New Orleans Hornets Beat the Nuggets

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Published: October 29, 2010

The New Orleans Hornets beat the Nuggets tonight to remain undefeated. It was a thrilling 101-95 victory that had the crowd jacked up, and left fans wanting more. When Chris Paul checked back in with 9 minutes to go in the fourth quarter you could just tell that he wasn’t going to let this one get away. It was one of those games.

After falling into a fast 8-0 deficit, reminiscent of the game which must not be named, the Hornets settled down on offense, and got their rotations in gear on defense. They outscored the Nuggets 59-42 the rest of the first half.

Jarryd Bayless relieved Paul with about two minutes to go in the first quarter, and the Bees up 25-23. After describing himself as a point guard earlier in the week, Bayless gave it away twice right away. He would pick it up in first minutes of the second quarter, scoring and and 2 assists. He looks good out there, and it’s a wonder how the Hornets were able to get him for so little.

With about 45 seconds to go in the first quarter, Willie Green unleashed a slam dunk, which as of now is the best of the Hornets season.They called it “The Halloween Hammer”.  Although nobody is entirely sold on Willie Green, he does a lot of things that coaches like and will continue to see time.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu was the first big man off the bench today, although DJ Mbenga again saw time at center. Pops seems to be a superior option so far and should see increased minutes going forward.

Marcus Thornton came in with 10:00 to go in the second quarter, and was immediately on fire. He played as part of a three guard lineup with Willie Green and Jerryd Bayless, with Bayless operating the point. The trio led the way as the Hornets took an 11 point lead before Paul checked back in. Despite Monty saying that the three guard lineup of game one was more based on match ups, it makes sense that he will be implementing it throughout the season considering the depth the Hornets have at the guard position. Using a three guard lineup, the Hornets were +14 in the first half.

But I digress. Thornton looks like a much improved player out there on defense. He’s actively checking his man and trying to get into the open passing lanes. When he’s missing his assignment, he’s realizing it much earlier than he has in the past, and literally sprinting to recover.  You can see that he is deliberately positioning himself exactly where the coaches have told him to be.

The energy is still there, and he’s proving his value again after a depressing disappointing preseason. Offensively he looks like his old self, but somehow more confident if that’s even possible. He saw some time with the starters as well, staying on the court for the remainder of the half. Apparently Monty Williams liked what he saw. In the second half Thornton was the first guy off the bench, replacing Marco Belinelli. Thornton took him the 6th man of the game award for the first time of the season as well.

Speaking of Cookies, he loves to drive the hoop, and that’s great, but not when he’s passing up wide open threes to do it. The team needs him to take every single open three he gets. He finished just 2-8 (1-3 from deep). He easily should have taken five three pointers.

Jason Smith had a nice dunk, but was otherwise ineffective. Seems like Aaron Gray gave a lot more last year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him active sooner rather than later. Smith struggled hard on defense, gave up easy buckets inside, turned it over a couple times, and committed stupid fouls. Jump shooting big men can’t afford to give up so much defensively.

Trevor Ariza’s defense makes me smile. If he can ever get his three point shot to hit, the Hornets will be that much more scary. If you were looking for proof that his signing was a good one, this would be a good game to reference. Four steals, four rebounds, and four assists is a stat line that the Hornets would like to see more often from Ariza.

Emeka Okafor continues to settle for layups under the basket, even when guarded by small forwards. DUNK THE ROCK. He did manage to slam one home, but most of his points were on layups. Nonetheless, it was a good game for Emeka on both ends of the floor. A key block in the fourth quarter got the crowd on it’s feet, and the arena buzzing. Without him, it’s unlikely this would have been a victory. It’s troubling to think what would happen if he were to get injured, so I’ll stop thinking about that now and won’t even mention how many games in a row he’s played.

