Game On: Cavaliers @ Hornets (Updated with Monty and Byron Quotes)

Published: November 19, 2010

Expect the Hive to be buzzing tonight as the 9-1 Hornets welcome back the coach of their most successful team in franchise history (well… before this year) to New Orleans. Say what you say about the guys in game adjustments, infrequent use of timeouts, and stoic sideline demeanor- he did have a magical season in 07-08 that no Hornet fan will ever forget. For that (and perhaps that alone), I say we do the classy thing and offer a little golfers clap laced with a slightly condescending undertone if his OKC or LA comments got under your skin.

As for the game itself, we can rest assured that nearly everyone in the building will be there to see the Hornets. In case you haven’t heard yet, due to a relative lack of coverage in my opinion, the so-called King left Cleveland and took his talents elsewhere. Surprisingly, the Cavaliers have responded by playing some pretty good basketball despite their general lack of talent. This group plays hard for Coach Scott and gets by offensively with a relatively balanced scoring attack.

Where the Hornets have the potential to dominate this game is on the glass, as Cleveland comes into this game ranked 28th in the league in rebounding. Anderson Varejao is an elite level hustle guy who can be a menace on the boards, but other than him Cleveland doesn’t really have a physical presence. If the Hornets are successful in limiting 2nd chance points for Cleveland, it is very possible that this game could be a blowout.

As for the Matchups:

Point Guard

Daniel Gibson/Ramon Sessions vs. Chris Paul

It is possible that Mo Williams might be back tonight, but even if he is good to go, Gibson and Sessions will probably get plenty of time. A forgotten man the past year or two, Gibson has probably benefitted the most from the departure of James and the arrival of Scott. He has more than doubled his shots per game and his PPG this season, while more than tripling his APG. With all that said, this might be the biggest mismatch we have seen all year with the possible exception of the Clippers sticking rookie Eric Bledsoe on CP3.

Advantage: Hornets

Shooting Guard

Anthony Parker vs. Marco Belienlli

Parker is the only Cav in the rotation who does not register a PER in the double digits. He is one of the 3 or 4 worst starting two guards in the league and in all honesty, he is probably better suited for a back-up role where he gets half the minutes he sees in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Belly has been heating up as of late from deep and has been a revelation on the defensive end. Expect him to eat Parker’s lunch tonight, cookies and all.

Advantage: Hornets

Small Forward

Jamario Moon vs. Trevor Ariza

6 foot 8, 200 pounds. Lanky and athletic wing player who can fill the lane and prides himself on defense. Both Ariza and Moon fit the profile, however Ariza offers a better blend of skills and the ability to knock down shots from deep.

Advantage: Hornets

Power Forward

JJ Hickson vs. David West

Last year when the Cavaliers were looking for a PF to put next to James, David West’s name came up and the key piece supposed to come back (along with cap relief) was JJ Hickson. In the end, Cleveland didn’t want to part with Hickson (even for Amare) and Hornets management decided to keep West. Tonight the two face off in what should be the best battle of the night. Hickson is more athletically gifted, but from people I have talked to in the league, the inside scoop is that the guy doesn’t have the highest IQ in the world. Because of this, he has been getting the Byron Scott treatment in the media and could be the Cavs JR Smith. Scott will continue to take jabs that will turn into uppercuts and soon enough he will break his confidence and sit him in favor of some washed up has been. For tonight, though, expect Hickson’s length and quickness to give West some trouble. I think Monty will counter by putting David in the post and having him outwork the young guy.

Advantage: Hornets (by slight margin)


Anderson Varejao vs. Emeka Okafor

Varejao will be flopping around all night, so don’t be surprised if Okafor picks up some early fouls and is wearing that confused scowl that he likes to sport after a call goes against him. Skill wise, Okafor has the advantage here but there are few players with the heart and tenacity Varejao brings on a nightly basis.

Advantage: Push


The Cavs have plenty of offensive firepower coming off the bench in Antawn Jamison, Boobie Gibson, Ramon Sessions, and even Ryan Hollins who is averaging more than a point per 2 mins. The Hornets counter with the steadiness of Willie Green and Jason Smith combined with the inconsistent efforts of the rest of the Pine Riders. It’s possible Peja plays 25 minutes, and it’s possible he will be inactive. It’s possible Bayless can play like a stud against a bad team like he did against the Clippers and it is possible he can turn the ball over like Brett Favre all night. You really just don’t know what you will get from the Hornets bench outside of the two ex-76ers.

Advantage: Cavs

Vegas Zone

Hornets are 9 point favorites going into this game, which is a huge difference considering that they were 7 point underdogs the last time these two met just 8 months ago. Bet Byron looks to the home bench and wishes he would have spent more time in the office and less on the golf course, huh?

Hornets are 8-1-1 against the spread this year and have gone over the projected total points the last 3 games after going under in six of their first seven. It is safe to say that Vegas is still trying to figure out these Hornets and in the meantime, there is some money to be made.

