The Hornets beat the Spurs

Published: October 30, 2010

Three. And. Oh.  Before the season started, I was hoping for 2-1.  I was expecting 1-2.  I’m having trouble containing myself.  This team has shown depth, resiliency, and the ability to get defensive stops when absolutely necessary for the first time in two seasons.  Tonight the Hornets built a sixteen point lead and then held off a late rally by the Spurs, including a crushing double cross-over by Paul to seal the win.  The final score 99-90, Hornets.(Box Score)

The Spurs did their usual strategy to try and beat the Hornets(or Suns) – stay home on the wings and make the point guard unable to generate easy open looks for his teammates.  It didn’t work out this time as the Hornets were able to find other scoring opportunities, and their defense was good enough for several long stretches that the team pulled out the wind.

Marcus Thornton

After two games as the fifth guard off the bench, coming in after Bayless and Willie Green, Thornton stepped into his sixth man role with the team.  He immediately proceeded to be the Thornton we watched last year, firing continuously and without conscience and carrying the second units offense.  He did struggle mightily containing Ginobili, but so did Ariza, Green and anyone else who ever guards him.  17 points and 7 rebounds for Thornton in 30 minutes off the bench.

Honestly, it was a joy to watch.

Chris Paul

Chris started the game missing his first four shots.  he then went 8-11 for the rest of the game and ended with 25 points, including the previously mentioned vicious double crossover on George Hill that sealed the game.  As usual, he was masterful, breaking down the defense, and generally getting to the basket with little trouble.  The past three games have been a wonderful reminder of everything Chris Paul brings to the table, and how little he takes away.

Other Observations

  • Jason Smith has been pretty bad.  Too many long mid-range jumpers that result in too many misses.  I know he’s supposed to provide spacing, but his shot is off way too much for me to ever be comfortable with that shot.
  • I still like Willie Green.  He’s energetic defensively, he rarely makes mistakes, and while he’s not much of a creator, he usually takes solid shots and hits them at a decent rate.
  • The past two games West has been showing on picks, hustling to get back on his man, and actually helping out on penetration.  Couple that with his usual versatile offense, and he’s been a major reason for this season’s hot start.  He also had an endearing moment at the end of the game when he was shadow boxing with Marcus Thornton after Thornton ripped the rebound away from him and wouldn’t hand it over.
  • Ariza is good defensively.  His offense makes me cringe as often as it makes me smile.  I can live with that, though.
  • Bayless is a Turnover Machine.  He almost never makes me smile.
  • Belinelli played short minutes tonight in favor of Thornton.  After the first game, he hasn’t scored efficiently, and until he starts generating and making open shots, I think that should be the status quo.
  • Peja didn’t play a single minute.  I completely fail to drum up any outrage about this.
  • Some will be worried about how the Hornets keep losing big leads.  The NBA is a game of runs.  The fact the Hornets are generating huge leads is a good thing, not something to worry about because they don’t remain big leads.

Have a good night.


  1. CharmedHive

    October 30, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    All of our players, except 2, had positive +/-‘s. I see this as a very positive win and I can see this team going a long, long way this year! We are resilient, can defend now, we have shooters, and best of all, we have the best point guard in the NBA. No arguments (I’m talking to you, Jazz fans.) Good win and good night.

  2. Lance

    October 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Can someone please find a clip of the boxing match at the end of the game???

    • CharmedHive

      October 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm

      I sure hope so! It was adorable!!

  3. Icebird

    October 30, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I’m officially moving the New Orleans Hornets Pendulum of Prognostication to “Cautiously Optimistic”!

  4. Stefan

    October 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Could there be a Peja trade in the mix?

    • Jeremy

      October 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      What makes you say that?

      • Stone

        October 31, 2010 at 12:57 am

        Maybe the fact he didn’t play tonight.

