New Orleans Hornets Beat the Bucks

Published: October 27, 2010

The New Orleans Hornets started off their 2010-2011 season hot, beating the Bucks 95-91 in a thriller to preserve their (and my) undefeated season. It was an exciting night for everyone in attendance as the energy level was high.

First Quarter
The Hornets came out hot right off the bat. Fueled by their starting group, which was playing together for the first time since the initial preseason game, the Hornets held a lead of 24-15 when Jason Smith and Jerryd Bayless joined Belinelli, Ariza, and Mbenga on the floor. Paul came out looking to distribute early and often, leading the team with

It looks as though Mbenga will start the season off as the first big man off the bench for the Hornets, but he struggled early on both ends of the floor and was quickly replaced by Smith, with Pops Mensa-Bonsu coming in at power forward.

As expected the Hornets second unit struggled on the defensive end early on. they settled for mid range and long two pointers instead of getting the ball inside. Peja Stojakovic struggled early on. He forced up tough shots when there were passes to be made and generally seemed out of rhythm with the rest of the team.

Jerryd Bayless made an early impact, hitting a falling shot after being fouled and then making the free throw for the Hornets first “and one” of the season. It appears that he will be coming on ahead of Marcus Thornton for the time being.

Second Quarter

Marcus Thornton! Yessssss

He came into the game and scored right off the bat, immediately making those in attendance forget about his poor preseason. In what might be a sign of things to come, he saw some time with Jerryd Bayless and Chris Paul, making for an exciting three guard lineup. Four points on three shots in only four minutes is exactly what the Hornets need from Buckets. He came up limping after a shot, and although he remained on the court it’s something to note since he was listed as probable coming in.

The Hornets kept the ball moving throughout the second quarter, keeping Paul involved but not to a fault. The new offensive sets require a lot more motion by the players, and are designed to create open looks on the outside and open lanes for cuts inside. It worked, and Hornets found themselves with an offense resembling that of a real NBA team, unlike the stagnant offense of Byron Scott.

Third Quarter

After starting the quarter rather slowly, the Hornets picked it up in the closing minutes, ending on a 11-0 run, capped by a buzzer beating three point shot by CP3, which electrified the crowd

Fourth Quarter

The Hornets started off with a Jerryd Bayless, Buckets, and Willie Green in the back court, a possible sign of things to come considering how much Monty toyed with a three-guard lineup. Marcus was aggressive right from the start, hitting a jump shot and playing tight defense. On the way back up the court, Bayless was decked, and stayed on the floor for a few seconds before coming out of the game holding his head. The injury is not expected to cause him to miss any time.

With 9:24 to go, David West, who was the primary scorer for the Hornets at the time, committed his fifth foul and was forced to take a seat in favor of Jason Smith, who played fairly well.

While leading by 7 with under 6 minutes to go, Trevor Ariza missed a fewwide open three point attempts from the corner which would have made it a 10 point game. He just wanted to keep it close for the fans. The next time he got the ball in the corner, with the score closer, he didn’t hesitate, and instead drove for a thunderous, crowd-pleasing dunk.

Heading into the final three minutes, the Hornets led 90-86, and for the first time it was clear who Monty would begin the season closing games with- Chris Paul, Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza, David West, and Emeka Okafor. They didn’t disappoint and by the time the final buzzer sounded, the Hornets had secured their first victory of the 2010-2011 NBA season.

Player notes

Chris Paul- He was all over the place today, being active on the boards and on defense, distributing better than even Hornets fans remember, and scoring efficiently whenever he chose to do so, and taking control when it mattered. Although he didn’t record even a single steal, but don’t be fooled. Chris Paul is back. He finished with 17 points on 11 shots, 16 assists, 4 rebounds and only a single turnover. Deron who?

Marco Belinelli- I picked him to be the most improved player this year, and he didn’t disappoint. Aside from a few longer than necessary three point attempts, he was everything Hornets fans hoped he would be. Timely rebounds, good ball handling, and ooh that shot! 6-15 ain’t bad when it nets you 18 points. It’s becoming clear why Monty was so comfortable giving him the starting role.

