Hornets Defeat Blazers to Move to 8-0

Published: November 13, 2010

It wasn’t the prettiest game of the season, but the Hornets won again to get their record to an NBA best 8-0. LaMarcus Aldridge was off all night, Brandon Roy only played 20 minutes due to a knee injury, and the Blazers as a whole just seemed fatigued, yet the Hornets just could not find a way to pull away until late in the fourth quarter. A couple of late threes by Belinelli, however, closed the door on any hopes the Blazers had for a comeback as the Hornets won 107-87. (box)

Seven Hornets scored in double figures, including Peja Stojakovic who had not played since the second game of the season. All of Peja’s shot attempts came from deep, as he finished with 11 points on 3 for 7 shooting.  David West and Marco Belinelli led all scorers with 18 and Emeka Okafor went for 14 and 12 in another impressive showing for the often criticized center.

Portland received uneven contributions throughout the night from their key players. Nicolas Batum was MIA in the first half, scoring zero points, but then came out like gangbusters in the second half and scored 16. Andre Miller was exactly the opposite, as he did almost all of his damage in the first half but was nowhere to be found when Portland really needed him. LaMarcus Aldridge was the only consistent Blazer- consistently bad- as he went 4 of 14 and only pulled down 5 rebounds despite being taller and longer than any Hornet he was facing.

Notes and Observations

**Jason Smith made the play of the game early in the 4th quarter. With the Hornets up 7 and struggling for offense, Smith chased down an airball and tossed it to a cutting Willie Green who hit got fouled and hit the layup. Possible 5 or 6 point swing, plus it got the crowd back into the game. Huge play.

**Marcus Thornton was inactive for the game. Monty activated Peja for the game, whom he used primarily at power forward in small ball lineups. Obviously Peja was a good move, but wouldn’t have Marcus done better against the Portland zone than Q-Pon?

**Willie Green made some big shots. In addition to the three-point play mentioned earlier, Green hit a runner at the end of the third quarter buzzer to put Hornets up by 9 and hit another tough shot in the 4th quarter as the shot clock expired.

**The Hornets zone defense was extremely effective in getting Portland to take bad shots, however Portland owned the glass whenever the Hornets played zone. Those hoping the Hornets can play zone against the Lakers are mistaken.

**I like Bayless and still think he will prove to be a good acquisition (especially if the pick is in the 25-28 range), but I can see why Portland traded him. Armon Johnson is impressive and could be a long term answer for Portland at PG. Physically he looks like Terrell Owens and he plays the game with a tenacity of a young Derek Fisher.

**Trevor Ariza just loses focus at times during the game; plain and simple. He started off the game well against Brandon Roy and can lock guys down when he is locked in, but he just seems disinterested at times in games. Monty seemed to notice as well, going with Willie Green when the game was still in question in the 4th quarter.

**Yes Jerryd Bayless can only go right and he turns the ball over too much, but he does do some things well. I am most impressed by his defensive rebounding in the lane. On that second unit, that is huge. At times the Hornets had Peja at the 4 and J Smitty at the 5, so they needed all the help they could get in the lane and Bayless provided that. His 3 rebounds might not look like much on the stat sheet, but they all came in that 2nd quarter when the Hornets were playing small ball.

**No Hornet played more than 33 minutes. The days of CP3 and West playing 40+ minutes a game are gone. Monty does not panic when other teams go on small runs against the bench, he trusts his guys and that does so much for players’ confidence. Byron Scott killed the confidence of guys with his rotations but Monty knows he will need each and every player on this roster at some point.

**Brandon Roy left the game for good as he re-injured his left knee. I was told by a friend in the NBA that everyone in the league knows Roy will never be 100% and the Blazers have secretly been putting out feelers for B. Roy. I don’t blame them, especially considering Batum’s potential. Between Roy’s knee, Oden’s injury history, Fernandez desire to go back to Spain, and Aldridge’s mental and physical softness, I just don’t know what I would do if I was GM of this team.

**Last, but not least, I am sick of CP3 getting treated like a 3rd string point guard when it comes to the way officials treat him. I hate the idea of “star calls” more than anybody, but if they are part of the NBA, then they are part of the NBA. Yet CP3 just doesnt get the respect he deserves, and on top of it, now he is getting T’ed up because he is voicing his displeasure with their horrible calls. You all know me, I am far from a “homer”- I try to be as objective as possible, but on this issue I can not hold my tongue. Paul gets hacked on a play; no call. Next possession Armon Johnson gets bumped and the whistle is blown immediately. Really? Really? No….. Really?

**Hornets look to go 9-0 against Dallas on Monday in the first game of a home and home series.


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