  5. Forever504

    October 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    I wonder how many of you STILL wanna trade Marcus

    • Stone

      October 31, 2010 at 12:58 am

      Me. Because if for him & Peja we can have some one else, that could make the team better for sure.

      • Forever504

        October 31, 2010 at 3:28 am

        do you honestly think we are going to get a impact player for peja and Thornton. AT best we’ll get bench players

  6. TheDonors

    October 30, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    What do the Willie Green haters have to say now? After three games I’m feeling pretty excited. The team has a camaraderie that we haven’t had the last couple of years. Paul is clearly inspired, West is playing good D, Okafor feels a part of the team, the bench is there, the TEAM defense is there. They have each other’s backs. Honestly, during the preseason, did anybody out there think we’d beat three playoff teams to open the season? If you say you did, you’re lying. We have a long way to go, but the season feels very promising to me right now. GO HORNETS!!!

    • PDK

      October 31, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      well ill be the first to admit i hated the Willie green trade but he’s definitely changed my mind haha GO HORNETS!

  7. hewhorocks

    October 30, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I think Peja might miss a lot of the second half of back to backs involving road trips. Call it a hunch.

  8. BeesGivingEffort

    October 30, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Color me excited. I went to VoodooFest all weekend and therefore did not get to see either of the 2 games. Alas, I was saying when we were leaving the Bucks game splitting the next 2 would be awesome and going 3-0 would be beyond belief. What a start! The crazy thing is that we will only mess better together. This could be a very scary season for the opposition (health permitting) and a very special season for a team in need of a special season. Go Hornets!

  9. thekourt

    October 31, 2010 at 12:00 am

    No need to hate on Jason Smith. He scored 6 points on 3-5 shooting, and buried two huge 18 footers in the fourth quarter to hold off a Spurs comeback. I don’t think his pick-and-pop should be some bench version of DWest’s, but the seems to have good energy and since the Milwaukee game he’s cut back on his gunner tendencies. If he takes 4 open 18-footers a night at times when the second unit’s in the game, I see nothing wrong with that.

    BTW, the fact that Mbenga is not trying to score is an unmitigated good. We have too many good shooters in our second unit, and he seems to understand that his role is to bang down low, get rebounds, and kick out.

    How bout the fact that we won this game with CP3 and Dwest playing 31 and 26 minutes? That’s incredible.

    Oh, and the Spurs’ fourth quarter subbing made no sense to me. Parker and Duncan sat for the fourth?!? I guess it nearly worked, but it seemed a little like Pop was pulling his punches.

    • Mike

      October 31, 2010 at 12:27 am

      Agreed on Smith. 5-8 in the last two games, I don’t know why his shooting is getting criticized. I think him and Green have done pretty well.

      • Adzs-London bee

        October 31, 2010 at 7:21 am

        I third that notion think hes been pretty solid thus far great pick ups in the brackins trade, especially looking at his current stats with the sixers, im highly optimistic for the season ;P

      • JCS

        October 31, 2010 at 12:39 pm

        Cosign. The hate on Jason Smith needs to stop.

  10. 504ever

    October 31, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Why no love for Jason Smith? This is what you said his performance in tonight’s game: “Jason Smith has been pretty bad. Too many long mid-range jumpers that result in too many misses. I know he’s supposed to provide spacing, but his shot is off way too much for me to ever be comfortable with that shot.”

    He made crucial shots and was 3-5 from the field. He would have had another basket if not for a three second call on someone else. The team was +6 while he was in the game, fourth highest positive score tonight. Were we watching the same game?

  11. HiMyNameisSteven

    October 31, 2010 at 12:16 am

    L_Reazy where u at? u see marcus last few games? still think he isnt anything special?

    i love marucs love cp3 love west we look like we can be a solid player in the west

  12. QueenBee

    October 31, 2010 at 12:24 am

    These guys look like they really like playing for Monty.

  13. 42

    October 31, 2010 at 12:45 am

    It’s good. It’s very good.