Trevor Ariza- He needs to work on his wide open three pointer. Other than that, he looked good on defense and in the passing lanes, picking up four steals, including the game clincher with 5.7 seconds left in the game. Huge play for the newBEE.

Marcus Thornton- Thornton was battling a sore Achilles, but played 11 minutes, scoring 8 points on 6 shots and playing solid, if unspectacular defense. It appears that Monty saying defense whenever Thornton’s name is mentioned is starting to make an impact.

David West- He acted quite a bit like David West, working great with Paul on the pick and roll, knocking down open jumpers and converting inside. It’s nice to see him playing so well. 22 points on 14 shots, to go with 7 rebounds. the fouls were a concern, but performances like this are welcome anytime.

Great game! Nuggets on Friday, videos to follow.

Fun fact of the day- This Saturday will be the fifth of the month. This month is the first time in 823 years in which a month has had 5 Fridays and 5 Saturdays. Use that info as you will…

I am now undefeated on the season. In your face, Ryan. We will be keeping track of which writer does the best, and the winner will have eternal glory. I don’t know that Michael has ever won a game…

Update from postgame-

  • Seven Hornets make their debut in a New Orleans uniform.
  • Chris Paul’s 16 assists were 3 shy of the NBA season opening record held by John Stockton.
  • Official attendance was only 15,039. A shame, seeing as how good the game was.
  • Saints kicker Garret Hartley was in the building.
  • Andrew Bogut- “Chris Paul is so good at holding the ball and not giving it up until the last second.”
  • Scott Skiles- “Chris Paul did a very good job taking control of most of the game, but he’s a great player and that’s what great players do. We were sluggish tonight and didn’t play with a lot of energy. The Hornets played with more energy and they deserve to win this game.”

Post game press conference with Monty Williams-


  1. berlin-hornets

    October 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    The game was worth every minute I wont sleep now (have to get to work in about two and a half hours). I really liked the defense and the fact that the offense wasnt a one-trick-pony anymore. Great game. I am looking forward for more of that. I could become addicted (well… too late already I guess)

  2. HiMyNameisSteven

    October 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    First note… marcus scored 8

    But here is my player rankings in what i thought was a very impressive game overall by the hornets

    paul- 10/10 wow he looked good nothing much to say other than that… loved the two man game with d west

    dwest- 8/10 he was on fire but defense was getting a little overpowered by gooden and got into foul trouble but really he played like david west. was impressed

    okafor- 6/10 no shots or points but would of had a few had there not of been fouls on passes. played decent defense rebounded well ok game

    ariza- 6/10 defensively he was a 10 but offense was not good. he needs to hit those open 3’s

    belly- 7/10 started off very well attacking the rim then settled to much missed some deep 3’s then when tried to be aggresive he didnt do alot as i kept screaming at the TV to please put marcus in for him

    marcus- 9/10 whats up now L-Reazy is 8 points a couple boards and attacking the rim in 11 min not enough for you. not a liability on defense at all thought he looked great and much better than willie green and bayless

    j smith- 7/10 really didnt like his first half missed wayyyy too many easy shots but then picked it up in second half good energy and solid d

    everyone else was average at best but thought we looked good against a good team great game

    • L_Reazy

      October 29, 2010 at 10:55 am

      Yes, Marcus was solid tonight in the minutes he played.

      IMO, I truly believe Marcus will excel in a 3-guard line-up with any mixture of Paul, Bayless, Green, or Belinelli with him. It just seems that he likes / plays better in a faster tempo, and Ariza and Peja don’t provide that when they’re on the floor with him.

      The two best line-ups of the night involved Paul, Bayless, Thornton together & Bayless, Green, Thornton together.

      I know many are opposed to this line-up, but the bench produced more + than – when the second unit was composed of: Bayless, Green, Thornton, Stojakovic, & Smith. Mbenga is worthless!

      Good observations ‘HiMyNameisSteven’!