Notes

  • Former Saints coach Jim Mora was in the house, and received a loud ovation from the sparse crowd.
  • Former Hornet Melvin Ely played for the Nuggets, further proving that he is somehow still seeing time on an NBA court.
  • When Peja hits a three the crowd still goes considerably more nuts than they do for anyone not named Paul. Still, he is not a key part of this team anymore and will probably be moved at some point.
  • The Hornets have a jump rope squad now that performs during breaks. Very 1980′s if you ask me.
  • The player introductions were done by an extremely creepy character who looked right out of the WWF. I didn’t get a name, but hopefully nobody runs into him after the game.
  • Continuing in the Halloween spirit, there was a pumpkin pie eating contest. No hands allowed. If there was ever a contest you don’t want to be asked to participate in, this might be it.
  • Paul was called for his first technical foul of the season, when he complained in mid air about a Denver foul not being of the shooting variety. It didn’t matter since the Nuggets were over the limit at the time, and he got to shoot anyway. The new technical foul rules are pretty absurd, if I do say so myself.
  • Chris Paul also NEVER gets up on his own anymore. He was always one to stay down for help, but lately he’s been demanding it every time he’s on the ground (a lot). I’m unsure if that’s related to his knee surgery, but next time I get a chance I’ll ask.
  • Monty Williams, The Hornets, and I are undefeated on the season. Take that, Ryan, Michael, and the Heat.
  • A rather sparse crowd shouldn’t be reason for concern. It’s Voodoofest in New Orleans and many fans opted to attend that instead of the game. More concerning should be the pitiful opening night attendance.

Speaking of fans that love music, I’ll be forgoing the post game press conference in favor Voodoofest related activities, so don’t hold your breath for updates.

Next game is 7:30 ct tomorrow in San Antonio.

70 comments
JCS
JCS

"Jason Smith had a nice dunk, but was otherwise ineffective. Seems like Aaron Gray gave a lot more last year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him active sooner rather than later" --------------------------------------------------------- Aaron Gray's entire career has been ineffective and this preseason was a blatant reminder. Smith on the other hand is just getting started, so it's too soon to write him off.

notoriousBEE
notoriousBEE

Aaron Gray has played 149 games, Jason smith has played in 134. Jason Smith has actually played more minutes in his career. All I am sayin', is give gray a chance.

JCS
JCS

Aaron has played twice as many seasons as Jason, and has made zero impact in the NBA. He brought down my hometown Bulls like a virus, and for the past season the Hornets chose to give-a-fat-man-a-chance and got nothing in return. One of my favorite quotes on his so-called YouTube highlights: "When I see him I just start to laugh."

42
42

The announcer guy was from the House of Shock, a one-time Phil Anselmo project. It is one of the best Haunted Houses in the country, if you are in to such a thing. I am not.

Mikey
Mikey

That "human flag" guy at halftime kinda creeped me out. That is all.

42
42

He made me feel funny . . .

ryan
ryan

Mike. My fanhood says resign him. But sadly in reality, no I would not resign him.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

It is a hard line to toe- isn't it? I remember how nice it was before I realized how much the NBA is dictated by business decisions. Of course, if we were the Lakers or the Mavs, we could afford to play a 15-18 MPG guy 6 million a year, but small market teams can't do that. Still, a bench of Bayless, Wille Green ( I think we can re-sign him cheap), and Pondexter combined with an elite backup big we can hopefully get for moving Thornton would be very nice. If Sacremento were out of the playoff picture by February- would they trade Carl Landry and Dalembert for Mbenga, Thornton, and Peja (to sell tickets)? Imagine: CP3/Bayless Belinelli/W. Green Ariza/Pondexter West/Landry/Smith Okafor/Dalembert/Pops Would be the deepest and most balanced team in Hornets history BY FAR.

sundance
sundance

tbh, Kings are in dire need of a backup SG.

Hornet
Hornet

Can Landry play the 3? If not then I don't think it's worth it to get him and then pay the type of money he'll be wanting after this season. Also not sure if Sacto does this trade unless Marcus is producing at a level he was last year, and if he is why would we trade him?

JoeLa
JoeLa

Is anyone else really excited about Belinelli? I love what I have seen from him so far. He dominated in the preseason and looked fantastic against the bucks.

tyler
tyler

marcus marcus marcus marcus marcus

Stefan
Stefan

willie willie willie willie willie willie (just to be cool)

JCS
JCS

cookie cookie cookie

Ryan
Ryan

Cookies better watch out. Marcus was aggressive on defense. A few more games like this and Thornton could get start. I hope I wasnt the only one that noticed had in sync Thornton looked with the other starters... Really hoping that we wont trade MT5...