    Mbenga is doing a little more. Keeping the guards all active and resting some of the bigger guys seems to be works.

    I’m wondering if Gray is resting because Mbenga is not on a guaranteed deal and they want to really get a look at him before a decision has to be made.

    • HiMyNameisSteven

      October 31, 2010 at 1:41 am

      good point… supposedly we need to cut two either joe alexander (which is going to happen) mbenga or pops to get back under lux tax

      • rm

        October 31, 2010 at 5:30 am

        Press in the uk say that pops in on a guaranteed contract though.

      • Adzs-London bee

        October 31, 2010 at 7:23 am

        @Rm lets be honest our press isn’t exactly the best when it comes to basketball loool, although pops should be on a guaranteed deal anyway hes been solid for NOH thus far, with some critical blocks last night (still dnt no how he blocked blairs dunk last night)

  14. Ron

    October 31, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Not only are we 3-0, but all of them have been against playoff teams.

  15. QueenBee

    October 31, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I’ll watch the replay for as long as I can keep my eyes open.

  16. hewhorocks

    October 31, 2010 at 1:11 am

    To L_Reazy’z defense, I havent seen the updated stats and while Thorton has looked pretty good (very good in San Antonio) in the context of the 2 guard spot, Thorton’s biggest asset is still his upside. He could be starter on several teams (and may yet be) but he isnt yet playing beyond the level of a “Nice Player.” What ever that means.

    I think we all agree he has all-star potential but most around the leauge would point out that he has to continue to develop his game and improve on both ends of the court before being considered in the realm of the elite in the division much less the conference or the NBA.

    • Lance

      October 31, 2010 at 1:23 am

      REGARDLESS, shopping Marcus doesn’t make much sense.

      The idea behind dumping Peja’s expiring contract isn’t that we’re trying to get rid of a piece that isn’t that good, for another piece that’s better, but that we’re getting rid of a piece that’s expiring, and is attractive to other teams in an attempt to get a piece that will actually be on our team next year, where Peja won’t.

      Packaging Buckets with Peja does nothing but get rid of easily, at this point, our best bench player.

      I don’t think we should be eager to get him out of town, regardless of whether or not he’s attached to Peja, because no matter what, we’re not going to get his true value in return.

      I think our odds are much better in just hoping to pick up a solid bench player from someone looking to get some money off of the books heading into free agency for next year. We have a couple of expiring contracts that would be huge to teams like Portland, New York, Charlotte, etc.

      Besides, what legitimate piece would you hope to get for Peja & Buckets packaged together that would automatically turn us into this unbeatable team?

      • HiMyNameisSteven

        October 31, 2010 at 1:42 am

        thank you thats what ive been saying … essentially

      • corndeaux

        October 31, 2010 at 10:28 am

        Its simple. The Hornets have 5 rotation guards. Monty has made it work so far, but if an opportunity comes along to upgrade the 4/5 and it involves sending out one of the guards, then you do it. Speculation was Thornton would be the guy to move because the coaches seemed down on him and he has more value than Green- just like Collison was moved because he had the most value. As Ryan posted a while back, Peja himself gets minimal help back. Thornton has potential, but he is in no way untouchable.

  17. scedotal

    October 31, 2010 at 7:04 am

    This is a great start for the deepest team we have had in a while. We have a lot of pretty good players, but only two stars. My biggest concern is Chris Paul’s health. He looked a little slow at times. Any games Paul misses will be difficult to win. This team is built around Paul. Thornton looks real good, so trading him would be a mistake. Green looked pretty good as well.

  18. benmez

    October 31, 2010 at 9:12 am

    seriously what is with the Jason Smith hate on blog. The guy is doing good out there. He hustles, hits his shots at a decent clip and is a good defender because he has very good speed and athletcism for his size.

    I’m loving what im seeing out of him.

