Hornets fall to Bobcats in OT

By:
Published: October 20, 2010

The Hornets pulled out all the stops in order to try and end their preseason skid (including playing CP3 40+ minutes!!), but still fell short to the Bobcats 106-97 in overtime. The Hornets seemed to have the game in hand, leading 88-81 with 2:14 remaining, but they could not close Charlotte out due to poor defense, dumb fouls, and the inability to control the lane down the stretch.

On a good note, the Hornets started off red hot in David West’s first game back, going up by as many as 14 points in the 1st quarter. CP3 was finding people early and often. On the first play of the game he hit D West for an open jumper, and Paul finished the quarter with 6 assists in 10 minutes of play. As well as Paul played; however, the first quarter was the Marco Belinelli show. On the next three possessions after West’s jumper, Marco sank back to back to back threes, including one from nearly thirty feet out after a broken play. He finished the game 6 of 10 from three, scoring 25 points in 33 minutes.

Defensively the Hornets struggled, especially with staying in front of their men and avoiding fouls. Gray and Pops foul per minute averages were horrible and nobody on the front line seemed to have enough quickness to stay in front of Tyrus Thomas, who along with Steven Jackson, created the majority of the fouls. As for the perimeter defense, an optimist would say the Hornets defended the three-point line relatively well and a pessimist would say the Bobcats simply missed some shots that a team like Orlando would drill in their sleep. Depends on how you choose to see it I guess.

The strangest thing about this game was the absence of two of New Orleans key cogs- Emeka Okafor and Marcus Thornton. Neither has any injury issues that we know of, and neither is so well versed in the new system that they couldn’t benefit from time on the court. Speculation is not supposed to be a part of game recaps, but it is hard not to wonder if Dell Demps is having conversations behind closed doors about these two players specifically.

As for the race for the final 2-3 roster spots, nobody stood out in this game particularly. Mbenga had some nice moments in the first quarter, but turned the ball over quite a bit later in the game. After his MVP like performance on Monday, Pops didn’t stand out and was overmatched by the younger and more explosive Thomas when he tried to cover him.  Neither Curtis Jerrells nor DJ Strawberry did anything to distinguish themselves as a guy who should make this roster, let alone get any playing time once the season starts. If I had to guess, I think the Hornets will keep Jerrells due to his upside, however I think he will start the season in the D-League where he will continue his transition to becoming a pass-first PG.

Finally, Peja gave a spark at the beginning of the 4th quarter when the Hornets seemed to be dragging a bit. People get on Peja because he hasn’t lived up to his contract, but it is not his fault that he was offered that money? If somebody wants to pay you like that, would you turn it down? The fact is that his salary is his salary and nothing can be done about that. What we have to look at moving forward is whether or not he is a productive player regardless of his salary, and I think he is. His stats at the end of the game were not a reflection of how he played because he was forced to take several bad threes at the end of overtime because the Hornets were trailing.

There are not many guys in the league I would prefer over Peja if my objective were to stretch a defense or hit a three in transition.  He won’t do much more than that, but if he can give 100% for 20-25 minutes a game, and teams have to account for him at all times, then he is a dangerous weapon even if he is not hitting on that particular night. When “experts” talk about the bench being the Hornets biggest weakness, it is not because of Peja. That blame can be attributed to our limited big man and a shooting guard who is being forced to play PG. But that will be a rant for another day.

