Published: November 27, 2010
The Hornets got back to their winning ways tonight as they delivered a nutshot to the MASH unit masquerading as the Portland Trailblazers.Â Oh wait, that was Brandon Roy delivering the nutshot to teammateÂ Rudy Fernandez midway through the game while going for a loose ball.Â It looked pretty ugly.
Regardless, that play was the rest of the game in microcosm.Â Sean Marks went down with an ankle sprain, Rudy went out withÂ his “pelvic bone contusion” and Wesley Matthews missed some time after cracking his head on his own teammates knee.Â Sheesh.Â TheÂ result was a 97-78(Box Score)Â blowout over the Blazers.
The game didn’t open going all Hornets though.Â Roy was nailing long bombs and Aldridge was sinking uncontested mid-range jumpers, putting the Trailblazers up quickly.Â Then, the Hornets defense tightened up, West started nudging Aldridge, then bumping him, and suddenlyÂ Aldridge was ineffective except the one time West got a little tooÂ muscle-y with him andÂ Aldridge spun for an alley-oop.Â Â HisÂ inability to handle West’s physicallityÂ left Roy alone trying to carry the load. He’s good, but not that good.
For the first time all season, a Hornets game was probably decided entirely on the glass as the Hornets out-rebounded the desperately undersized Blazers 48 to 27.Â
The Trailblazers shifted Batum onto Paul for the second half, thinking that might disrupt the Hornets’ offense.Â It did getÂ the HornetsÂ into their offense a little later as Paul had to fight to get the ball, but then the Blazers experienced the truth about the Hornets Point Guard.Â He’s not looking to score.Â 6 shots for the game from the opposing team’s superstar?Â That’s got to be confusing. So the best Trailblazer defender was tracking Paul, and Paul simply dribbled until the Blazers sent the double team – which happened constantly – and then found the open guy and they scored.Â Or got fouled as the Blazers tried to catch up.
Paul scored 16 points on 6 shots.Â He had a +27 for the game, and you felt it when he played.Â He controlled that entire game.
Willie didn’t spend a minute at the point this game, getting all his time next to Jack and Paul, putting the “shoot” in shooting guard.Â And shoot, shoot, shoot he did.Â And he made them.Â Over and over.Â 19 points on 11 shots.Â He jot open shots, he got out on the break, and he got to the elbow and drilled his favorite fade.Â He was effective.Â Still, don’t go looking for anything else from him in the boxscore.Â 29 minutes, zero rebounds, zero assists.Â Some might be grumpy about his defense on Roy, but he worked hard to limit the Blazer’s star, and he did a decent job.
- The rebounding game was a collective effort tonight, as all the starters contributed – even rebound-adverse Belinelli who grabbed four.Â Smith and Marcus Thornton cleaned the glass for the Hornets
- Thornton played 10 minutes, and they were okay.Â He did have two defensive screw-ups right away, but to Monty’s credit he didn’t pull him immediately.Â Thornton played through, and though he didn’t hit his shots, he played well enough.
- Smith, on the other hand, wasn’t getting free for his jumper as much, and watching him dribble was wince-inducing.Â It didn’t matter though, as he impacted the game on the boards, outmuscling the small Blazers lineup and coming up with his usual trio of hustle plays.
- Batum isn’t much of a ball-handler.Â The Portland announcers kept saying how he should easily be able to take Belinelli or Willie Green into the post, or drive on them and hit shots over them, but he didn’t look comfortable dribbling around guards, giving up the ball when they went into defensive crouches.Â For now, Batum is a superior defender, and a corner three shooter.
- West was happy to float this game, making Aldridge take fadeaways, and drill his own shots when they were wide open.Â He even tossed in a three-pointer at the end of the game when the time was clicking down, just for giggles.
- Okafor was good on the offensive glass, but he makes me so frustrated.Â Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie had a great line about how the Hornets traded Chandler’s alley-oop dunks for Okafor’s “power layups”.Â I’m starting to question the “power” part.
- Sean Marks played well.Â In fact, while he was in, he was playing Okafor to a standstill.Â I might have just been too generous to Okafor.
- Jack was trying to do too much.Â He already seems to have a connection to Willie Green though.Â Expect more shootin’ from Willie.
Have a good night!