    • corndeaux

      October 31, 2010 at 10:31 am

      Co-sign. Not sure what else you could expect from the guy. He’s an upgrade over Songaila and still has room to grow- he missed most of last year to an injury. The moves Demps has made have paid off so far. Let’s enjoy it.

      • Ryan Schwan

        October 31, 2010 at 10:48 am

        Look, I’ve always liked Smith’s hustle – I made him a key player to two pre-season games, but he’s not actually been producing well out there. He also LOVES the 20 foot jumpshot, and he’s shooting it at 29%. He takes that shot 60% of the time he shoots. Last year, he took it 50% and made 33% of it. That’s not good offense.

        Sure, last night, he had a nice drive and drop pass to Okafor, and he hustles, but that doesn’t make him GOOD. His ability to stay in front of power forwards is not actually that wonderful, either.

        My primary irritation is he can hit that shot at times – when his feet are set. But he’s rushing the shot a lot just to get it off, floating as he takes it, or stepping sideways into it. And he misses then. He should take it when he’s set. It’s not smart basketball.

      • 42

        October 31, 2010 at 11:44 am

        I see the issue not as “Is Smith good?” whatever that means, but “Is be better than Songaila plus Brackins, ignoring Green?”

        I think he is. He’s not awesome today and may never be. The dude has clear areas to work on, but he also seem to have shown the capability to be a good value for his pay (2.2 megadollars) comparing him across the league. Comparing him to Songaila plus Brackins, the most valid economic comparison, we see this is in even sharper relief.

        Smith is a step in the right direction and that should make everyone, maybe even Ryan, happy. Plus, he’s expiring.

        We’ve made a bunch of steps in the right direction and gotten at least a `bonus win’ as a reward for our troubles. Good days.

        Also, I was thinking about Bayless and Thornton. Marcus is playing well today, but he wasn’t the other day. I took the Bayless option as a sign of Marcus being on the way out. I certainly think he provides an insurance policy in case we need to move Marcus for whatever reason, but picking up the option on a guy you think will outplay his contract is smart business. If they both play well, then we have that many more options when it comes time to make a deal. If both Marcus and Bayless are playing well, in fact, we may be able to do a bait-and-switch with Marcus-to-Bayless since Bayless’ contract structure is more defined (today; who knows wha the CBA will do). So, I’m less despondent about MArcus leaving being a done deal.

  19. rm

    October 31, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Having watched all three games on league pass I feel I am able to comment with a little more substance now, rather than simply quoting stats. I will start with my normal subject but will pass observation on the whole team – just to show you all that I am not a one trick pony.

    Pops seems to be getting most of his minutes as a back up 5 behind Okafor and DJ. I think that he has been solid if not amazing with a good rebound per minute ratio – best Hornet and top 30 overall and also is fouling way less. I still think that he has more to offer than DJ as we still haven’t seen much of his transition game which is fantastic to watch. He does though need to stop the stupid mistakes, the defensive 3 second yesterday was lazy and I was surprised to see any further minutes even if it was only 1.

    Even though Smith hasn’t shown his pre season form I still think that he offers a little more on offence and Monty can play a similar game with West or Smith on the court. For me Pops is a 5 but is just a little undersized. He is similar to Okafor and if Pops was 6.11 with the same skills as he has I think that he would command more attention.

    I think Pops is good back up to both the 4 and 5 position and gives monty options and I hope my League Pass subscription is not going to be wasted with a rerun of last year and the Houston situation with Pops getting cut after only a few games into the season.

    As for the team, I am impressed with the set up and I think Monty needs to take a lot of credit here. He seems to be able to mix and match and get everyone contributing which is a real talent.

    CP3 is simply awesome, so much control and vision. The guy makes everyone look good.
    I now know what all the conversation preseason was re Marcus. The guy has got a sweet shot and I believe he looks better than Bellinelli and should be a starter, though maybe more effective currently as a 6th man.
    Bayless looks a little like a headless chicken and Green is currently the better option for me. He looks steady and has been on court when most of the good runs have happened.

