The Hornets beat the Warriors
The Hornets wrapped up their four-game road trip with a 123-110 win over the Warriors tonight. There’s an unusually big gap there in the final score, but rest assured that the Hornets tried their best to make it a close game by letting a 27-point lead with 7 minutes remaining be whittled down to as little as 10 points with 90 seconds still on the clock. Jeff Bower had to finish the game out with the likes of Chris Paul and David West to secure the W.
Not much to complain about though with a 3-1 road trip wrapped up and a nice spot in the elite eight for the first time all season.
We’ll go bullet style for the game notes since it’s late and my brain hates me…
- Chris Paul was all kinds of synonyms for amazing tonight. He dropped 38 points on 14-of-19 shooting, hit all 9 of his free throws and also racked up 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. He did have 7 turnovers, and there was really no excuse for the majority of them, but let’s not focus on those. He was aggressive with the ball and attacked Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry regularly, hitting all sorts of tough shots even when Ronny Turiaf was flying at him. The All-Star reserves are announced tomorrow (Thursday), and methinks CP is a safe bet to make it.
- A bad overall performance by David West, even though he came up with some big plays in the fourth quarter. He was absolutely killing his team for most of the game. Corey Maggette got two quick scores against him in the opening minute, and so he switched defensive assignments with Peja and ended up trying to guard C.J. Watson. Of course, Watson then went off for 12 points before the first quarter was done. West couldn’t get much going offensively either with Maggette holding his ground in the post pretty well and having frequent help. West still finished with 17 points (6-of-14 shooting) and 12 rebounds, but I’d say he hurt more than he helped out there.
- Peja did a much better job on Maggette. All he did was stay in front of him really, but experts tell me that that’s a good way to stop a guy from getting to the basket. Also 14 points for Peja on 4-of-6 shooting in 28 minutes. Great minutes.
- Just something to note: I’m pretty sure the Hornets didn’t manage more than one pass on any offensive possession until six minutes into the first quarter, and I didn’t see any plays being called or run until about nine minutes had elapsed.
- Marcus Thornton delivered a nice all-around performance. Only his scoring (18 points) stands out in the box score, but he played the passing lanes well on defense and didn’t give Monta Ellis anything easy.
- Good minutes from Darren Collison at both ends of the floor. He also had a few too many turnovers, but he pushed the pace at the right times and did some nice work as a one-man full-court press. 12 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 turnovers in 23 minutes.
- James Posey left the game early in the second quarter after straining his right achilles trying to take a charge. He was able to walk to the locker room but didn’t return. Jeff Bower threw Morris Peterson out there for a few minutes but Mo went 0-for-3 and got to sit on the bench for the rest of the game. 15 minutes of total PT in January now for Mo.
- Julian Wright resorts to that spin move more than he should.
- 1:38 left in the third and Paul hit a three from the corner as he was fouled. Very nice, but it looked like he stuck his leg out on the play to draw the contact. I’ve seen him do that several times in the last couple of weeks. It was called as an offensive foul once, which it should always be.
- Emeka Okafor had an efficient outing, delivering a double dozen in just 28 minutes. He did a pretty good job on Andris Biedrins, keeping him away from the basket on the catch and limiting his rebounds.
- 24 turnovers for the Hornets in this one, which is high even considering that the Warriors average more steals than any team in the league. Lots of sloppy passing due to the fast pace. New Orleans made up for it though with a bunch of free throws, good shooting and +15 board work.
- Speaking of free throws, the Hornets must be making a conscious effort to get to the line more. They attempted just 12 compared to San Antonio’s 38 back on January 18, but in the five games since then the Hornets have averaged 24.8 trips to the line compared to 20.6 for their opponents. Thanks to that improvement, the Hornets no longer average the fewest free-throw attempts per game this season, having just leapfrogged Milwaukee.
- The 123 points tonight were a season high for the Hornets. Also worth noting that they’ve now won 7 of their last 10 on the road after starting the season 2-13 away from New Orleans Arena.
- Aaron Gray was suited up and ready to play tonight. But he didn’t.
- During the third quarter of the game, CST had a graphic showing the best records of first-time coaches through 35 games since 2000. Bower was fourth on the list, behind Avery Johnson, Lawrence Frank and Michael Curry. Of course, all three of those guys ended up being fired.
Hornets back home on Friday to take on the Chicago Bulls. Not sure if we’re ready for the wrath of twice-scorned Devin Brown.
UPDATE: Video highlights of the game from NBA.com: