Game On: Nuggets @ Hornets

By:
Published: October 29, 2010

The Hornets look to get out to a 2-0 start this season as they host the Denver Nuggets tonight in a game that will feature stars Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Since “The Decision” and the rumored Big Apple toast at Carmelo Anthony’s wedding, both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have been the subject of trade rumors in what has seemed to be a non-stop media swarm.

Just yesterday, in fact, Carmelo was quoted as saying that it is time for a change, and you have to wonder how this will effect team chemistry in Denver. It didn’t seem to effect them too much in their opening night victory over the Utah Jazz, as the Nuggets put a 110-88 hurting on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Carmelo Anthony lead all scorers in that game with 23 points.

Meanwhile, Chris Paul has said all the right things so far this season and while it is doubtful that Melo finishes the year as a Nugget, it is much more likely that CP3 finishes the season here in New Orleans. On Opening Night Chris Paul looked to get all of his teammates involved in the Hornets 95-91 victory over the Bucks, as he notched 16 assists in the first three quarters, before becoming more of a scorer in the 4th.

On the schedule this game just looks like the 2nd of 82, but for the Hornets it is much more than that, as the playoff loss from 2009 still stings. The Hornets were embarrassed by the Nuggets and Chris Paul and David West have not forgotten the message Denver sent in that series. For those two, and the team as a whole, this game will be a great early season measuring stick for the team to see where they are currently.

On the injury front, Denver will be without their prize offseason acquisition Al Harrington, and could be without Ty Lawson, who went down hard in the Utah game Wednesday night. The Hornets are fine on the injury front, as Jerryd Bayless will be okay to play after suffering a minor injury as a result of a vicious screen from Drew Gooden Wednesday night. As was the case last game, Q-Pon, Aaron Gray, and Joe Alexander are expected to be inactive tonight.

The Hornets were 1-3 against the Nuggets last season, winning the first game in the season series and losing the final three. In the game that the Hornets won, CP3 was superb as he finished with 30 points, 19 assists, and 9 rebounds- falling just shy of the ultra-rare 30,20, and 10 triple double. In the three losses, the Hornets surrendered nearly 104 PPG to Denver and were dominated on the glass. For the Hornets to win tonight, they will need big contributions from West, Okafor, and at least one of their bench bigs in the paint and on the glass.

Vegas has the Hornets as 1 point favorites in this game, although that is down from the opening line of minus 2. 64% of all bets placed on this game have been on Denver, either plus the points or straight up to win. That means that most gamblers still don’t see the Hornets as a legitimate playoff contender and think Denver will win this game tonight. The over/under for the game is at 207.5 and 73% have taken the over- so many expect a high scoring affair, even though the last time these two teams played only 173 points were scored.

Can’t wait for the game tonight? Well then check out the NBA 2K11 simulation of this game. Keep in mind, however, that the sim was way off for the Bucks game, so it isn’t exactly Paul the Octopus (may he rest in peace).

Joe will be checking in and adding to this post with Monty Williams pre-game comments, so be sure to check back in. Also, at 5 CST Joe and I will be over on the Daily Dime at ESPN.com taking questions, so be sure to head over there and represent Hornets fans well!

Notes from Monty’s pregame interview

Monty Williams was again being very critical of himself, citing missing David West’s 4th foul last game as a prime example. He mentioned that he wants to have either Chris or David on the floor at all times, for leadership, and that he was trying to make better substitutions. It’s clear that he’s taking a long look at himself, the things he’s done wrong in the past, and that he’s working toward being a better coach.

On the three guard lineup that was seen last game- I asked if it was something we will see in the future or if it was more based on specific match ups. He said that it was based on matchups that game, but that he has so many guards it’s hard to find time for them. He hinted that in the future there might be games in which one of them might just have to sit. Hard to think that he was referring to anyone except Marcus, but again, he didn’t say that.

Other notes from the arena

  • The Hornets last won their first two games in 2008-2009.
  • Paul’s 16 assists in the season opener set a franchise record for most assists in an opening game.The previous record (14) was set by Mugsy Bogues in 1992.
64 comments
Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

So sick! Love the Hornets. This year has the feeling of 2007-2008. Small, but excitable crowds, close games that we win, and a fun team to watch on the court. Yessssss

peronas
peronas

Agreed! Man I wish I lived down there to be part of said small excitable crowds in person. Counting down the days til the bees come up here!

peronas
peronas

Another solid night of team D and Okafor made his presence known and gave a nice sampling of how he can help this team. Hopefully his disappearance in the last game was a fluke and this type of activity becomes the norm.

cheifyoungblood
cheifyoungblood

lets be honest did anyone think we'd be gelling this well this early on , great game

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

mayn... this hornets d is looking good!! okafor with a block party and ariza on the perimeter.

peronas
peronas

CP3 taking it over!!!!

peronas
peronas

Beautiful feed and cut by Okafor!

peronas
peronas

sloppy sloppy quarter so far

peronas
peronas

Agreed we are force feeding him then everything goes stagnant while he tries to back down his man

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

i think we are forcing west to do something... gotta have more movement

DownUnder
DownUnder

agreed, not directly blaming him but the good run we had with the bench ended when he came on and its gone down hill from there.