  3. Kerry

    October 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Dude…… Michael is winning cuz we play the Nuggets Friday, not the heat. Also, Friday will be the 29th.

  4. peronas

    October 27, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Nice recap, I’d be interested to hear peoples take on Okafors disappearance for most the game. After going through last year with Bower shelving him so often late in games I expected a bigger role/impact from him but it seems again he disappeared as the game wore on, and had West not gotten into foul trouble not sure he would have been brought back in for much late.

    Also, I believe Denver is this Friday and Heat aren’t until next Friday

    • Forever504

      October 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      yea it was weird that emeka was barely in the game

    • CharmedHive

      October 27, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      You are correct, my friend! I only know this since I have tickets to the Heat game, which is a day before my birthday.

      & I’m also very shocked at how much bench time Okafor got. I’m hoping it was more of a match-up problem with Bogut that MW saw and not a pattern that we’re going to keep seeing throughout this season. Anyways, great win!!! Geaux Hornets!

    • Joe Gerrity

      October 27, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      sorry, guys! I try to get the post up as fast as possible, and apparently I read the schedule wrong. I think Emeka was going to come back in either way, but the West foul certainly sped things up.

      As for saying Friday is the fifth of the month, I meant that there have been 5 Fridays this month, not that the date is the fifth.

  5. Schmide234

    October 27, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    to me there is one thing that stands out about his game. CP3 didnt have to take over…

    WHICH IS GREAT. he had enough help to rack up 16 assists and got his 17 points form easy buckets that just flowed with the game. when a PG’s scoring goes down and assist rate goes up that means they’re on a better team.

    Am i right CP???

    • nikkoewan

      October 27, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      great point schmide. although i wasn’t able to watch the game, i can say that with those 16 assists and 1 turnover, there’s a huge chance that an offense was installed, not just pure CP3 dribbling around(which caused him to have so many turnovers)..

      how was West defensively?

      • HiMyNameisSteven

        October 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm

        good point… and west wasnt bad he tried hard actually it looked like but drew gooden kinda beat him up a little but he was not a liability and when illyasova came in west looked better

  6. Hornet

    October 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Great game tonight, really proud of how we played. Paul showed why he’s the best PG in the league, I think it was McNamara that predicted the 12 or so assists per game for Paul and after tonight I can definitely see that happening.

    Belli started off very hot and although he missed some shots later on, I don’t recall ever getting up set at his shot selection so that’s good. Marcus played very well for the short amount of time he got. The game seemed to flow a lot better for him, even without Chris. Hopefully he keeps that up. West was West, not much else to say.

    Ariza played very well defensively and didn’t take any bad shots on offense from what I remember but I’d like to see him drive when he’s got that much space and finish with a dunk like he did that one time; he should try cutting before he gets the ball if he has space so he can get a bit closer to the rim as well. Okafor and Smith were alright. I think Bogut is just a tough match up for Okafor because of Bogut’s size and aggressive play, too overpowering for Emeka. Smith was TERRIBLE in the 1st half but picked it up. Green, Bayless, and Peja all did a serviceable job in my eyes and I hope Jerryd is alright after that screen he took.

    I’ll miss Friday’s game sadly so I’ll be looking forward to reading about it and seeing Saturday’s Spurs game.

  7. tyler

    October 27, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    marcus Marcus not 20 but still better than nothing

  8. urgmasdaughter

    October 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Some other observations:

    – With Okafor not even getting a shot and still winning against a playoff team a year ago is impressive. He doesn’t need to force his game which is nice but can always be used if need be.

    – Last year I remember there were times when we wouldn’t have a real scorer on the floor but I don’t feel that way at all. It seems everyone can score minus DJ/Pops

    – Willie Green came in on that last possession. Interesting.

    – Marcus Thornton looked good! He set himself up nicely. Missed an easy lay-up too so that could’ve more right there too. Also, saw him crash the boards every time which I LOVE!

    – Jason Smith will do nicely BUT Mbenga is NOT cutting it. I know it’s only one game but I watched his minutes in LA & it looks to be the same ol’ song and dance. Big body, Big fouls…we have that his name is Aaron Gray.

