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Hornets Beat the Miami Heat to Remain UnBEEfeated
The New Orleans Hornets beat the Miami Heat 96-93 in an dunk filled affair. Fans picked a great night for the first sellout of the season, and were treated to quite a show, most notably by big men Emeka Okafor and Jason Smith. The duo undoubtedly left Heat fans concerned about their front court.
Fueled by Chris Paul (9 assists in the first quarter, 19 overall), the Hornets jumped out to a 9-2 lead and seemed primed for a stomping against any other opponent. There were alley oops reminiscent of the CCC, thunderous dunks by Jason Smith (among others), and crowd pleasing Trevor Ariza treys, but what really got fans most excited came later. The Hornets led by double digits for much of the first half, and had the Miami regulars looking frustrated.
The Heat would predictably come back, but it was not until 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter that they took their first lead of the night. LeBron calmly nailed two free throws, and like that the Hornets were behind for the first time. It was obviously Chris Paul time after that. With the hornets up one with 15 seconds left, he found Trevor Ariza in the corner for an open three pointer. Boom. Game, set, match, except not…
Chris Bosh (yes, Chris Bosh) knocked down a three pointer with 7.5 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead back down to one. West would get fouled and go to the line, calmly nailing both, to leave the Heat with 7 seconds left to make up a three point difference.
The last Heat shot (which temporarily answers the question of who takes the big shot) went to Eddie House after Wade passed it up. It clanked off the rim to secure the best start in Hornets franchise history. WHOOOOOOO!
David West got off to a slow start (2 points in the first half), but bounced back to finish with 15 points on 12 shots to go with 7 rebounds. In the third quarter, when shorts weren’t falling for the rest of the Hornets, West took it upon himself to make buckets and keep the lead in tact. His two free throws with seven seconds left were huge, as was the play when he tangled with a loose ball with Dwayne Wade under the basket, leading to the Hornets getting possession.
Ultimately, his efforts were overshadowed by the Hornets two other big men. Jason Smith was blowing up the Daily Dime Chat, getting compared to Superman, Michael Jordan, and Chris Paul. The line of the night was “Jason Smith doesn’t do push ups, he does Earth downs.” That really says it all.
Fine, I’ll add some more. He finished with 12 points on 10 shots, to go with 6 rebounds and 2 steals, but make no mistake about his impact. He was absolutely huge in the second quarter, and finished the game a team best +19 in 25 minutes.
Emeka Okafor was an complete and utter beast tonight. He took full advantage of his match up against Joel Anthony and whoever else the Heat threw at him, reminding fans that he’s a damn good center. Offensively he was at his best (possibly ever), going 12-12 in the paint, with his lone miss of the night coming on a chuck with 1 second left on the shot clock. 26 points on 13 shots is pretty fantastic. He added 13 huge rebounds and a block, taking my player of the game award in the process.
Trevor Ariza did exactly what the Hornets needed, playing solid defense on Bron-Bron and getting easy transition baskets. The three pointers were a nice touch, especially the last dagger.
What really won this game for the Hornets defensively was how they handled guys that aren’t part of a “big three”. The Hornets let the big names get theirs, but limited the rest of the Heat to only 30 points. Their rotations were infinitely better than anything we have seen in previous years.
Trevor Ariza played solid, but unspectacular defense on LeBron, holding him to 20 points on 16 shots. He added ten assists to go along with his three turnovers. LeBron is going to get his, but it wasn’t easy for him tonight, and that’s the best you can hope for.
Before I forget- Chris Paul EMBARRASSED (worthy of all alterations to the text) James Jones with 2:08 to go in the fourth quarter. After LeBron lost Paul, Jones tried and failed miserably to pick him up. So dirty. So sick. So CP3. They called a charge on Paul, gave him a technical, and waved off the basket, but that was nonsense. It was dirty and clean at the same time.
Again Monty started the fourth quarter without Paul or West on the floor, and again the bench faltered. Where Byron would have pulled the plug, Monty left them in there and got his stars some rest for the closing minutes. The majority bench unit had played Miami to a tie until Paul checked back in.
Monty almost made his first huge mistake as a head coach. Late in the fourth quarter, he barely avoided taking a penalty for having too many guys on the floor.
This game will make the league take note of what has so far been an incredible Hornets team. I only had to field about 3 Chris Paul trade questions on the Daily Dime, and from now on it will be as easy as saying “Who dat undefeated? It’s not NY, Orlando, or Miami, is it?”
All we do is win, win, win no matter what!
