The Hornets Beat the Clippers

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Published: January 14, 2010

So, the Hornets get their second double-digit win of the season, against the Clippers, who they got their other double-digit win of the season against.  I don’t much care who it was against.  It was just nice to not be on edge during the fourth quarter for once. 

The ball movement in the third was excellent.  A lot of that had to do with the Clippers defense being somewhat slow, but it’s still great to see three or four passes lead to a layup, and it happened a good half-dozen times.

Marcus Thornton

Marcus Thornton was fantastic tonight.  When he crashes the offensive glass, he looks like he’s on spring, and he’s got an amazingly quick release.  He ended with 11 points, 5 rebounds(3 offensive), 2 assists, and no fouls.

He impresses me no end, because he’s clearly one of the smaller guards out there.  He might be listed at 6’4″, but he doesn’t look much bigger than Paul on the floor, and next to Eric Gordon, who is listed at 6’3″, he looked like he was giving up both height and about 30 lbs.  Didn’t matter though.  He played him – and Baron Davis – with energy and didn’t back down.

Defense & Rebounding

Despite the win, there were two things I wasn’t happy about.  In the first quarter, it was the defense.  The Clippers attacked quickly off of every miss, and the Hornets got back, but didn’t really help each other, resulting in some quick buckets.  If Peja and Okafor hadn’t been dropping their jumpers, it could have gotten pretty ugly.  Happily the defense tightened up, particularly at the end of the second and beginning of the third, and the early attacks dried up, making the Clippers work a little harder for their points.

Unfortunately, while the defense improved as the game went on, the Hornets were pummeled on the boards for the whole contest.  While it was just(just?) an 8 rebound difference, it felt worse than that because sometimes there were two or three Clippers claiming the inside position on offensive rebounds.  Camby alone had 10 offensive rebounds.  10!

Yes, I know Deandre Jordan and Craig Smith are big, powerful dudes.  Yes, I know Camby is a rebounding champion.  I can take getting beat on the boards, but the Hornets didn’t even look like they were trying out there at times.  Posey and Songaila, in particular, struggled with the boards.  I’m used to seeing that out of Songaila.  I was a little surprised at Posey, because the boards are usually his one clear strong suit.

Other Observations
  • Peja was on fire tonight.  He hit curls and runners alike, and nailed some deep threes he had no business taking, much less making.  At one point when the Clippers went zone in the fourth, it seemed like the team was in a “Get the ball to Peja, he’ll bail us out” mode.  Not great to see, but he was doing it.
  • David West opened 0-5, and I noticed he seemed to be hobbling a little both at the end of the first and during part of the second.  Whatever it was must have been bother him, because he was settling for jumpers early on.  Happily, he must have shook it off during halftime, because he went 5-8 during the second half, mostly on forays into the paint for scores at the rim.  He also generated 3 assists during the big run in the third.
  • In a 14-point win, Bobby Brown managed to post a -13 +/- in 10 minutes.  I hope Collison’s knee feels better soon.  I’m not mad or anything – there’s a reason he’s a third string point guard – but Collison is so much better.
  • It felt almost weird watching Devin Brown miss all those three-pointers tonight. That’s one more thing I can put on the board labeled “Things I thought I’d never say about Devin Brown.”  Luckily, Eric Gordon, who is also a sharpshooter, decided to match him brick for brick.
  • Paul was masterful.  15 and 15 with 4 steals.  Only 11 shots.  No turnovers.  He and Okafor hooked up for 5 slick pick and rolls in the paint too.  Good stuff.  He also tore into West audibly on one play when the ball swung around the perimeter and he was supposed to be in position on the block to receive it, but instead was still in the paint waiting for a shot.  “Damn D-West, get to your SPOT!”  You know, I’m glad I’m not a professional athelete.  Being yelled at by your team leader and tens of thousands of fans would probably be wearing after a while.
  • Julian had some nice minutes.  Not spectacular, but nice.

Next game is Friday, the first night of a road segababa against the Pistons and Pacers.

Have a good night.

UPDATE: Check Mr. Kennedy’s post-game Journal report, plus highlights from NBA.com…

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