    – I have League Pass and they had the Bucks announcers & it was a home game. WTF!!! The announcers were good but they kept calling Okafor – “Ok-a-fer” and Thornton – “Thorn-ton”

    – Seeing Thornton out there plays with my emotions. I don’t wanna see him go. In fact, I liked MT5 more than Willie Green, can we trade him instead cause we REALLY need a servicale back-up Center

    • Hornet

      October 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      I think most of us want Thonrton to stay it’s just that we have a bad feeling there’s a trade coming soon. Hopefully not because he looked good tonight and I think he’ll be fine.

    • CarnbY

      October 28, 2010 at 2:57 am

      I watched it on international LP and they had the CST feed, that’s kind of weird…

  9. Eman5805

    October 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    We are one legit, athletic 5 from being dangerous.

  10. nikkoewan

    October 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Joe, how was the team defensively? Who stood out(not playing defense)? I think in order to understand where we’ll be by season’s end, i think we should concentrate more on analyzing our defense.

    Questions that should be answered after every game should be..

    How was the pick and roll defense? Was Okafor quick enough to recover after showing? How about West? How about Smith? Mbenga?

    Are the guards(ie Paul, Belinelli, Ariza, etc..) trying to force opponents to the baseline and/or to help defense? Are they slow footed? Do they pressure the entry pass to the post?

    How about our post D, was it terrible?

    Are our rotations crisp? or are they slow – like James Posey slow?

    those are all the defensive questions i can think of. This is both to analyze where our team will be 3 months from now and how Monty Williams/Dell Demps are in inculcating there defense first philosophy.. Offensive discussions should be in the back seat, Defensive Discussion should be in front 🙂

    • HiMyNameisSteven

      October 27, 2010 at 10:58 pm

      i watched whole game i can give u some d pointers as i played some bball in high school and walked on one year in college…

      first ill list who played well defensively- ariza cp3 okafor mbenga (at times)
      badly- didnt like what belly did or bayless
      everyone else played alright

      i may get some boos for sayking belli played bad defensively but when we were showing on post ups or recovering on pass arounds belly was slow a couple times getting out to delfino or other players out at the 3 and he looked a little slow on some drive bys

      west i thought did fine even though gooden beat him a few times. okafor did well on bogut. bogut had that lefty hook down it looked beautiful but the pick and roll d from oak wasnt bad.

      chirs was great no big steals but looked good. ariza played good pressure d all night. salmons did nothing and the play at the end was exactly what we need and want from him this year.

      to my point about belly not playing great D i think monty thought the same as he took him out on last play to put green in

      • nikkoewan

        October 27, 2010 at 11:12 pm

        thanks. nice to read that 🙂 thanks steven(or himynameissteven HAHA)

      • TopherPrice

        October 28, 2010 at 1:31 am

        I was noting to my fiancée Belinelli’s defensive mis-cues as well. But in retrospect it wasn’t a pervasive problem. He did get hung up on the wrong guy on some cuts here and there leaving wide open shooters but it wasn’t something that happened more often than not.

        He has room to improve, but he was still playing better guard defense than us Hornets fans are accustomed to seeing. I would say he was the least strong of our guards defensively tonight, but that’s like saying a mustang is the least fast in a stable of sports cars.

        I think they looked very good defensively on a whole. Its early, but it was a welcome change.

      • JCS

        October 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

        You were a walk-on at USC? Did you get to play with Taj Gibson and Lil’ Romeo??

  11. Forever504

    October 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm


  12. Sportnlife

    October 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    CP3 had lots of answers tonight for the doubters. But his offense was off and on. I expect more confidence in his shot as his court time increases and he has a better feel for who’s on the floor. A surgical performance. Were you watching, HaterNation? RunTellDat!

    Peronas–I’m with you. When OK4 was in there, he was boarding enough to make a difference. Closed down the lane a few times. Credit to MW to see that he needed more mobility to pressure Bucks, though, and kept going to smaller lineups.