Monty Williams post game quotes-
“It is what it is. Don’t want to make light of that but at the same time it;s nice to be part of a group who plays hard every night, Different guys are stepping up. I don’t want to sit here and babble about something that doesn’t mean anything, but I know we are a together group. The start is great, but we are going to win a lot of games if we defend like that.”
“People have said a lot of things about Emeka and I see him every day. He’s there (at the gym) an hour and a half before and an hour and a half after working on his game, working on his body. It doesn’t hurt playing with Chris. he had a big game. He’s had big games this season, but tonight was huge. Although he didn’t block shots, he was altering shots at the basket and that means a lot for our defense. You have to take him into account now. He’s scoring and rebounding the ball and that’s been big for us.”
“We’re a help team, I thought we did a good job of cutting LeBron off late, and then when a guy helped we had a guy help him. We had to help the helper and we made big rebounds at the end of the game.”
“This thing is getting whiter” -referring to his goatee.
“Over the long haul I’m going to get better at it, and it certainly helps to have the guys we do in the locker room”- on his coaching
“My focus has already shifted to Milwaukee.”
“I want the guys to celebrate, but once we land we have to shift our thought process”
Post game notes
- Paul’s nine first quarter assists tied the NBA season high
- In the last two games the Heat gave up 16 assists to New Jersey, and 14 to Minnesota. Tonight they gave up 19… to Chris Paul. That alone would have broken the record for most assists against the Heat by a team. The hornets had 26 assists total.
- The Hornets have still not allowed any opponents to score over 100 points this season.
- Paul added 5 steals, his season high.
Eric Spoelstra Quotes
“As is the case usually in the NBA, they were the more desperate team to start the game. They played with more energy, more passion. They jumped out to the lead. We couldn’t overcome it.”
“At the end of the game, however, we got there; it was a struggle to get to that point to play with a consistent energy, particularly on the defensive end. We got the lead, 90-89, and that’s the only tihng that matters. But at that point, we weren’t able to hold on.”
On CP3- “We have to give him credit. That’s what you’re dealing with. With great players, you’re going to get over a handful of possessions where he just breaks you down. Even when we’re prepared, it will be unscripted. With his creativity, quickness, and ball handling, that’s what happens: it will break you down and you simply have to make plays.”
On his players- “I’m not rating them. We had an opportunity, 90-89, to close out the game and we didn’t.”
On that note, I think that I’m going to go celebrate. Have an unBEElievable night, everyone.
ApoloBEES for the title of this post.
zwie and rest of board: You are so right on Marco's tough defense. He never loses focus and knows just when to drop off his man to bother a cutter through the lane. Good defense, like everything else, is a team effort. You have to help each other out by calling out picks and switching at the right time. The Hornets are doing that. What's cool and encouraging about this team is the balance. West has an off night, so Emeka steps up. When Ariza is down offensively, Marco steps up. Paul, of course, is consistently fantastic. Jason Smith is an incredible acquisition. Willie Green isn't hurting them. When the Hornets picked up Bayless, I warned on this board: he's not a PG. He can initiate the offense, but he does not see the floor well, doesn't imagine combinations well, doesn't pass crisply, and is not a good shooter from distance. He puts his head down and charges into the lane. He's a small Corey Maggette. That's the only problem I see so far. Bayless is not a terrible player. He's just not a point guard. Credit to Monty, Dell, and all the players. This team will compete with anybody and looks like a playoff contender. They have a richly diversified starting lineup and have been getting great play off the bench so far.
I'm at a diabetes benefit walking thing and some Hornets folks are here. My rep, Charles, came up and said hey. We chatted and my ladyfriend snapped a picture of them (i was lurking in the background). I chose to talk to Bob Licht (who has a proverbial dog in the diabetes fight) instead of the honeybees. All of them were supercool. They had the honeybees passing out bam-bams and pocket schedules and were marching with signs. I had a great talk with Bob which I'll detail when I finish this lap around Audubon Park.
also that Chicago game was a sellout as all that season. we need that in N.O. Arena: Charlotte Coliseum â–ª Attendance: 985,722 (1st of 29) topped the league in attendance for quite a good number of years back then.