50 comments
L_Reazy
L_Reazy

'winze', that's just it ... I never stated that Prince was the answer ... it was more about brainstorming and figuring out what Marcus Thornton's value is considered to be, being that I keep reading that he is the key to keeping Chris Paul. If anyone thinks that is true then the Hornets are in more trouble than we thought. "Marcus Thornton is the key to keeping Chris Paul happy?" No, I think keeping Marcus Thornton is the key to keeping 'HiMyNameisSteven' happy, apparently. Tayshaun Prince isn't washed up, but he isn't the answer either, I agree. However, he is better than Marcus Thornton and Emeka Okafor! Nevertheless, every transaction is just a stepping stone to getting better. So, one trade wouldn't put the Hornets in the Finals anyway. In regards to Emeka Okafor ... anyone remember the game at Toronto last season when Chris Bosh destroyed Okafor the same way 'HiMyNameisSteven ' mentions how Jason Smith got destroyed by him? What's the difference? Point is, Emeka Okafor leaves a lot to be desired, and in my opinion he isn't that much better than a back-up BIG-Man. Jason Smith is comparable to Okafor, and if Okafor was traded the Hornets wouldn't lose anything at that position. Like I stated before, 'HiMyNameisSteven' you started the insults with me, because you got sensitive about my harmless trade question about MT5. Why are you so enamored by Marcus Thornton? I'm glad your not the GM, because MT5 would be untouchable, huh? For other 'posters' ... what would be a good trade for Marcus Thornton? ... and Emeka for that matter? L_Reazy

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

even more glad u are not our gm if u think jason smith and emeka are same quality player and we wouldnt loose anything with the switch. Thats just plain stupid. marcus not untouchable as i have said many times but you dont give up your second best trade chip (besides peja) to get a tayshun prince so u have expirings. what you dont understand is the next year or two is about making chris paul happy so he stays. he leaves then the hornets suck. no chance in many years for a championship if paul leaves. you dont come across top 5 talent often and you dont risk letting him leave by trading players with skill and upside for expirings. yes you can put him in a deal so you can get something better but that would be done by putting a pick in there or peja. emeka i would only trade if we were throwing another piece in there to get another decent caliber center. you cant win with jason smith and aaron gray as our bigs. plain and simple

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

...and the Hornets can win with Emeka? Come on man! Besides, I don't think Chris Paul is too worried about Thornton! L_Reazy

ticktock6
ticktock6

Two players who are able to play in the top 1-6 spots of the rotation, to replace the two you're losing?

42
42

Impeccable. I suppose you'd want to do it if you want to tank or if you want the big expiring more than you want the Belinelli. After all, that's what the Heat did. They happened to have Wade before but they signed him, Bosh, and the other guy by having only $5.5m committed and a deal on the table to dump $5m of that. The experiment has yet to run, but the point is that having the expiring contracts is of value for some. I don't think hoarding expiring contracts is what L is talking about however, nor do I think L is actually advocating this. Dell, however, given the off-season change, could sure do a lot more with Emeka "I'm hard to trade" Okafor not on the roster. I'm not advocating this; I'm just saying it's a possibility.

ticktock6
ticktock6

Actually this may amazing fun trade math if someone can figure it out... if you trade your 3rd guy and your 6th guy, you have to get back someone or a combination of two someones who equal ___. Hmm. For the math to work, you'd have to label everyone backwards on the roster. So CP is #15. West is 14, Okafor 13... Thornton (when playing as usual) is 10 or 9. So, Okafor + Thornton is 23 in roster-spot value. Prince would be like... 12. 23 >12. Therefore this trade is lopsided. You have depleted the quality of your roster by... I dunno, whoever = player #11. By the equivalent of a Belinelli. The question is, do we really WANT to be an entire Belinelli worse? Do we? Do we? LOL.

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

‘HiMyNameisSteven’, I thought I left all the immature / sensitive people over at Nola.com’s forum … let me guess, your mad about my comments towards Marcus Thornton? I didn’t criticize you, but, your mad that I criticized Marcus Thornton. Come on dude! Do you know him? Nevertheless, I’ll take the high road being that none of us are geniuses when it comes to basketball, we’re just fans of the game. Maybe you feel like your a genius? However, you should still show some respect for others. I’ll clarify my ‘idea’, which was more of a question; but for the sake of your comment we’ll call it an idea. (1) Tayshaun Prince has an expiring contract. (2) Tayshaun can help the Hornets with perimeter defense more than Marcus Thornton can. (3) Tayshaun has championships, is longer, 6″9, versus Marcus Thornton 6″4 inexperienced … and can create his own shot in the post or at the three-point line. (4) Tayshaun and Trevor would be an awesome SG / SF defensive / spot-up-for-three-points combo. (5) Thornton is good, but he is know all-star, and may never be one … so … why be attached to him as if he is Michael Jordan. (6) Jason Smith is taller than Okafor, and fits our pick-n-roll style of play better as well … maybe the 7″0 footer could be our Tyson Chandler if given the chance. (7) Marco Belinelli would move to the bench where he and Green (SG) would be monsters, along with Peja and Mensah-Bonsu. (8) …. but going back to the original reason for trading for Tayshaun in the first place … Peja’s + Tayshaun’s expiring contract give the Hornets flexibility to sign two free agents this summer, while aslo remaining competitive this year. You mentioned I come up with a lot of bad ideas … like what … in comparison to yours? I might be wrong like anyone else, but I always explain my reasons! L_Reazy

