Hornets Lose to the Bucks

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Published: February 25, 2010

The rookies gave it their all yet again, but the end result was a 115-95 whooping at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. There were a lot of negatives so I’m going to run through them quickly first, and then get onto the good stuff so I don’t feel so depressed at the conclusion.

From the very beginning Andrew Bogut imposed his will, scoring 8 points in the first three minutes en route to 26 points and 13 rebounds in only 30 minutes. He might have been able to improve on the 24-20 he put up in the previous game had the Hornets been within a dozen points within the last 15 minutes.

The theme of the night was interior defense, or the lack thereof, as New Orleans managed to give up a season high 76 points in the paint while blocking only a single shot. It would be easy to point at Okafor, since he was the main culprit, but he had absolutely nothing in the way of help. He managed to change a few shots, but all of them seemed to go in anyway. David West was completely silent on defense, offering absolutely no help whatsoever to anyone. If teams are penetrating, West needs to provide help defense, even if it means taking a big step left.

The perimeter defense was atrocious as well, with nearly every single Buck driving at will into the paint. If you can’t stop teams from penetrating and you only have one good interior defender, it’s very hard to win games.

Oh, and Mo-P was injured within the first four minutes, leaving Collison and Thornton as the only healthy guards on the roster.

*Phew*

Onto the positive(s)-

Rookies

Collison finished with 22 points and 9 assists, narrowly missing a double-double. It was his seventh straight game with at least 18 and 9. What was really impressive tonight is that even though the offense wasn’t flowing right, he found a way to get his points anyway. His nine free throw attempts were one short of a career high. He held onto the ball well, finishing with only 3 turnovers in 42 minutes

Thornton returned to reality. Fortunately for us that’s still pretty damn good. He didn’t set any records or anything, but was still the Bees leading scorer with 25 points. At one point Gerry V noted that in the previous 48 minutes, all on the road, Buckets had scored 51 points.

Something else to note is that the rookies were among the minority of Hornets that seemed legitimately interested in playing defense. Thornton played just fine, generally keeping his man out of the lane. Collison was less successful, as he was mostly unable to prevent his man from pentrating the lane. Regardless, he never gave up. It would have been easy to follow the veterans and just stop caring, but these two seemed to play with some real passion throughout.

Collison, Thornton, and Paul are already among the best back courts in the league. We really haven’t seen them all at full strength yet, but when we do, we will likely be in for quite a treat.

Aaron Gray– Yes. Aaron Gray is in the good section. That’s how bad the rest of the team played. The big guy played 8 minutes, scoring two points, grabbing three boards, and accumulating three fouls. He was also the only Hornet not to record a negative +/-. From what the Bulls bloggers have told me, that’s a good night for him. He reminded me quite a bit of Hilton Armstrong, but with fewer turnovers. It’s sort of sad that I now use Hilton as the benchmark for a backup center. Should this be in the bad section?

Let’s go to bullets for the grand finale…

  • West finished with 19 points and 9 boards on . Considering his defense that still isn’t good enough to qualify for middle page status, so he gets to be a bullet tonight.
  • Andrew Bogut bought 100 season tickets in the lower bowl and held auditions for fans. The rowdiest and loudest 100 get to go for free to every home game. They are required to stand, chant and cheer. Read more here. Honestly that’s a pretty cool thing to do.
  • Jennings was held to only 9 points and 4 assists. He didn’t record a turnover. To the dismay of some fans, the rookie battle with Collison never really materialized.
  • The Hornets were outscored in every quarter.
  • The 20 point defeat is the biggest since November 14th, Jeff Bower’s second game as head coach.
  • Sean Marks made an appearance, playing for only the second time since November.
  • It’s been one more day since Chris Paul had his operation, and therefore we are one day closer to his return.

UPDATE: Game highlights…

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