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

But here is my question for you Ryan- if we dont trade MT5 this year, would you pay him next year? If somebody offered him a Wesley Matthews contract would you match it? For me it would be hard to justify giving Thornton 5-7 million a year on this team. Bayless does a lot of the same things and is locked in for 2 years beyond this one. For me, it is not about the here and now as much as the future. With Bayless here and Belinelli perhaps sticking around, Thornton makes sense as a luxury piece at $800,000- but not 7 million. If he can keep playing well and be moved with Jason Smith in January for a very good big man, then you gotta take it. Plus you have to consider by next year Q-Pon should be able to give you something. Next year, Q-Pon, Belinelli, and Bayless COMBINED will be making the amount of money Thornton could command. We are fine at those positions and economically it makes sense to keep the cheaper guys. What is needed is a big and if Thornton helps you get one, you gotta move him IMO.

MaxALM
MaxALM

He may command good money in the future, but by then i'm going to assume Chouest is our owner, and would hopefully mean that we're not concerned with keeping petty salaries, but are willing to spend more. To me, it seems that Monty still considers Marcus a "prospect" and so he's isn't playing him big minutes. Once he has molded Thornton fully, he should be a big-time player for us, and would constitute a big part of the team's future.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

everyone knows i love marcus but that there was probably the best explaination i have heard as to why we should move marcus. IMO i still think to give up marcus we need it to be a big time move, to give up such young talent. If we need to move him and opportunity comes you have to move him with peja and something else to get a big atheltic center or just something special. The whole point of trading marcus would be to get a special player since thats the only way to keep chris happy. if you watched last nights game WE NEED CP3. make him happy and we can be good for years but to just give up marcus is not a smart move unless we can prove to chris its a better team move

sundance
sundance

Pondexter, Bayless and Thornton are the Hornets future. They've shown chemistry with Paul and it would be nice to see them get some extended PT. Even Pondexter, I think Monty should give some faith to playing the guy. But understandably Monty seems to be focused on making the playoffs, which is why he plays Peja and Green, neither of which should be considered a part of the team's future. As far as Beli goes, it doesn't seem likely they're going to pick up his option so I guess they're fine either way if he stays or goes next year. I personally happen to like his play so I hope they find a spot for him next year.

rm
rm

I still think Pops deserves more minutes. If you look at the scores when on court Pops was 13 - 10 whilst Smith was 13-14. I know that this doesn't mean a whole lot but Smith is only shooting 35% from the field and even with Pops poor stats offensively I think that he could top that. I know that he doesn't offer the jumper like smith but I do think he offers more defensively. ave 4 minutes for pops with 1.5 rebounds against 16 mins for Smith ave 2.0. I also think that Pops is a better 5 than DJ even though DJ has 3 possible 4 inches on him. You all know that I am biased and I will try and use stats to back up my bias but in your wise opinions why did pops not return in the second half?

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

Wow, I don't want to get excited but damn, I have been a hornet fan since their inception in Charlotte and I haven't felt this excited since Alonzo Mourning hit that Jumper at the top of the key. I really feel this combination of players is showing the makings of a special bond. Fundamentals and skills are important, but Chemistry is what gives you the fire and will to Close the game out in the 4th Qtr. These first two games were well managed by Coach Monty, and for those of you that were stressing the preseason record; that was all about Monty feeling the players out! Genious. I think the Theme in the Background should be "oh you Fancy?...hu?" Watch us creep up and give the West a run for their Money! Btw, the low attendance so far is not good! I think its the Sales and Marketing Team, I remember back in the day getting 100 emails from them. Now once in a blue moon.. Maybe they realized I'm in NY lol

Hornet
Hornet

Tonight was VooDoo fest in New Orleans. Around 100k people were at that. I wouldn't worry too much about attendance for the Denver game

TheDonors
TheDonors

Just some remarks about the bench. Willie Green seems to have everyone divided. To me, he is a long defender and showed in the first game that he can be a good rebounder for a guard. In my mind, these two facts are huge pluses regardless of his offensive production. Bayless looks like a guy who has been here less than a week, but he has athleticism and offensive skills. We all know about Thornton. Now, I ask you, would any of you trade this current guard rotation for the likes of Devin Brown, Antonio Daniels, or Bobby Brown??? Its early in the season, bench consistency is rare in the league, but the Hornets bench (our achilles heel for years) has played well so far. On any given night we have options at the guard position. As for the frontcourt, I think Jason Smith is playing well. His offensive skills are better than any bench big we've had recently. Though he is slow, he's active. Sure he had some bad fouls last night, but at least two were the result of aggressiveness, which I'll take. The real move that needs to happen is to activate Gray and move Mbenga to the inactive list. I think DJ should only dress in case of emergency. Aaron Gray on the other hand can give us something in the 3rd center spot. Other than that, Pops is very active, but I'd like to see that translate into more actual rebounds. Peja is playing great in his limited role. He'll have that game where he goes for 26 one night, but we don't really need that out of him anymore. When he's in there he plays solid defense and spreads the floor. I think the bench is vastly improved. There will be nights when they don't get it done, but that's when the starters have to carry us. That's the same for any team in the league. I just think Monty has put in a great defensive system and somehow made this lackluster team of the last couple of seasons buy into it totally. Plus, the ball movement and motion off the ball on offense is great to watch. It's like we're a real NBA basketball team (sorry, Byron).