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

L-Reazy- you must be one of those immature/ sensitive people that your reffering to considering u think u took the high road by saying that. and second learn to spell. it is no not “know” and now onto your additional horrible reasons to validate this trade 1) ok reason but you think salary dumping for next few years is going to make us competitive to keep cp3? no 2) prince is aging and badly. he is slower than most 3′s now and will get hurt. yes he is lengthy but no he is not the stopper he once was 3) ok ya he is taller thats because he is a SF. which we are crammed with players at 4) ariza is much more suited for the 3 wouldnt want him at the 2 5) thorton is our best shot right now to add talent around chris paul. you keep him because he keeps chris happy plain and simple you loose cp3 you loose the franchise for years and years 6) chris bosh worked jason smith bullied him around at the 4 u think jason smith can be a center hahahah no chance 7) ya marco off the bench be nice but he fits SOOOO well with cp3 absolutely perfect for him so keep him in starting lineup make this trade we are then no where near .500 not even close with no center and no scoring power off the bench. and 2 big time free agents? no chance we sign even 1. thats not how we are going to get good players. have you seen last few years in free agency? overpay peja overpay posey . we are not going to sign a big name player in new orleans sorry it just wont happen is that a good enough explaination to tell u once again how horrible this trade is your explainations are awful

winze
winze

Though I agree that Prince is NOT the answer :) I really wish Emeka would stop doing his pilates and do some speed training or something. If he was just 1/2 to 1 step faster he could be so much more effective. We can't do anything about his height so we'll leave that one alone :P You know thinking back the turning point for this team was when Tyson went down and never came back up. He really allowed CP3 and West to do what they do best and he took care of the paint and was a great defender and rebounder.

winze
winze

I think what his saying really is that if we have to swap Thornton in a trade to get back some better talent then it has to be done. He isn't an untouchable and has a lot of growing room in terms of his game at both ends of the floor with his defense obviously needing some significant improvements under the new system and coach. Like you said the aim is to keep CP3, and if shipping Thornton out as part of a package to get in some A or even A- level talent is a worth trade-off. But all things said the season is yet to start, lets see what happens when our real rotations are set in motion in actual games that matter.

cheifyoungblood
cheifyoungblood

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=24k9qdf they get their young talent and their large expiring

Hornet
Hornet

This is actually good, and pretty realistic at the same time. I'd prefer if JR went to New York and New York sends us Azubuike. I know he's had his injury problems but he's had 2/4 seasons where he's played the majority of the games. I'd rather him than JR who takes terrible shots and is a troublemaker off the court.

winze
winze

Do not want JR Smith here, we shipped him out for a reason. Yes Scott had no patience but the guy is inconsistent and a head case

BeesGivingEffort
BeesGivingEffort

I'd like to see at least 5-10 regular season games before just up and trading either Okafor or Thornton. There seems to be a ton of overreacting at the moment due to the pre-season record. Remember, we have 2 new starters and at least 3+ new bench players that expect to see minutes AND a completely different coach from Byron Scott. They have been playing basketball for less than a month together now. On paper, we should have a team capable of being a top 5 team without making any major moves. The question remains whether or not Monty can make the pieces fit. Let him try in my opinion.