    Ariza needs a midrange game, really bad. I loved his aggression toward the hoop, but there has got to be a third option between slashing and slinging 3s. Great work from him closing down the lane. Starting to get a sense of how Hornets might look with a rebounder and shotblocker backing up the on-ball defense.

    Thornton seemed to have gotten a pick up from being featured on a few sets. He’s still a step slow and not as explosive, but that will come back when his 3 starts falling and defenders start crowding him on the perimeter.

    Belinelli had good and bad moments. He looked a bit tired and slow in the second half when he faded, but it’s clear that with a streaky Ariza and Peja fading into the sunset that the Hornets need him as a legitimate 3 point threat to give CP3 working room and to balance the floor. Good game, something to build on.

    Bayless had a poor outing, mostly from trying to do too much and generally not knowing his teammates. I liked him in the three guard set, though, on the opposite side from Marcus. There’s all sorts of mayhem those two can create if their 3 point shots start falling. Hard for anybody in the league to match their quickness and physicality going to the hoop. This was the most pleasant surprise for me, and how much more I like Willie Green when he’s off the ball and just being the cop on the beat for the other two. This is a development to watch, that could really pay off in keeping CP3 fresh, giving other teams match-up problems, generating bench points, and making the second quarter something more than a holding your breath exercise until the first string returns.

    J. Smith. A work in progress, but willing to learn. Good, if not always productive energy.

    DWest. Playing for the next contract. He wants to have a big year and that’ll go a long way toward keeping Hornets in contention and keeping this roster intact.

    Great way to start. Let’s go out there and show Melo what his new “teammates” can do.

  13. MaxJD_Nola2NYC

    October 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Amazing start to the season! Did anyone else notice that “okahfour” was almost useless, I really wish they would goto him early on to crack the ice of his shoulder. Since he mentally needs confidence and support to perform. Geaux Hornets!!!!!

  14. QueenBee

    October 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Monty on Emeka…

    On Emeka Okafor:
    “We shot 17 threes and we missed a ton of them so obviously we were taking a lot of jump shots tonight, but we made an effort at halftime to talk about driving the ball. Emeka (Okafor) is a guy that we don’t call a lot of plays for, but he is a byproduct of Chris’ (Paul) pick-and-rolls and Marco’s (Belinelli) penetration. That is something I have to work on to try and get him some more looks, but I thought he played good defense on (Andrew) Bogut and he got some timely rebounds down the stretch.”

    Maybe this wasn’t the game that had a need for Emeka to do much on offense.

  15. 42

    October 27, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Chris had 37 minutes, which is music to my ears, especially considering West’s foul situation.

    We shot 4 of 17 from 3pt land, which is more like Britney Spears than music, but we didn’t die by the 3, which is more like Britney Spears to the eyes.

    Thornton and Ariza were second to Chris in +/- at +6, which also exceeded the margin of victory.

    I was saddened, to say the least, that our early lead evaporated, but I understand that it was done to get rest for some, to give minutes for others, and to get Monty chances to tinker. I’m ok with that.

    I doubt your 823 year claim There are 14 possible years (leap year or not, with January 1 on a given day). These are equally distributed given a 3:1 stratification. I’d expect a few years at most.

    An interesting rarity was this. I work a 9/80 and am off every other Friday (off for Nuggets!). In February 2008, i had 3 Fridays off, which happens about every 28 years, which makes it a once in a career event.

    Mbenga is #28. He had 7 minutes. There are 7 Dwarfs. One is sleepy. I’m sleepy, too.

  16. James Online

    October 28, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Those who think Belinelli didn’t play good defense weren’t watching or don’t understand defense. How often did the man he was responsible for score? Anyone got that stat? Very, very few. Also, good defense like everything else in basketball is a team project. The defense overall was fine tonight.

    Good to see Marcus Thornton look comfortable and have a little success. U

    Unless the Hornets find an answer at the 5, they will not contend. Otherwise the starters are solid and the bench looked better than I thought it would, except for Mbenga who was absolutely horrible. Try Gray next time.