The over/under for tonight is 192.5. I would actually take the under and take the Hornets -9. I have a hard time seeing where Cleveland gets their offense from and I think the pace of the game will be slow considering who the two head coaches are. Let’s say Hornets 99 Cavs 83.

Mr. Hollinger

I know most can’t stand the guy and his opinions, but Johnny Boy actually gives us some love in his playoff odds. In addition to giving the Hornets a 99.5% chance of making the playoffs, he lists the Hornets as the 3rd most likely team to win the title as of today.

Pre-Game/ In- Game

Monty’s Pre-Game

* Said that there is no way the Hornets will look past the Cavs and that they are not thinking about the upcoming road trip. There is a singular focus- beating Cleveland tonight.

* Isn’t worried about Cleveland “playing for Coach Scott”. He said that he expects the same out of his guys each and every night and if they play their game, it doesn’t really matter what the other team does. He also made it a point to say that he didn’t ask the team to play any different for him when they went against Portland or San Antonio- every opponent deserves the same amount of respect and focus.

* I asked him if we can expect to see a lot of the “switch everything” defensive approach that we saw in the last few minutes of the Dallas game. He said he wasn’t a big believer in that philosophy until he got to Portland and Nate reminded him about how those old Sonics teams would give teams fits with that style. He doesn’t see it as a “gimmic”; instead, it’s just something different to throw at times to give them something else to think about.

* Says he sees a lot of similarities between what Byron did with his offensive sets here and what they do in Cleveland. (And I see a lot of similarities between Batman 1 and Batman 2, but one had Jack Nicholson as the villain and the other had Danny Devito. Point is, Scott can try the same stuff, but Mo Williams and Sessions aint gonna give him the results CP3 will)

Mr. Byron Scott

* Has fond memories of his time here and is proud of everything they accomplished. Specifically listed CP3, Chandler, and ‘Sual as his favorites.

* Said he gave CP3 the “keys to the car” after his first season and CP3 made him look good.

* Doesn’t think CP3 is bothered by people saying he is no longer the top PG in the league and he will just use that as motivation.

* Likes where he is in Cleveland, and thinks it was a great opportunity with or without LeBron. Says they have a game plan moving forward and they have the full support of management.

* Spent 10 minutes chatting with Peja in the hallway. (Hey Coach Scott, if you love him so much, how ’bout you give us Andy V and some cap filler for him!!)


  1. jtshoopsblog

    November 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Wanna take a risk Cavs? Why don’t u try to pick up Greg Oden off waivers, because I’m sure he will be there sooner or later.

  2. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    For Monty: Aaron Gray is the only Hornet to not play for a second in the regular season. Why is that and do you see him being activated in the next 2 weeks?

    For Byron: With the Nets and Hornets you had a top notch point guard to run your offense. How is the instability at the point affecting your coaching and game prep?

    • downtowndave

      November 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm

      Yes, I would love to hear the opinions of the mighty duo regarding Aaron Gray- I second that question!

  3. Juncti

    November 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    If Hickson winds up in the Scott doghouse, any chance of picking him up cheap in a firesale? lol

    Would be nice to be on the opposite side of one of these Scott moves for a change.

  4. Ryan Schwan

    November 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Byron Scott loves old veteran shooting guards with no athletic gifts. Read: Anthony Parker, Morris Peterson, Kerry Kittles(post knee surgery).

    Maybe it’s an identification thing. He still feels like he’s just an old Shooting Guard.

  5. Icebird

    November 19, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Obligatory Marcus Thornton question for Monty: What sort of coaching is Marcus getting to bring him up to speed defensively with the rest of the bench? What areas does he most have to work on?

  6. Kibner

    November 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I wonder if it would be a good idea to get Thornton some playing time in the D-League and task him with improving his team defense awareness and leadership (by getting the rest of the guys on his team to also focus on team defense). Everyone knows he can play offense, so the playing time in the D-League might be beneficial since there is very little time for practice on the main team during the season.

  7. Schmide234

    November 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    This has relevance what so ever, but it think that the announcement system should incorporate the phrase “do a barrel role!!!” into the in game antics. every one loves a star fox reference and we could play it as the opposing team crashes and dies…

    hahahhaha sorry im really tired

  8. HiMyNameisSteven

    November 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    marcus inactive again? i think this game will be a blowout and we might actually be able to play alot of bench…. id love to see him give marcus a chance

  9. JCS

    November 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Something tells me this thread is going to be riddled w/trollish commentary. All the Byron Scott haters are going to take low-blows that might have been relevant 3 summers ago, and all the Marcus Thorton stans are going to threaten to burn their own clothing if Marcus doesn’t get playing time. Game on.

  10. Jake

    November 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I’ll be there making noise. Everyone swing by the beer garden outside!

  11. bob_loblaw

    November 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

  12. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    It’s one of the nights where I don’t have the tickets.

    Can’t decide on streaming or radio and the sweet sounds of V. And K.

    This 65 game thing sucks. Of course, it sucks worse seeing 0.

    The Clippers game Sunday says it’ll be on NBATV. Will it be blacked out locally or will be have it?