QueenBee
QueenBee

This is true. Heck I'm just curious to see our starting 5 play at least a half of a quarter together. We've yet to see this. Maybe the 1st preseason game but since then, these guys have barely been together. Monty's rotation isn't even set yet and we have 1 more preseason game to go and that's tomorrow.

Edbballin504
Edbballin504

Heres a proposed deal I have to get us Josh Smith. Not shown: We would also send a future #1 draft pick to NY (to help them get Melo..why? because we get big man depth from a local LSU guy and we make DEN worst meaning our road to and thru the playoffs get that much easier). NY sends us back a future #2 draft pick in the deal. Thoughts? http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=29hdk8k

BeesGivingEffort
BeesGivingEffort

No way in hell Atlanta will give up Josh Smith and an expiring Crawford for a much less effective PF and much less effective expiring SF.

winze
winze

only problem is I don't want Crawford and we still have no Center

QueenBee
QueenBee

Pistons release Diogu. Anyone want him or are we satisfied with the backups we currently have?

Joe P
Joe P

Well, if he couldn't make the Pistons...

42
42

If you trust the Detroit "I Have an Idea, Let's Get Iverson and Send Billups Away" Pistons judgment, then you know something I don't. The Pistons are well-stocked with Forwards and Centers, so Diogu being the worst big on their roster of 17 doesn't mean he's bad. The question is: Is he worse than our worst (Alexander)? And who to cut to get him, since we'll have to cut 2 to add 1? If we are really stockpiling guards, does that mean we take Diogu over Pops? Mbenga?

QueenBee
QueenBee

Some say Brandon Bass couldn't make the Hornets or the Mavs. ????? Not saying Diogu is Bass but just cause he couldn't make the Pistons says what?

MaxALM
MaxALM

There's got to be something going on....something in the cards for Demps. I don't understand. It's become a notorious fashion that when certain players repeatedly aren't getting minutes, they wind up getting traded.

Edbballin504
Edbballin504

I love Okafor too, but I dont think he fits with our style...or with a D West type at PF. I think we need a flyer at C. Tyson was perfect, just couldnt stay healthy. West will get all the touches, we need a center that will hustle and play good help D for West's inefficiencies on D. Either that or do the opposite like keep Okafor as the low post go to guy, then have a flyer at PF who can complement him. Perfect example is Josh Smith. West and Okafor dont mesh well, esp in our system. Its one or the other. Considering Okafor's good health and how reliable he is, I rather move West for a Smith type than to keep West (on the decline) and move Okafor.

winze
winze

Yup i like him as well but we need someone who is going to hustle and who can play great defense, we don't need this person to do anything more than take a few lobs and putbacks, we have players that can score we just need a presence in the paint. Tyson was perfect, but injuries came :(

StefanC
StefanC

I really hope you're wrong. I absolutely LOVE Okafor, and I want to keep him in a damn Hornets' jersey. As long as we get somebody consistently productive for Thornton, I'm okay with trading him.

Edbballin504
Edbballin504

Add that to the fact that this new ownership change is making serious progress. New coaches and upper management + new billionare owner + assets = changes. I think this team is about to do something that transcends us from a playoff-hopeful team to a legit top 4 in the conference. Its coming!!!!!!

Edbballin504
Edbballin504

Yeah I think thats the key...what will we get back. Think about it like this, the current roster at best can make the playoffs but get bounced in round 1. Thats our ceiling. If we can bring in another great player or complement to the team that pushes us over that hump then I say go for it, even if it means we lose Marcus. And from what Ive seen the ownership change is pretty much a done deal. Just getting the details and lengthy league process done now.

MaxALM
MaxALM

haha, i would hope so. As long as this ownership thing does go through, then I'm happy. But I'd hate to part with a guy like Thornton so early in his career. depends on who we get in return.

Edbballin504
Edbballin504

So Okafor dressed and was there but just didnt play? Wow!

