I don’t care if he ends up getting burned a bit, as long as he’s leaving it all out there.   I think the effort he was expending on the defensive end contributed to the misses of easy looks on the other end.
  • Peja actually had a good game – if you take away the clangs of his open three point looks.  Otherwise, he was cutting, scrapping and contributing.  He did a good job on Turkoglu too.
  • Posey was great on Bosh.  He was easily the Hornets best defender as he got right up on Bosh and didn’t buy any of his shot fakes.  He also boxed him out like a champ.

Next game is Wednesday, against Golden State.

UPDATE: Video highlights from the game…

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