The Thunder beat the Hornets

By:
Published: November 29, 2010

The Hornets are starting to perfect the art of the late collapse, getting outscored in the fourth and losing to the Thunder 95-89(Box Score).  The Hornets gave up their lead through a series of turnovers, poor execution, and repeated attempts to take advantage of one player in the fourth who didn’t have it going or even really have an advantage.  That player, of course, was:

David West

He punished the hell out of Jeff Green all game long.  7 of his made shots were against Green.  The problem was, with the game on the line, Green wasn’t guarding West.  It was Kevin Durant, who is smarter, more athletic, and exactly the sort of player that has always given West problems – long and light on their feet.  West’s biggest nemesis in the game is Lamar Odom.  Durant isn’t that much different than him physically.  So the Hornets force fed West five out of six posessions over a crucial four  minutes from 5:00 to 1:00, and he got exactly no points.  The score went from 81-75 in the Hornets favor to 81-88 against.  He then went out after being hit in the eye, and the Hornets relied on Paul to initiate the offense and scored 6 quick points.  What was worse about the misses was the Hornets had cleared entire sides for West isolations so the entire team was loaded up on one side of the floor.  No one was therefore in position to go for offensive rebounds on half of the court – and the rest were all near the perimeter.  When West missed, the Thunder snatched up the ball and jammed it down the Hornets throat in transition, drawing foul after foul.

That leads me to:

Monty Williams

Dear Coach Williams,

West is moderately efficient as a scorer, but he is not brilliant.  Paul is a brilliant scorer and distributor.  Crunch time should be Chris Paul time, not David West time.  Actually, let me change that.  It can be David West time, but ONLY when he’s shooting after Chris Paul has broken down the defense.  The ball needs to start in Paul’s hands.  It can end wherever, but Paul needs to be creating the shot.

Thanks.  Great job so far, by the way.

Other Observations:

  • Paul was brilliant for most of the game, controlling everything, and for a long time, keeping Westbrook under control until he was able to get in transition against the Hornets late in the fourth.
  • The second unit struggled tremendously outside of Quincy Pondexter.  Jason Smith couldn’t hit anything, and Willie and Jack could get nothing within ten feet of the basket.  I said in the game preview we might have to suffer through some runs by the bench, and we did.  Jack was -11 for the game, Mbenga -12, and Green -4.
  • Ariza was brilliant defensively during the game.  Durant did most of his damage on a switch, when he was guarded by Green, of when Collison was setting a deadly series of screens for him.  Ariza made nothing easy for Durant, and I’m comfortable with him drawing that assignment any day of the week.
  • Okafor had a fantastic game rolling to the hoop and finishing inside.  I could have done with less Smith and Mbenga, and more than 31 minutes of Okafor.
  • Belinelli only shot one shot tonight with his feet set.  He kept fumbling the ball and shuffling before shooting.  He even got the ball on open shots twice and chose to dribble briefly, shuffle and semi-fade from a none-to-aggressive defender.  Predictably, he shot poorly.
  • Does anyone know why the Box Score says we have Joe Alexander on the team?
  • In the first half, the Hornets had a brilliant play going where they kept attacking the Thunder defense from sideline, generating open layups and lanes for Paul to get to the middle.  Strangely, they ran it at all in the second half.  It needed more play.

So the Hornets lose.  They are now 4-5 since their 8 game winning streak.  Let’s hope they can feast on Charlotte and New York over the coming two games.  They need some wins.  Go listen to the podcast, and scoff at me when I say the Thunder don’t scare me.

Though they still don’t.  So there!

95 comments
James Online
James Online

Willie Green is miles beyond Marcus Thornton. It's not even an issue.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Question....if this team's management is about the future like they say, why is Willie Green the 1st SG off the bench, instead of the younger more upside MT5? Do you all see Willie Green at 29 being on this team after this year? I understand Green has been more productive than MT5 this season, but where does an organization draw the line on these type of things? Just curious...

42
42

One possible explanation is 'redshirting' him while he grows defensively.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Looks like we caught a break for the game Wednesday! Stephen Jackson has been suspended. YESSSSSSSSS! Lmao!

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

should have played marcus in this game would of had an easy matchup with harden the exact player he can dominate

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

Like most, I'm disappointed by the loss. My one observation is that we seem to be soft around the rim. Whether we're going for a layup or we're trying to tip a rebound back in, or we're taking a rebound back up to the hoop, we go up too soft. When we do that against teams that have aggressive bigs down low, we get our shots blocked left and right. We saw that happen to D West, CP3 on that fast break layup, and MEK (I think). When we're close in, cleaning up a rebound, and things are getting scrappy, we need to take the ball to the rim HARD. It doesn't have to be a dunk (though that would make me happy), but hard enough to the rim to make anyone trying to block the shot more likely to foul us. BTW -- how amazing was that Jack pass to Smith for the slam!? LOVED IT!