    For a first game against a decent team, this was encouraging.

  17. MaxALM

    October 28, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Smith SHOULD NOT have shot the ball so much. I cringed every time he shot the ball except for that nice drive to the rim and 1

    • nikkoewan

      October 28, 2010 at 1:36 am

      it was just an off night for him. he made those back in preseason 🙂

    • TopherPrice

      October 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      I rewatched the entire game because being in the arena you sometimes miss stuff with all that is going on around you. Smith was taking good shots and they were there. His first 3 misses every shot was halfway down and then bounced out. That is not having a poor stroke, or taking shots he shouldn’t have taken. That is just bad luck.

      After those shots, he started driving into the paint and going for higher percentage shots. Good move. I like his stroke and he can take those 4 shots he took in the first half all day every day.

      For comparison, the rest of the team except David and CP3 all had at least 3 jump-shots that were completely outside the cylinder or air balls. Jason Smith did not.

  18. QueenBee

    October 28, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Listen to CP3’s post game comments.

  19. NOEngineer

    October 28, 2010 at 4:08 am

    I was most impressed with one thing: When New Orleans had a time-out, EVERY player (including the inactives!) was standing up listening to the coaches, who were actually talking to the players. Under Bower, most often that big goof was talking to his coaches on the court while all the players were doing their thing in their little courtside seats. Some times CP3 would talk to the other players to coach them up. We looked like a team last night, rather than a collection of players biding their time…

    I was screaming at Monty to sit Jason Smith down in the first half, but I have to admit his second half made me eat my words. He is a bit stiff and awkward, but his height can alter shots and he was working hard.

    Bayless was pressing too much. Should be a good fit once he gets comfortable.

    West was beyond awesome. Okafor played great. I don’t see why anybody would want him taking a shot, or be upset when he doesn’t score. We have plenty of scorers right now. His fouls on Bogut late in the game worked in our favor, and his defense on Jennings on the late play helped keep them from tying the game.

    Only 80 wins away from an undefeated season!

  20. Icebird

    October 28, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Limited to just scanning the box score, I’m kind of mystified by Okafor’s line. Zero buckets, zero shots, zero foul attempts, zero assists in 25 minutes. Was he even touching the ball on offense? One of my questions for the season was “will Okafor be more involved in games?”, and our sample of size of one doesn’t seem encouraging. I know Bogut has a reputation as a good defender, but I’m surprised the Hornets didn’t at least test the waters to see if Okafor would be a viable scoring option in the match. One of the reasons we traded for Okafor in the first place (besides being healthier than Chandler) was that he was perceived as being a more versatile scorer than the Ceiling Fan Repair Man.

    After the preseason from hell a line of 3-6, 8 points was actually a comfortably solid return for Thornton. Nothing spectacular, but maybe with a few nights like that, he’ll rediscover his mojo and BUCKETS! will be back.

  21. rm

    October 28, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Didn’t get chance to watch the game. Those of you who did , why did Pops catch early minutes but was never seen again for the rest of the game. Did he do that bad when he was out there?

    • 42

      October 28, 2010 at 6:04 am

      He had a dumb foul. Monty may not tolerate such things.

      He’s get a fair look Friday. Denver has a larger variety if post players than these guys, and we may want to try all out options against them.

  22. Michael McNamara

    October 28, 2010 at 7:15 am

    A couple other things I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    – Belinelli saved three balls from going out of bounds by diving into the crowd in this one game alone. Between Mo Pete, Posey, Peja, Devin Brown, etc.- how many times have we seen that from a swing in the last two years. Small things are the difference in 4 point games. Yes, Belinelli could have hit some more open three’s, but it is that exact effort that will get him 30 plus minutes in the Monty Williams regime.

    – I know people like Smith’s energy and ability to score at times, but his lateral movement cost this team 10-15 points in the second quarter. That doesn’t show up in the box score, but believe me the coaches notice it and so will Dell Demps if that keeps up. The Hornets had a 10 point lead when Smith came in and Milwaukee just attacked him consistantly- scoring 12 points in the 3 and a half minutes that Smith was on the court.