DownUnder
DownUnder

Ariza is supposed to be slowing down this guy, come on

eric
eric

awesome thanks a lot

peronas
peronas

The free throw discrepancy is getting ridiculous....

eric
eric

just moved to az dont have league pass anywhere i can watch this one ????

peronas
peronas

You can do the free preview of league pass broadband and watch it on your computer. The free preview runs til the 2nd or 3rd of Nov.

peronas
peronas

Okafor's activity this game so far is more of what I was hoping for. He seems much more into this game on both ends

DownUnder
DownUnder

Dont like the current 5 on the floor together

DownUnder
DownUnder

Here we go what would have been the starters 3 months ago

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

i like the 5 right now okafor, west, ariza thornton paul

Adzs-London bee
Adzs-London bee

Watching with lag on league pass was interested in what you guys think of The CP3 offball, Bayless handling sets? (which seem to be numerous)...seems to open up more space for Bellinelli, Peja, and obviously based on tonights showing Marcus; Scorerers paradise loool don't no how we're holding up so well defensively with peja and D-west manning the middle, but i like what im seeing (thus far) ;P

bruce30
bruce30

yea i wanna know that 2...when are we gonna start wearing the white home jersey again like a normal team?

DownUnder
DownUnder

CP steal from the worst x hornet up to Buckets for the 3!!!

MaxALM
MaxALM

MARCUSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

peronas
peronas

It's weird to see a lead build, instead of fade with the bench in...

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

its wierd to see the hornets bench score.

peronas
peronas

@DownUnder its definitely one of the most aggressive

DownUnder
DownUnder

Thats what I mean yeah, really good to watch!

DownUnder
DownUnder

Bayless/Thornton best backup back court in the NBA!

peronas
peronas

Loving the active hands on defense

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

awesome to see someone else besides paul creating.. nice job ariza

peronas
peronas

Any ideas why the bees are in their away unis?

42
42

It's part of the Believe in Blue campaign. I think that's it, actually . . . back to white. I like the blue, frankly.

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

Well all, I will catch up post game. Hitting the road for the Melo storm at the Hive. I am hoping for another nice night in NOLA. Go Bees!

James Online
James Online

Gray not suited up doesn't make much sense given how much time he played during pre-season. With Emeka, Mbenga, and Gray the Hornets are sadly lacking at the 5, so it seems they should keep all their (bad) options available. Maybe the Hornets are trying to showcase Thornton a bit for trade possibilies, otherwise why would you keep so many guards active?

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

The Nuggets are one of the teams small enough that we can use that small lineup that Monty seems to want to explore. It worked well on Wednesday, so he wants our athletic guys like Pops, Marcus, and Green as options. If he had both Mbenga and Gray active, one of Pops, Marcus, or Green would have to not dress. Those CP3, Green, Marcus, Ariza, Smith and Bayless, Green, Marcus, Ariza, Smith lineups looked pretty effective against teams playing with no more than 1 6'10" or above guys on the court. The Nuggets fit that bill. For some reason, he is going with Mbenga vs. Gray as the one Big. It's early in the season, lets see if he is a train-wreck again. If so, then I am sure Gray will get the nod next game, especially with the Hornets playing the Spurs in a back to back tomorrow.

Schmide234
Schmide234

Im thinking we win this game and show all the none believers in this league that were going to be a consistently solid team this year. The Nuggets r in a flux and there chemistry is sure to be thrown off. im expecting a 2-0 start to make my day before Jon Stewart's rally tomorrow!!!

Jochbe
Jochbe

I have to disagree with your interpretation of what the betting trends mean. They don't really mean that bettors think the Hornets won't make the playoffs (maybe you meant this tongue in cheek?). But they also don't necessarily indicate that bettors think the Nuggets are going to win--one might be inclined to think the Hornets will win but think the odds are good enough that the Nuggets are worth a bet (of course, the initial odds still put the game quite close, so going with the Nuggets wouldn't exactly have been taking a long shot...). In general, I love the talk of Vegas odds, though...

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

I thought that when a line starts to slide lower that meant that the majority of people are betting towards the underdog, so they have to slide the line to get the bets closer to 50 - 50 both teams.

Chris
Chris

I was the post game show on TNT, you know with Erinie and Charles and Webber and the jet. Well they had a little game show spin off thing and it was called "who he play for". Pretty much Chuck was given five players that changed teams in the offseason and he had to guess who they played for now. Willie Green was one. Another Hornet was Aaron Gray. I didn't understand this as he was a Hornet last year. Just thought I would share this, not to sure why lol.

ollie
ollie

maybe it cos for some reason we re-signed him as a free agent? im thinkin that could be the only excuse but i saw that and thought the same thing

cheifyoungblood
cheifyoungblood

somebody get Aaron Gray in a jersey PRONTO

JCS
JCS

That's like saying - let's gets some dumb fouls & bricked lay ups PRONTO