Go Blue
Go Blue

That pass to J Smith for the alley hoop was the best moment of the game for me. The look on J Smith face was priceless. lol

BrickCity
BrickCity

One can now see why Bower played Songaila so many 4th qrter minutes last year: When defenses turn up the heat at the end of games, we need another shooter on the court, esp considering that the lack of offensive firepower in Ariza & Okafor. Maybe Andersen can help here (in place of Okafor) hitting mid-range jump shots. The other option is to make Green a starter (essentially benching Belinelli) and use Marcus for what he is -- a 6th man, who then can be used as needed to add firepower in the 4th qrtr.

Jerry M
Jerry M

This is the second game in a row we got out coached! I kept yelling at the TV to stop giving the ball to David West at the end. It clearly wasn't working and yet we kept going back to him. I hope Monty is learning from his mistakes and will be prepared come playoff time!

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

One thing that has been difficult is that we've played something like 6 games in 9 days, with a lot of them on the road (and Thanksgiving in the middle of it all). One thing to keep in mind is that we have 2 new players (Banks doesn't count, though where can I sign up for the gig he's got!?) who came in on a road trip. We haven't had much practice time, and it can't be easy trying to watch film on a plane or on a bus and learn from it. I suspect that there will be more "learning" from these last two games now that we're back home and don't have such a grueling schedule.

brazilian hornet
brazilian hornet

If this team lose to the Bobcats at New Orleans, I will come to the conclusion that our start was totally misleading and that we will have a hard and frustrating season ahead. Losing to the Clippers (without Chris Kaman and Baron Davis) has been a stab in our hearts. We need wins. Please, players ... We do not want to suffer another disappointment. We can not lose to the Charlotte Bobcats!

edbballin504
edbballin504

I disagree BH. Its clear we have something going that works. Versus SAS we were up 17 at half, and last night we looked in control all game. The question is how do we stay focused for 48 minutes...not 24 or 36. We also have to decide on what's our gameplan when we need buckets down the stretch. Right now we have D West as our go to guy in crutial moments of the game, but that hasnt been working for us. I think the regular season is to figure these things out, esp for a first year coach and a team full of new players. As long as we make the playoffs we should see a good effort and results, esp in Round 1. Other teams thats been together for years like the Lakers or Spurs, they can go through the regular season with success because they all are on the same page and understand everything the coaching staff wants to do. For a team like us, some nights we will get it and others we will fall short. Its all in the game, and the plan is that over time we will be more consistent.

Ian
Ian

42 u make a great point about the road trip and the fact that Peja wasn't used during the winning streak but the truth is there is absolutely no one on that 2nd unit that spaces the floor. If Jason Smith isn't hitting his 17-19 footer that unit is in trouble. Willie Green shot selection is hit or miss, Mbenga is offensively challenged, and Jack is feeling his way out n not as explosive to the goal as Bayless. I'm not the biggest Bayless fan but I haven't seen Jack do much to separate himself at this point. Peja gave u an option that's all, and if Marco was to go down there isn't anyone else on the roster who is pure shooter.

42
42

You are right about the spacing issue, but I think we'll see that improve in the next two weeks due to rest, practice, and developing new schemes. Please excuse our progress...

edbballin504
edbballin504

Give Jack some time. He hasnt really been able to practice much with the team to learn the offense and his teammates. I'd trust Jack anyday over Bayless when CP3 takes a seat, especially come playoff time. I thought Jack did a decent job last night of setting up his teammates, esp that lob pass to Smith. Jack is a solid PG, he just hasnt had the prep time yet to be effective here. Give him a few more weeks.

42
42

Dreaming up practice time now? Really, I'm not even looking at the 'fit' of Jack until next week for all the reasons described in this post. Someone I trust last year said about Jack last year (I think): "He's good." I take that seriously.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

In every game there will be missed calls. In every Hornets game home or away we can expect that the Hornets will no get "star treatment" or "Home town " calls. So when the match up is with someone with there own Shoe-line, gatorade commercial, or top selling Fathead we can expect a somewhat skewed officiating. Thats the NBA. An official had to get caught betting on games before anyone would concede that officials ever had any bias, its all fixed now right? Right?! Still regardless of officiating, the Hornets have to go out and play the game. Clear out isolation for David West does not an offense make. I've made this point time and again last year and Bower didnt listen and now Monty isnt listening! (Heh I know...bear with me.) 1on 1 isolations and 2 man basket ball need to have movement of the remaining players to keep the defenders from collapsing on the play and prevent them from resting while on D. Watch the last possession of first half, movement without the ball created and easy layup. Sure maybe you dont want to reveal you whole bag of tricks but even if you do adding wrinkles is the chess match of coaching. If on a West isolation a double screen off ball frees up Belinelli at the 3 point line it at least makes the opponents work on D. In the board game of "Go" there is a concept called "getting heavy" essentially it is committing oneself to a strategy or tactic that isnt flexible, limiting your own options. This is what is happening to the Hornets. When the Hornets isolate David West, the rest of the team becomes almost spectators. No movement without the ball, no options present themselves for David to do anything but try to go One on One on his defender. Maybe he can beat him, maybe not. Over the long run West will do fairly well. Still West's skill set contains decent passing skills and to eliminate that as option without making the defenders expend any effort is conceding some part of the game and in a game of small margins that can have huge impacts on results.

