The Hornets beat the Bobcats

Published: February 7, 2010

Normally after a game, I want to write about some items of interest about the Hornets game plan, and then bring up some other items to  illustrate styles of play from either team.  Tonight, however,  I’m flabbergasted.  Nothing in that game was normal or consistent.   Well, other than the fact Tyson Chandler wasn’t playing and Okafor was.

Where was the vaunted Charlotte defense?  Why did Nazr Mohammed not play in the second half for the Bobcats?  When was the last time Peja Stojakovic took 12 shots and every one was a different type of shot?  How does Morris Peterson end up with the best +/- of any player in the game?

Darren Collison

Tonight Collison had to score rather than create.  Despite having a great skillset for a rookie, he does not have the best court vision on drives.  He’ll find guys in the corner, or the big rolling to the basket, but he rarely finds the shooters on the wings unless he’s turned back on his drive and uses them to bail him out.  The Bobcats are a disciplined team, keeping fairly tight on the guys in the corner, and mostly relying on the guard and big in the paint to contest on penetration.  That style of defense left Collison with few of the passing options he was comfortable with . . . so he did other things:  he pushed the ball hard on fast breaks,  hit a few nice foul-line jumpers, and got to the rim on the biggest play of the game, dropping a tough layup over Ray Felton with his off hand.  Big shot.   He’s proven to be scary good in the closing minutes of games this season.

David West

It was a quiet 21 points on 14 shots for David West tonight.   You could tell from the moment the game started that he wanted to abuse Boris Diaw in the post.  Maybe there was some lingering resentment over losing the MIP award in 2006 to him, or maybe Fluffy just recognized that Diaw is as tough as Kleenex.  Either way, Diaw couldn’t keep him from the basket, and throughout the second half the Bobcats were throwing Raymond Felton at West to keep him from scoring at will.  The threat of West in the post opened up the perimeter game, and the Hornets freely passed the ball around the outside.  A nice inside-out type of game, aided by 40% shooting from deep by the Hornets.

There was one interesting moment in the fourth when David West caught the ball in the post and immediately some guy in the front row started yelling at him.  West worked Diaw into the paint and drilled a fadeaway over him, giving the Hornets a 10-point lead.  West then turned and barked something at the guy.  The woman next to the shouting fan shook her head at him and then turned and gave him a cold shoulder.  Hilarious body-language.

Other Observations
  • Gerald Wallace was clearly not recovered from his hamstring problem, because the Bobcats actually tried to hide their defensive ace after the first half by putting him on Peterson.  Peja had been getting any shot he wanted.  Up and unders, fadeaways, reverse layups, curls, and even a transition dunk.  Gil McGregor did say it best, though: “it was a dunk.  Not sure about the slam part.”
  • Peja willingly takes some ridiculously deep threes.  Sometimes it makes me want to strangle him.
  • Jason Hart stepped on the court, and the Bobcats immediately pressured him, forcing him and the rest of the Hornets to commit four turnovers.   Though Gil and Bob were trying desperately to sell Jason Hart as a smart player, if he can’t bring the ball safely up the court,  he’s not the answer. 
  • The Hornets didn’t handle the pressure until James Posey entered the game and forced it to ease with some smart passing.  From that point on, Hart looked better.  Still.
  • Boris Diaw lives to frustrate his fans.  Three times he got booed by the Charlotte crowd for turning down open shots.  Much like he did when he was in Phoenix, he consistently makes moves towards the basket, sets up open shots for himself, and then turns them down in favor of a pass to the perimeter that gains no advantage.  Just a confusing dude.
  • Morris Peterson hit two huge threes in that game to protect the lead.  As my buddy Josh would say, “Whenever Peterson hits a three, we win.” I roll my eyes whenever he says it, so I’m a little confused about why I’m repeating it here.

The upcoming week is tough, with the Magic, Celtics and the Jazz on tap.  I Hope Thornton returns by Monday.  We’ll probably need him.

Oh, and I understand there’s some other game tomorrow too.  Enjoy that as well.

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