Stefan
Stefan

I'd only trade one of our guards if we packaged him with Peja for a trade that would bring us back two really good (mid-level) rotation players, one of them being a big man of course.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I think people are divided on W. Green because he is himself divided. In game one he was in the corner and got the ball passed out to him. In Game 2, the same thing occured. In game 1 he shot a horrible looking 3 that clanked and it led to a Milwaukee fast break. In Game 2 against Denver, he put the ball on the deck and ended up with a nasty dunk. His defense is great, but whether or not he is embraced by Hornets fans depends on which Willie Green we see more of- Game 1 or Game 2. Fans love smart players who know their limitations. As for Jason Smith- I am in the camp that says that despite his offensive skills, his inability to slide defensively and make proper rotations is not worth his occassional dunk or 15 footer. There are enough scorers on this team. I mean on the bench alone we have MT5, Bayless, Peja, and W Green- all guys who can go off for 15-20 on a given night and have had 30 point nights in their career. For this team, I would prefer a guy who got into proper position on defense, even if that came with zero offense. I would rather give Smith's minutes to Pops or even Peja at the 4.

F******
F******

Bayless needs to get some more accustomed to his new team and teammates. He had some completely lost plays, but his abilities are very nice! The guard position is now very deep! I like that!

winze
winze

Also forgot to say, if I lived in the US i would watch every Hornets game i could live, and hell if I lived in New Orleans i would have a season pass.

winze
winze

Watched this on league pass tonight, and CP3 just took over, but you know what the difference is this year? Him and D West had help and this team is getting defensive stops when it matters and we play accountable team defense. I love this seasons version of the Hornets and can't wait to see how far they can go. I love how the new guys MOVE on offense and don't just sit and watch the CP3 show. Regarding Emeka and the lay ups instead of throwing it down, I believe the quick lay ups he takes are probably take a lot less energy and less chance of landing badly or wearing his body out, while not looking spectacular they get the 2 points regardless. Plus we know he can throw it down when he wants to. I rather see a healthy Emeka for 82 games + the playoffs rather than be watching highlight reels of him while his on the sidelines due to injury.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

please go to the games guys.... i live in southern california i go to every laker and clipper game the hornets come to town and it be sad to see chris leave because the town doesnt support a great team like they should,,,, sorry for the middle of the night a couple too many blog post

42
42

It is one of the best ways. I have 4 seats, cheapies, and for little packages for coworkers and friends. I had up to 10 before. People dropped off this year, but one lady wanted to buy season tickets, so I just gave her the rights to 2 of the 6 we had in the lower bowl, so that worked out really well. Over time it'll fluctuate, but if we keep up like this, that'll help all of us who try to help get the Hornets `over' in the area.

JCS
JCS

I live in Miami and go to all the Hornets games down here. I think one of the best ways to support your team is to got to watch them play!

urgmasdaughter
urgmasdaughter

@HiMyNameisSteven: I live in So Cal too we should meet up and go to some Clippers & Lakers games. Southern Californian Hornets fans UNITE!!! :)

Stefan
Stefan

I am beyond excited for the future if we keep this young core. We are one small roster adjustment away from becoming a serious contender. Monty & Dell are doing a phenomenal job. I'm kind of anxious to see how we'll react to our 1st back-to-back and away game. Should be interesting.