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

Question: If the Detroit Pistons wanted Emeka Okafor and Marcus Thornton for Tayshaun Prince should the Hornets pull the trigger on that trade? We would still have Peja’s expiring deal, along with Tayshaun’s too, plus a potentially better rotation for 2010-2011. F-West 6″9, F-Prince 6″9, Smith 7″0, G-Ariza 6″8, G-Paul 6″0 F-Mensah-Bonsu 6″9, F-Stojakovic 6″9, C-Gray 7″0, G-Belinelli 6″5, G- Green 6″3 F-Alexander 6″8, F-Pondexter 6″6, C-Mbenga 7″0, G-Strawberry 6″5, G-Jerrells 6″0 L_Reazy

Zwie
Zwie

wait wait wait.. timeout... lol plz tell me ur joking?!?!?!?! U want David WEST as our starting center>!?!?!?!? thas a funny joke man.. do u really think with david west as our center we would EVEn make the 8th seed in the playoffs? im sorry man... but if the hornets were to pull this trade off, they would be saying "hey, lets wait for this years draft, and rebuild" i love the saying "win, and be tall"

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

L Reazy- you have had some bad ideas and this one is absoltuely the worst

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

L-Reazy- you must be one of those immature/ sensitive people that your reffering to considering u think u took the high road by saying that. and second learn to spell. it is no not "know" and now onto your additional horrible reasons to validate this trade 1) ok reason but you think salary dumping for next few years is going to make us competitive to keep cp3? no 2) prince is aging and badly. he is slower than most 3's now and will get hurt. yes he is lengthy but no he is not the stopper he once was 3) ok ya he is taller thats because he is a SF. which we are crammed with players at 4) ariza is much more suited for the 3 wouldnt want him at the 2 5) thorton is our best shot right now to add talent around chris paul. you keep him because he keeps chris happy plain and simple you loose cp3 you loose the franchise for years and years 6) chris bosh worked jason smith bullied him around at the 4 u think jason smith can be a center hahahah no chance 7) ya marco off the bench be nice but he fits SOOOO well with cp3 absolutely perfect for him so keep him in starting lineup 8) make this trade we are then no where near .500 not even close with no center and no scoring power off the bench. and 2 big time free agents? no chance we sign even 1. thats not how we are going to get good players. have you seen last few years in free agency? overpay peja overpay posey . we are not going to sign a big name player in new orleans sorry it just wont happen is that a good enough explaination to tell u once again how horrible this trade is

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

'HiMyNameisSteven', I thought I left all the immature / sensitive people over at Nola.com's forum ... let me guess, your mad about my comments towards Marcus Thornton? I didn't criticize you, but, your mad that I criticized Marcus Thornton. Come on dude! Do you know him? Nevertheless, I'll take the high road being that none of us are geniuses when it comes to basketball, we're just fans of the game. Maybe you feel like your a genius? However, you should still show some respect for others. I'll clarify my 'idea', which was more of a question; but for the sake of your comment we'll call it an idea. (1) Tayshaun Prince has an expiring contract. (2) Tayshaun can help the Hornets with perimeter defense more than Marcus Thornton can. (3) Tayshaun has championships, is longer, 6"9, versus Marcus Thornton 6"4 inexperienced ... and can create his own shot in the post or at the three-point line. (4) Tayshaun and Trevor would be an awesome SG / SF defensive / spot-up-for-three-points combo. (5) Thornton is good, but he is know all-star, and may never be one ... so ... why be attached to him as if he is Michael Jordan. (6) Jason Smith is taller than Okafor, and fits our pick-n-roll style of play better as well ... maybe the 7"0 footer could be our Tyson Chandler if given the chance. (7) Marco Belinelli would move to the bench where he and Green (SG) would be monsters, along with Peja and Mensah-Bonsu. (8) .... but going back to the original reason for trading for Tayshaun in the first place ... Peja's + Tayshaun's expiring contract give the Hornets flexibility to sign two free agents this summer, while aslo remaining competitive this year. You mentioned I come up with a lot of bad ideas ... like what ... in comparison to yours? I might be wrong like anyone else, but I always explain my reasons! L_Reazy