I dont know if anyone else has stated this, but a lot of credit should go to MArco Belinelli. Dwyane Wade Production by Defender Belinelli Others FG-FGA 3-11 4-5 TO 5 2 Shooting Fouls 2 4 Drawn Points 9 19 *Courtesy of (http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/818/point-guards-assist-in-wins-over-heat)*
So pumped. I was so ecstatic last night. Had a great steam so I saw the whole game and what a game it was. I get a lot of crap for being a Hornets fan since in Ohio, you're either a LeBron fan, Cavs fan, or bandwagon for the NBA. I was listening to excuses about each Hornet win and was called insane when I stated they could pull this one off. "Heat are weak down low. Emeka could really shine. And if the starters are fresh and the Bugs have a hot start, they can pull it off." I was surprisingly spot on I guess. Very excited about these guys. Bayless continues to be a mess but it's early. I think he'll grow as time passes. The fast break right before half where Paul saved it and it somehow got up the floor was a moment that stuck out to me in this game. I got hyped up on that play. Expecting a slow start in Milwaukee after this emotional high. Hopefully the Bugs can lock up a sixth win. 82-0? haha, feeling good.
Woah! I can't believe I doubted CP3. I really thought they would get blowed out. Uh.. CP3 for MVP!!! This team is looking legit guys. I say we are guarenteed the playoffs if no big injuries happen.
I really enjoy reading everyone's comments. I come to Hornets247 before and after everygame! Great job Ryan, Joe and Michael! (What happened to that other dude? Neil?) I was so fired up last night. My wife was trying to study, and the boys where tearing the house apart, but I was glued to the tube yelling and cheering like I was at the Hive. This team shows us every game that it is not just a slogan--they definitely play with Passion, Purpose and Pride. I love Monty already. He has our undefeated team playing like they haven't one anything yet. This team looks like a champion. Someone Tweeted to the CST crew which was read over the broadcast: They may have the BIG 3, but we have the Big 15!
Looooong time Hornets fan here from the early 90s, also from Australia. Couldn't find a stream that wasn't choppy today (missed the damn Ariza three) but that didn't dampen my pleasure of the win. Cp3 is in permanent beast mode, we've had some great point guards over the years but he's in another stratosphere altogether. Will go down as a top 10 PG of all time when his career is over. Loving the Okafor for Chandler trade, what a steal (talent wise, hehe). Can't wait for tomorrow morning's game!
Oh and great to see other UK fans as well - I've been a fan of the franchise for over 16 years (2/3rds of my life). Muggsy made me love b-ball.
Absolutely INSANE game - the best since the game 5 win over the Spurs in 2008 (I still remember Fluffy's 38-14-5-5 line from that night). I stayed up until 3am UK time watching this, got up about an hour ago (10 am UK time), Great to see a full house at the hive - maybe it can stay that way, and not just because the so-called NWO of basketball had rolled into town. Props to Monty for acknowledging where the Heat are weak (very little post offense & defence) and credit to CP3 & especially Okafor for executing it. I admit to being an Okafor critic who pines for the old days of a healthy Tyson Chandler, but when Okafor plays as he did tonight I've no complaints. He earned his money! Ariza for 3!!!! I love the guy - he's everything I and and I'm sure many others so badly wanted Julian Wright to be. Refs gave a few too many superstar calls to make the game close, but we kept our poise and were not to be denied. Oh and that CP3 ankle break on James Jones was disgusting, and Haslem came over way too late to draw a legitimate charge - his feet was not set. *grumble* 5-0 yessssuuuurrrr!!!!
I am a Hornets newby as I am a Pops fan. Also stayed up till 3 and it was well worth it, if a little disappointed that Pops seemed to have dropped out of this rotation. what a game, I thought Heat were going to pip it as the momentum had shifted but what grit and determination Hornets showed. Get a nap this afternoon ready for another 3 am night!
@ Berlin-Hornets: I remember that game! The Bulls lost 10 games that year, and the Hornets handed them their first home loss of the season, by a single point. I think it was a Dell Curry shot that sealed it... @ Adzs-London bee: Good to see another Brit here! I've been a Hornets fan since 1991, and the amount of stick I've had to put up with from bandwagon Bulls, Rockets, Lakers etc fans has been unbelieveable... I'm still in shock over the 5-0 start. Part of me actually wants the Bees to lose, just to get that first loss out of the way. Does that make me a bad person?
"Emeka Okafor was an complete and utter beast tonight." Damn right! Probably his best game as a hornet so far. He was left out in that match-up-discussion earlier, which mostly contained just three match-ups. Okafor was outplaying the whole bunch of bigs the Heat used on his own and was also defending bosh a couple of times, too.
I just woke up 1st thing i did was check the score....i might not be american and still haven't been able to visit NO (at 16 its not yet my choice) but the pride and happiness im experiencing right now is second to none; for so long (going on 5 years) i've suffered at the hands of my friends 'why support them they're rubbish?' 'Your teams failing again' bla bla bla but my support has never wavered so young season or not, im going to milk and enjoy this start for all its worth....now off to basketball against many overnight heat fans in my hornets gear :D
That was just awesome. It reminded (at least from the feeling) of a game of the (then) Charlotte Hornets against the Chicago Bulls in the 1995-1996 season. The Bulls only lost 12 games, but one was against the Hornets led by Kenny Anderson (damn I am old to be able to actually remember this). I dont think the Heat will lose only 12 games, but they will still win a lot. Geaux Hornets!!!