    – The Hornets are not in shape. Watch the game again if you get a chance and pay attention to Ariza and Okafor particularly. There were 4 or 5 times during the game when there were 5 or 6 consecutive possessions without a foul and by the end of those spurts, the Hornets were very winded. CP3 wanted to run but in those situations, most of the guys were 10 feet behind. CP3 is ready to go, but other than Belinelli, I don’t see any of the other guys in good enough shape to consistantly run with him.

    – Thornton’s effort on the defensive end was vastly improved. Effort doesn’t necessarily mean results but it is nice to see that he has bought in. Offensively, he was better but he missed a wide open layup and a free throw that would have given him a 3 point play. I still think there is something there mentally, but hopefully he is breaking out.

    – Okafor seemed very discouraged by his performance and it will be interesting to see if he continues to wallow or if he uses this game as inspiration to improve and get more involved.

    – Will Peja be content with a role as limited as the one he played last night? We knew it would be a smaller one, but he was essentially the 5th guy off the bench. Peja as a 10th man? We’ll see.

    – Proud of West on many levels- his effort, his fire, and most importantly he didn’t do his old complaining song and dance. I really think Monty is a great fit for West.

    – MVP of our season might be Matt Malone. Remember, this guy is essentially our offensive co-ordinator and without going into too many specifics, his play design was great.

    • m_W

      October 29, 2010 at 8:40 am

      I want more Peja. He and Thornton are clearly the best bench players we have, and everyone was chomping at the bit to see them lighting up second units. Yet they were like 10th and 11th guys? (Or was it 10 and 12?) Monty’s gotta fix that.

  23. Mikey

    October 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Very enjoyable game last night. Milwaukee, while not a sexy team, is very well-coached. This game definitely had an ebb & flow to it (to quote Sean Payton for a moment), and the momentum swings were pronounced. I thought Magette really gave Milwaukee a spark off the bench late in the 1st quarter. In the end, I really liked the way Jason Smith got after it down the stretch with West in foul trouble. Here’s the good, bad, and ugly on the night:

    Good: 1) With the exception of the last 3 minutes of the 1st and first 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter, the Hornets were the aggressor offensively, and earning 29 trips to the foul line. 2) CP & DW chemistry; I don’t need to elaborate on this. 3) No techs for West; way to keep your cool amidst foul trouble, big guy. 4) Emeka Okafor didn’t even attempt a shot, but made signifant contributions in setting good screens for CP, and pulling down 3 crutial boards down the stretch in the 4th quarter. 5) 23 assists to 9 turnovers, me likey.

    Bad: 1) Ariza’s shot was a little off tonight. When you have looks that good, they have to go in. 2) Hornets got lost on some late switches defensively, allowing Delfino to get some clean looks from the corner on some 3pt attempts, and unlike Ariza, Delfino didn’t miss.

    Ugly: 1) Ouch! That shot that bayless took, I felt that.

    Last note: Every Hornet in a uniform got to play tonight. The Python is still figuring out his rotation. Look for more 10-12 man rotations throughout this month, as Coach Williams figures out what he wants to do with his bench.

  24. F******

    October 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I was surprised to see Mbenga dressed instead of Gray. Does anybody know whether Gray is injured?

    • Joe Gerrity

      October 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      He’s not. Monty just opted to make him inactive. Said it was one of the hardest things he’s had to do so far.

      • JCS

        October 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm

        LMFAO…and if I was coach, you know what I’d do with Gray…

  25. 42

    October 28, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I really liked that all of our guards produced. Even in a 3 guard lineup, they looked good. In fact, one of those really worked near the end, I think Peja and Smith in. Odd but good move.