  13. JCS

    November 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm


    Why do people hate Hollinger? He has graced the world of sports with greatest stats ever, PER!

  14. Michael McNamara

    November 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Hornets fans tend to think he writes a lot of anti- New Orleans articles and has a negative slant on the Hornets. I’ve met him a couple of times and really he is just a big nerd ( I mean that as a compliment) and he is fairly objective.

    • JCS

      November 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      Well, it would take more than that to bother me. I follow him on twitter and I’ve got his PER ratings as bookmark on my browser. Hollinger is okay in my book.

  15. Michael McNamara

    November 19, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Hornets going to West in the post as predicted- I love Monty, he really understands the game and concentrates on exploiting weaknesses. Hickson is just not a good low post defender at this point.

    • JCS

      November 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      He’s better than Floppyjao!

  16. robert

    November 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    why isnt this game televised locally

  17. peronas

    November 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Pondexter sighting!

  18. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Gray active, Pops and Thornton inactive?

    If that’s correct, I guess that answers the Gray question.

  19. JCS

    November 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    So Scott is going to double-team, switch, and force CP to one side of the court and he’ll play Jamison as a 6th man to breakdown are second unit, which in turn will cause our starters to play more.

  20. Schmide234

    November 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Wats with these damn Cavs announcers?? theyre like passive aggressive and like, “theyre hitting everything, they shuldnt be up by so much”


  21. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    All Hornets starters are playing typical minutes thus far, and being up by ~20 would tend to skew their minutes to the low side going forward if they maintain.

    We shouldn’t be up by so much against this team, but the Cavs got out-played and out-coached thus far. Mo Williams has 6 points and 2 assists in his first 18 minutes, on 2 of 7 with 2 shots at the line and 0 of 2 from 3 . . . he isn’t the guy to play. Just an example. And the adjustments Scott made just haven’t taken hold; we just played through their run to open the third. Just another example.

  22. peronas

    November 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Ariza wow! just wow! Love the hustle!!!

  23. JCS

    November 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Just like I said last season, we should have traded Gray for Hollins. A player with his size and coordination, could be developed into a stud no question.

  24. HiMyNameisSteven

    November 19, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    @jcs- hollins a stud no question? hahahahahhaha thats hilarious

  25. JCS

    November 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    “….could be developed into a stud no question.”

    • HiMyNameisSteven

      November 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      still very funny there is no chance… ive seen him since college at ucla and there is NO CHANCE

      • JCS

        November 20, 2010 at 2:58 am

        You played at USC dude. Of course you don’t like Ryan Hollins. Matter fact, you probably think Lil’ Romeo is better than Darren Collison!

  26. HiMyNameisSteven

    November 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    you know what would be nice though… a back up guard who could actually hit the open corner 3… wait we have one he doesnt play. This game would of been over in the third instead we are hovering around 12-15 point lead against a bad team put them away

  27. JCS

    November 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Dude, how much longer are you going to keep complaining about this? Why don’t you MT5 stans write a letter to Monty and see what happens then?

    • HiMyNameisSteven

      November 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      gunna keep complaining until we blow out teams that we should like tonight since coach isnt making all the right moves obviously… we are lucky david west is bailing us out

      • JCS

        November 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

        That and Player-Coach-Champion Byron Scott knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s the first to break our 100 seal, yet haters on H247 will never give him the respect he deserves.

  28. HiMyNameisSteven

    November 19, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    @michael- good thing you didnt go to vegas

  29. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Good game to listen to.

    Damned fouls kept them in and got them over 100. There’s nothing magic about 100; it’s only special since we have 10 digits on our hands . . . evolutionary coincidence.

    Good thing Byron isn’t quite the coach Monty is. I like the guy, but he doesn’t have it. He was in the right place at the right time (Showtime) and did well as a player, but I don’t think he has the touch. Being a great coach is hard. There have really only been 3, and Byron played for one of them and gets a little of that greatness wrongly attributed to him.

  30. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Hmmm, where are all those swipes at Byron? And what about the cat-calls for Marcus?

    I guess that was just really, really off-base. I guess the hornets247 community isn’t quite as low class as they are made out to be by some folks who are poor judges of character and poorer sports generally.

    Stay classy, hornets247.

  31. HiMyNameisSteven

    November 19, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    @420- i think byron is a good coach… the problem is his attitude and being so passive only works for certain teams. It was good that year he won coach of year because he had vocal leaders in tyson and d west when he was fierce, and of course paul. But once tyson left we didnt have that big time communicator and byrons coaching style no longer fit the team well. I dont think he is a great fit for this cavs team but if they can get some fierce guys more like varajao then he could be nice

    • 42

      November 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      I agree with you. I just think his faults are such that he’ll fail to achieve greatness on that front. What you mentioned is one of them. Inability to develop role players seems to be another.

      As I said, I like the guy and wish him the best in 80 regular season games. I just don’t predict he’ll live up to what I wish for him.

  32. 42

    November 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    14,755 tonight . . . against Harry Potter . . .

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