    West and Ariza are quality but Peja is an expensive luxury.

    Impressive start and I take my hat off to Monty I think that he has done a great job so far. All he needs to do now is get Pops into the game more!

  20. Hollis21

    October 31, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Big time. Very hard to contain myself right now. I had a stream up last night and would watch when the Ohio State football game went to commercial. So, I didn’t really get to analyze the game as much as I’d like but the small samplings I got throughout the night were very impressive to me.

    It’s been discussed on here plenty, a slow start by this team and the Paul stories come back out and are all over the media. Now, I see on multiple forums and discussions people talking of deals where the Hornets get a big piece and possibly form there own big three. I love how quick people will change their opinion.

    My opinion, remains the same. Chris Paul being healthy means a playoff spot for these Hornets. A 2 seed like that magical season that seems like forever ago, unlikely. A middle of the line seed to open the eyes of the league, no doubt in my mind.

    For me, this is the deepest team I’ve seen since a few of the Charlotte teams in the late 90’s, but this may be the deepest of all. Definitely the best cast Paul has had, IMO. That being said, this team can really do something. Especially building off the momentum of this hot start. Set yourself in a good position for the middle of the season where the schedule loosens up and make a big run.

    Going to be a long wait until Wednesday, but hoping I’ll finally be able to sit down and watch a full game.

  21. tyler

    October 31, 2010 at 11:10 am

    man i dont know what you are talking about i like smith. smith has been doing good.

  22. Pedro

    October 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Small note: The Hornets need to be more careful inbounding the ball.

  23. tyler

    October 31, 2010 at 11:28 am

    You all are saying that Dj is not doing good basketball isn’t always about scoring this man had four blocks. He practically had a dwight howard moment

  24. MaxJD_Nola2NYC

    October 31, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I finally got a chance to see the game on league pass, I’m very happy to see everything coming together. Also I saw the shadowboxing between D-West and Thornton at the very end.. This had to be the losest and happiest I’ve ever seen D-West, I mean he only make two or three weird faces per game compared to 8-10 last year!

    • CharmedHive

      October 31, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      LOL! I know! I’m guessing him and Thornton are now going to arrange a playdate…

      “Fluffy, don’t hurt me.”
      “We’ll see.”

  25. 42

    October 31, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    With about a minute left in the third, Willie J. Green (much better name than Wille Green, in my opinion) scored in the pain and got the and 1, with that shot being a change to go up 16. That show ended up being important considering how slim the lead got, but that wasn’t known at the time. It was in some sense a sequence void of game relevance.

    The CST broadcast showed an energetic Chris on his feet pumping his fist and yelling for him.

    This is most certainly NOT a guy who has punched his ticket out of town.

    This guy was thrilled for his backup, an 8th-year-vet on an expiring deal who was recently dealt out of the only professional home he and his children have ever known, to run the lead up to 16 on a decent move in the paint. He wasn’t happy for the Hornets; it helped, but it was nothing to write home about, the points or the move. He was happy for Willie J.

    To me, that speaks volumes. It says a great deal more than anything that was said or not said this summer.

    He’s a genuine guy and a class act. He’s a natural leader. This is his team and these are his people. He may walk, but it’s not a done deal.

    Chris has a better team, and it’s continuing to get better. He knows it. He’s invested in it.

  26. JCS

    October 31, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Chris Paul
    “As usual, he was masterful, breaking down the defense, and generally getting to the basket with little trouble. The past three games have been a wonderful reminder of everything Chris Paul brings to the table, and how little he takes away.”