  26. edbballin504

    October 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Great game by the Hornets. I loved every minute of it. The one negetive is Okafor. I was always on his side but last night I came into reality that he is our weak link. We need to move him. DET has been going public about needing a center for a while now. How about we work out a 3 team deal. Send Okafor to DET and DET sends either Prince or Hamilton to the 3rd team. The 3rd team sends us a center. CLE would be perfect. See the link:

    • 42

      October 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Okafor had a weird landing early in the game. I wonder if this affected him. Also, Monty should be done installing the offense. One way of thinking says you need your center involved in plays so those should be installed first, but given the focus on defense, which is the less part of Okafor’s game, and the fact that our offense flows from Paul out, I can see how he’s just been figuratively placed on the back-burner.

      If we deal him (somehow), I doubt I’ll pitch a tizzy, but I’m also trying to find reasons to remain optimistic. I’m doing ok, so far, but I’ll need help from Monty and Emeka to keep it up.

    • nikkoewan

      October 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      Cleveland has been very adamant of trading Varejao. They have stated that if they trade Varejao, they should receive a superstar in return.. which is their idea of saying, we’re not trading him 😛

  27. Pingback: The Point Forward » Posts Court Vision «

  28. Hollis21

    October 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Exciting game to get the season underway. I had a stream but only got to see the first half. I’m glad to hear Jason Smith played a solid 2nd half because he had me very frustrated in the opening half.

    There were me positive signs last night, and a win was tagged along with it. With the schedule this squad is starting with, this was a very big opener and they responded.

    Mbenga was tough to watch, hoping Gray suits up tomorrow and they each get that fair shot.

    Looking forward to tomorrow. Maybe a big night makes Melo realizes he wants to play with this team, he’s traded *bye bye Thorton :(* our way, and Paul has his 2. We are all happy and hopefully it works and this team does work.

    Okay, I’m back now. Good game, and thanks for the writeup. If I didn’t know of this site, I’d be a lost puppy and be stuck being a box score scanner.

    • TopherPrice

      October 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

      I don’t see both Gray and Mbenga dressing tomorrow. I only think you will see that on nights we play teams like Orlando, Celtics, etc. Teams with multiple big bigs. Nuggs don’t fit that bill.

      I think Monty like, maybe even loves the idea of that crazy small lineup. You know, the CP3, Marcus, Green, Ariza, Smith lineup. He has said multiple times that he is looking for the guys to cut to the basket to get more FT attempts this season. Those small lineups allow that because there is no big clogging the lane. You can’t run that against a lot of teams, and Denver is one of them that allows for that.

      I think Gray will get the nod. After CP3 took that charge in the 2nd and just laid on the floor for close to 10 seconds without anyone even looking in his direction, Mbenga was going to be inactive. He was the closest guy to CP3 and was just walking away until CP3 yelled at him. LOL I think CP3 went to Monty at that moment and made that happen.

      That was something I didn’t like seeing, TWICE in the first quarter his team-mates didn’t even stunt in his direction until he had to ask for help up. SMH I don’t expect that ever again, as he was PISSED!

      • Hollis21

        October 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

        Oh, I don’t ever expect Mbenga and Gray to both dress, ever. But yeah, I’m hoping Gray gets the chance to dress at the expense of Mbenga, and soon.

        I also noticed CP3 on the ground waiting for assistance. A small thing like that can speak volumes of a team, in my eyes. Be there to help your teammates in every way possible. Looking forward to tonight.

  29. L_Reazy

    October 29, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Yes, Marcus was solid tonight in the minutes he played.

    IMO, I truly believe Marcus will excel in a 3-guard line-up with any mixture of Paul, Bayless, Green, or Belinelli with him. It just seems that he likes / plays better in a faster tempo, and Ariza and Peja don’t provide that when they’re on the floor with him.

    The two best line-ups of the night involved Paul, Bayless, Thornton together & Bayless, Green, Thornton together.

    I know many are opposed to this line-up, but the bench produced more + than – when the second unit was composed of: Bayless, Green, Thornton, Stojakovic, & Smith. Mbenga is worthless!

    Good observations ‘HiMyNameisSteven’!

    Also, D. West was in all-star form against the Bucks. How about a repeat performance against the Nuggets. Go D. West!


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