76 Mon, Apr 8, 1996 @ Chicago Bulls W 98 97 Yup, that was awesome, i remember it as well, the 76 denotes the number of the game, so it was waaaay better, they were 66-9 at the moment and only lost one more game against indiana at game #81. That Hornet team got some of my favourite players of all time, Matt Geiger, Dell Curry, LJ, Rice, an extremly old but lovable Parrish, awesome. Also my most hated player all time, ever, always, till i die, in Jiri Zidek. for those old fans here goes the Boxscore of that game for the love of melancoly: http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199604080CHI.html Lets sweep Milwaukee now!! SPEAR THE DEER!!
Oh yes. I remember this. My earliest, legitimate memory as a Hornets fan. At the time my mom's fiance worked 3rd shift so we'd always watch SportsCenter after school. He'd record the 11AM showing and we'd watch that. I remember seeing that highlight reel and being so excited. One of ten losses for those Bulls. Good times.
bra dis game was a beast, wen cp3 crossed ova jones, i was like...... =D Daaaaaaamnnnnn! u just got shook son!!! then they waived it off and my mama said sum obscene words(die hard hornets fan). ill say this... even tho it looks like emeka doesnt try all da time and lets 6 ft 1 guys take rebounds from him, he played his best game tonight and impressed me tremendously.that being said, i hated when we traded songaila but now i see we got a better songaila than he cud ever be in JASON SMITH- now known as J-SMITH. Geaux Hornets!
I've been following this site for a while now. Love all of the blogs and the site really allows me to stay caught up on all things relating to the Hornets. I don't catch any of the games on TV so it can be hard to keep up. I attended my first game ever tonight, well yesterday I suppose, against the Heat. All before the game and during the game I was telling the people I was with that they had the game. I had 100% confidence in my Bee's and they stayed strong and didn't let up. They truly looked like Hornets out there. They were fierce and never stopped attacking the Heat. What an amazing game to attend for the first time. Will be back at the Arena next weekend against Portland for my second game. Loving the atmosphere there. Just, awesome.
Sadly I was working while this game was on, does anyone happen to have a torrent of the game? id LOVE to see this, geaux hornets!
HAHA that is fanhood! It is obvious that our team is playing harder than the other team every night. I'm hoping we can keep up the energy and confidence and I'm thinking we will. Our motivation will turn from wanting to prove ourselves to wanting to win a championship.
Best game in the last two seasons, by far! The hive was electric! I'm so pumped about going 5-0, that I came home and bought a plane ticket from NOLA to Milwaukee to see the game tomorrow and watch us go 6-0!! Call me crazy, but I'll be there with my "buckets" jersey on!
Damn, i wish i could do that, but its a long trip from Argentina. Ã§did it once while the team was in Charlotte and im planing going to NOLA in 2011, guess ill try to go to the season opener in 2011. Damn, still a year for another live game...
awesome! i wish i can watch Hornets games live( much less live streaming, but oh well. Gotta settle with ESPN gamecast)
great game... paul came up big in the clutch again this time on the defensive end. all these close games are great to watch but killing me inside!
A good Monty near-quote, about Trevor taking threes: He threw one to Slidell, I don't know what he was doing, then came back and gave us the big 3 to go up 4 and that says a lot about him. Monty said Slidell. Good job, Monty, getting your keester around the lake. If he'd said Chalmette, I'd've declared him a local then and there and passed him the Hubig's.
If you get to re-watch the crossovers on Jones in slow motion, you can almost imagine the Mike Tyson left hook that sent him to the ground. I backed that up and replayed that like 20 times laughing with tears in my eyes. So sick. Also, I envision Mbenga trying his fatality move on the backboard every time he shoots the ball. I thought you couldn't take your frustrations out on the goal apparatus without getting a tech. MBENGAAAAAA! <- said like Wards Clever
Not going to lie, I NEVER expected this. I'm utterly impressed. I wish I could have watched it, but it sounds like we're hungry. If we can keep this motivation throughout the season, it'll be fun watching how far we can go.
What also stands out- Lebron played 41 minutes, Wade played 40, and Bosh played 33. LeBron and Wade played for most of the game and they still lost, while Paul played 36, West 28, and Okafor 34. This strikes me as impressive! Maybe I'm looking too much into it? Eh. I'm hyped up!