    Love it

  27. TheDonors

    October 31, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    It is cool to see CP pumped about the play of the bench. The broadcast caught him cheering Willie Green’s aggressive drive to the basket for the and1 last night. For the last couple of seasons he seemed to have contempt for the bench after they repeatedly gave up what little leads we managed to get. It’s great to see that when this bench comes on the floor, we’re able to play the same type of game that the starters are playing. We don’t need to go to a completely different offensive game. Smith gives us the pick and pop and the guards are able to maintain and sometimes control the pace of the game. Some say that Smith is shooting a low percentage from 20 feet, and that to have him take that shot is not smart basketball. Well, I guarantee you that if he were passing up those open looks off the pick, he’d quickly fall out of favor with Monty. Coach wants him taking that shot. First of all, its his game. Thats why we got him, so that he can somewhat duplicate West’s game while he’s on the bench. Second, if you pass up an open shot in the NBA, the play almost always ends up breaking down and you don’t end up getting a good look at the basket. That leads to offensive stagnation, and the devotees of the NOH have had enough offensive stagnation in recent years, thank you very much. We’ve all seen Peja go 0-8 from three in games. Is it not smart basketball for him to keep shooting? We need Ariza to help spread the floor. He started off cold this season but he needs to keep shooting. Three games into the season is too early to say Jason Smith is not playing smart basketball because he’s shooting a low percentage, we know that he’s here to be a shooting big. Monty’s game plan dictates to him where and when to shoot the ball. Now if we get 15-20 games in and he’s shooting a low percentage from 18-20 feet, then Coach makes an adjustment.

    Mbenga showed what he can be defensively against the Spurs. He played an excellent game off the bench. Also, I have to agree with a few people’s remarks about DWest. The dude looks like he’s having fun. That is great to watch and his production on both ends of the court is showing it. As much as I feel the new technical foul rule might be a little heavy handed, it might actually be good for West. It can help keep that fiery temper under control. How many times have we seen him get overcome with venom after some call didn’t go his way and end up hurting the team?

    • QueenBee

      October 31, 2010 at 6:29 pm

      “It is cool to see CP pumped about the play of the bench. The broadcast caught him cheering Willie Green’s aggressive drive to the basket for the and1 last night.”

      I agree. That was great! CP was like “yeah!! yeah!! Good job Willie!!”


  28. QueenBee

    October 31, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    West tweets….

    @bkthegreat yea 4 sho. Coaching staff BBall I.Q. Is crazy…Preparation wit Purpose

    Like I said, it looks like West and this team really like playing for Monty and this coaching staff.

  29. PDK

    October 31, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    11 man rotation…unbelievable. i mean i know monty is just trying to figure out a rotation but this is awesome, especially with everyone making some sort of impact (except i guess for jason smith for all the smith haters out there) this is also with player such as pondexter and aaron gray being inactive who undoubtedly will be getting minutes sooner than later with big teams such as the lakers coming up on the schedule. 32 minutes for paul will help him come playoff time not putting pressure on him to out preform everyone on the court every night. even with all the credit monty is being given he deserves more with the way he gets our team to play so aggressively on defense and also how he gets every player to play to their maximum ability. its going to be a fun season. Go Hornets!

    • PDK

      October 31, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      also love how aggressive the 2nd unit is this year. last year it seemed as if nobody wanted to shoot the ball but this year much much better

  30. L_Reazy

    October 31, 2010 at 11:17 pm


    I’ve never stated that Marcus Thornton wasn’t a good player. He definitely is, and was the biggest reason for the win against San Antonio.

    The only thing I criticized him for was inconsistency. He has to do what he did against the Spurs -minus the bonehead turnovers- every game in order to be considered an All-Star. Nevertheless, ‘hats-off’ to MT5 for a great game against the infamous Spurs!


  31. Ron

    November 1, 2010 at 12:17 am

    [quote]He has to do what he did against the Spurs -minus the bonehead turnovers- every game in order to be considered an All-Star.[/quote]

    That’s what philosophers call a “tautology”: a formula which is true in every possible interpretation.

    IOW, *every* player that scores a lot (especially in clutch situations) w/o making boneheaded turnovers is All-Star caliber.

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