Jerry M
Jerry M

Great win! We need to show our support for the team and OUR city by having a good crowd every night! I already have two season tickets, but Im thinking about getting two more to support!

cadillacjacques
cadillacjacques

I thought we played well tonight. I saw alot out of guys I wasn't expecting much from. Mecka balled. He looked like he believed he was the dominant center tonight. Exactly what we need him to be. Buckets looked like buckets. Dub played good defense without committing too many dumb fouls. I liked what Ariza did. Only complaint about him....practice wide open threes more. Smith sucks. CP balled as usual. Bench looks way better to me this year. We look like a competing team instead of a team fighting for a chance to win any game. Keep it up. I age

OkiJeff
OkiJeff

Great job by Mek tonight. I haven't been a fan of his since last year, but with continued performances like this... and if he would finish strong!! Also, I think Chris is staying on the floor since on some plays no one came over to help him up. Someone from the Bucks had to help him up last game. With so many new players, I think he trying to instill a "take care of each other attitude." If you guys can ask him, I would love to know too. LOL. BTW. It is amazing how good CP3 plays on both sides on the court.

Schmide234
Schmide234

Peja at the 4 = SUCESS (against bench PF that is.) he is faster than them, spreads the defense, fast enough to play defense against them, and big enough to challenge them. peja looked like a strong defender checking on every screen and then hustling back to his man

ktrufant
ktrufant

"The Hornets have a jump rope squad now that performs during breaks. Very 1980′s if you ask me." Very awesome if you ask me but probably no one is ... After being able to watch a couple of games, I see what folks like in Green. But a cursory look at some advanced stats makes it seem that the team would look that much better if they kept Green's, Smith's, Mbenga's and Bayless' minutes to a minimum. But like I said, a lot of fans who have watched the games like most of these guys and it's still very very very early in the season. Though this has persisted through the preseason ... I wonder if better basketball minds than mine could explain this to me ...

benmez
benmez

advanced stats are overrated. Period. if you can play basketball and help your team win it is preety obvious. Th guys you mentioned are all good and deserve to play minutes.

42
42

Advanced stats are supposed to tell you something, not everything. Don't beat up the stats; educate those who don't know how to use them. Also, few of these really even begin to `get at' defense, which is, say, half the game.

ktrufant
ktrufant

I get what you're saying but 4 fouls and 2 turnovers (and 6 points) in 8 minutes can't be good basketball. I didn't get to watch the preseason but I have watched these first two games a couple times (League Pass) and my eyes tell me that these guys played bad basketball (not including Green, he looked okay to me - not good, but not terrible). The numbers on them historically, back that up. In the preseason, the team lost all but one game. If the guys mentioned, in fact, play good basketball, how does one explain the difference? Our eyes and the numbers tell us Paul is good. (and that Deron Williams is not quite as good) If Smith et al. look good in games why do they look bad on paper?

Chris
Chris

Did yall see that Rondo got 24 dimes tonight to go with 10 points 10 rebounds that's amazing! But we need to get CP to show him up that he is the best point in the league

JCS
JCS

Rondo topped out at 18 last year, while Chris was on the DL. Since then (I believe) Chris has been trying to rack up more assists than the kid, in addition to topping Skiles' epic 30.

MaxALM
MaxALM

Rondo is a great point guard, but I will always discredit his stats to an extent because he has 3 future Hall of Famers to give him those assists. With the second best 3pt shooter ever, Paul Pierce, KG, AND Shaq/Jermaine, those assists will come fairly easy on a nightly basis. If Paul were in Rondo's position, he would put up 20 assists every night.

F******
F******

I would rather like the team to show everybody up that they can make it to a good playoff spot! Less pressure and PT on/ for CP = fewer injurys and for energy for a potential post-season

Mark
Mark

Rondo's really an amazing point guard, but he did tack on 7 TOs with those assists. That said, a 3.4:1 ratio is still great, especially at that volume. The thing about him, though, is that his 3FG% and FT% are atrocious, so while the entire game he's one of the best, down the stretch of a close game, he has a definite weakness. CP has no discernible flaw (just strong, iso point guards like Deron Williams), which is why he'll always be better until Rondo addresses his lack of range and whatever his problem at the line is.

tyler
tyler

he only has that cause look who he has now

Mark
Mark

Technical foul assessed to Chris Paul was extremely stringent. I don't understand Stern's reasoning for the choke-hold, but I hope it'll be a little more lax as the season continues, a la the dress code. Hornets still don't seem like a Western Conference forerunner, but I feel we've been playing with a sense of urgency akin to our 07-08 season. As evident in our second quarter run, as long as we hit open shots, we have a great chance of getting into the playoffs.

Forever504
Forever504

Question what is the correct way to say Marco's last name because the announcers call him Bellynelli

Stone
Stone

It's "bel-ee-nel-ee".