42
42

I agree that Prince wouldn't be too much of a help to us this year, especially if we hold onto Peja for a while. We'd be trading away a center, a position of need with Emeka, and more so without him. If we want expirings at the end of the year, and want to be rid of Emeka, that's a way to do it. I'm not sure why the Pistons would do it thought. They are basically in the same cap situation we are in, being just about $2m better and without Chris Paul. That is actually the biggest problem I see with the deal happening. As far as the Thornton getting thrown in . . . I'm assuming you mean we get the expiring Prince for getting out from under Emeka at the price of giving up Marcus. I, too, think Marcus could be a key part of keeping Chris around in 2 years, but if they dude isn't going to play (time will tell, I'm not predicting this though) then he is of no value to other than as a trade. Your last point about Gray is main concern. Gray is good for 12 minutes. Unless we get another center we are taking a big step back no matter the deal. I'm an Emeka fan. I want to see what he does for 3 months. I'm not opposed to trading him or Marcus to collect expirings, but really we need to build what we can this season so we can make our CBA tweaks and be positioned, should we miss A YEAR of basketball, to make as convincing a case as any other team that could have Paul that we can be competitive for him. Of course, a NFL-Franchise-Type systems may greatly help us in that regard.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

ok first off... prince is done with his career he is finished too many back injuries and he just cant play at what he used to why would we want him. so he can expire and then we r left overpaying an average free agent since its obvious we cant lure the big ones here. Two- your going to give up marcus thorton for cap relief.. no way bye chris paul if that happens. if u get rid of marcus u bring back better talent by pairing him with peja or a pick or something third- yes okafor makes a lot of money for a lot of years but get rid of him and we are stuck starting AARON GRAY ... enough said plus emeka has looked pretty good and is still young and you dont get centers with his age and skill in the league very often

42
42

I'd find it much more interesting to ready why you think the idea is bad. I have my own opinion of the trade, and I'm not a fan, but I'd like to read your reasons in case they are better than mine.

MaxALM
MaxALM

Absolutely not. What can Prince give us at this point that two solid players can't?

StefanC
StefanC

Also were there actually 19,077 people at the arena like NBA.com claims?? Some of the pictures from the game show completely empty sections. It looks like a lie to me.

42
42

I've come to the conclusion that those are tickets sold, not gate entries.

StefanC
StefanC

I REALLY want to know the real reason as to why Thornton and Okafor both didn't get any minutes tonight. Somebody mentioned that we could be a 3rd team in the Knicks/Nuggets trade, but who would we be getting in return in a 3 way deal like that?

MaxALM
MaxALM

well, if that were true, I would (hopefully) guess it would involve us getting Anthony Randolph. Anyone else on the Knicks would disgust me....especially if Thornton were the trade bait. I don't really know much of how 3-team trades work tho

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

Great game by Belinelli. To think we got him for JuJu! What worries me most is MT5 getting no minutes. NO MINUTES! Despite my attempts at not trying to speculate, my mind keeps running to the different reasons why he'd be on the bench for the whole 53:00 minutes, most of them being bad. Also a little curious about Emeka. At the beginning of training camp, there was much talk about how Emeka missed last year's camp and preseason due to injury, which led him to not gel with the team and get in a good rhythm before the season started. Now, we're seeing Emeka not play at all -- for no reason other than, if one is given, "rest. Without Emeka, or any other starter-quality big -- we're toast. This all troubles me. Greatly. Unless Dell has a super secret plan that will wow us all up his sleeve.

JCS
JCS

Thanks for the recap Mac. Could you do us one more and create a new poll? We need to to discuss cuts, trades, and so forth, and then mail it with a letter to Mr. Demps.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Ask and ye shall receive. New poll up on who you think will be the next Hornet traded. After you vote, head over to the forum and speak about your answer on the "Thread For Trades" thread. Who did you vote for? Do you think it will be that person because it will make the team better or is it for financial reasons? Team fit reasons? What would you like to see that player traded for? Who are some teams that might be interested? Would trading that player be a win-now move or does it have an eye towards the future? Could multiple trades be coming? Etc., etc.