42
42

Do you think we "have two eyes?"

42
42

Agreed.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

42: We enough eye space but there is plenty of Aji still.

edbballin504
edbballin504

I think Monty is afraid to show too much against these Western Conf playoff teams. Maybe he feels if he lets the cat out the bag now, then when he wants to play his true cards in a playoff series against these teams, that they will be expecting it. Lets see what we do down the stretch against these East teams that come to town this week.

usufruct
usufruct

These losses are starting to remind me of losses in years past. Basically, when the other team decides to get physical, we get flustered, have a melt down, then we lose. Soft maybe? Just my observation. Oh, I forgot to mention this in the spurs game thread, but did anyone notice Okafor's awesome pump-fake? Worked like a charm. Made the shot and drew the foul.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Dear Mr. Demps, I have watched almost all the games this season...both live as a STH and on tv when they are away. I like the direction of this team and I think we are solid. We have a good identity (defense) and a great MVP type player in CP3 with a nice complement in D West. We will be fine, despite the current roadblocks we have faced. Its a long season and I feel this coaching staff will build and get better with each learning experience that a loss brings and exposes. Despite the good start, I think we have some players that are over-achieving and a few of those players have came back to Earth...esp one named Jason Smith. I really dont think he is a 2nd string PF right now, but we have no other options. Same goes for DJ Mbenga. However, I do think our wings are good enough to make a deep push in the playoffs. That brings me to my first question, as one poster already addressed. Why do we continue to make trades to address the guard spots when clearly our weakness is bigs? At PF we need a guy that can learn under West this year and have the potential next season to be our starter (i.e. Paul Millsap role on the Utah Jazz) and force West on the 2nd unit or to have a more limited role. While West gives us alot on offense, his D and rebounding hurts us. He would be a great 6th man, or go to guy on the second unit, but for him to be one of our "horses" on the 1st unit beyond this season would be a mistake. Jason Smith is by no means capable of stepping up in West's shoes for another few seasons....love his hustle, his effort, and his potential, but again, he is 3rd string material right now. We also need a big, long, athletic center to backup or replace Okafor. I rather us keep Okafor because he does have value and does do alot of the small things for this team, that people forget about. But there are teams we face where we will need a longer center to be in there more often. We also need teams to respect the threat of a lob to our big man, which will open things up even more for everyone else. Many of us are frustrated with the lack of offensive movement down the stretches of games lately. I think we are being baited into pounding the ball to West, and we are biting every time. It started with SAS on Sunday and this is 2 games in a row. The first 3 quarters we are playing good team basketball, mainly feeding off of CP3 and off the ball screens. Then in the 4th teams are putting a smaller player on West and instead of us continuing to play the way we have offensively, our eyes light up at the "mismatch" West has. We feed him and he hasnt delivered. We love you West and Monty, but I dont care if Earl Boykins is on West in the 4th, we cannot play give-West-the-ball-and-we-all-stand-on-the-other-side-and-watch basketball. Its a TRAP! I was thinking that maybe CP3 was hurt as of late, the way he's been so passive. But last night I saw the CP3 Ive been expecting which tells me he is fine but he understands its a long season, and thats fine. But we just have to keep in mind that this is CP3's team, not any1 else. And we need to play like that, especially down the stretch. So Demps if you are reading this...no more perimeter player trades. We dont need Iggy or Hamilton. We need some bigs (one that has potential to beat out D West and another that has some length to his frame to bring back the alley oop threat we are missing)! Thanks! Edbballin504

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

the problem is finding a big like that is rare. Long, athletic can defend and rebound, high IQ, everybody wants one of those(and quite frankly there are just a few) so Demps most probably knows that, the problem is he can't do anything if a team doesn't just want expirings for their long athletic people. just saying.

edbballin504
edbballin504

I dont know much of anything about Hawes. Dont think Ive watched him but I think I'll go do some research on him now and see what I think. I think Thompson could be had and would be a good fit too. I wouldnt mind dalembert either off the bench...hes long, tall, and can play D. I'm sure he's capable of catching those lobs as well on pick and rolls. Just not feeling his $13 mill contract for this season.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

i assure you, there is no way we could have gotten hibbert out of indiana. he is there only true center right now. cousins is also off limits, both because he doesn't fit the bill of this team AND kings won't trade him with all the banners and stuff. The one i'd like to target the most if you're looking for that tall athletic big, i'd say go with Spencer Hawes. He is the closest thing to a 7 feet athletic young guy. If we can somehow train him to becoming a better player, then i say go with it. if not, Thompson is my next bet.

edbballin504
edbballin504

How do you think a D Cousins would fit in with a CP3?

edbballin504
edbballin504

Yeah you are right. They are rare, and I guess you dont realize how huge they can be for a team until you had one, like we had. It wouldve been nice if we could have got Hibbert from IND in that Collison deal. He underperformed before this year so maybe he could have been had, but the way he's playing now, he's untouchable I'd say. But I feel we have alot of positives on this team, as long as we hold on to CP3 and continue to build long-term. Being in the West helps too long term. Cant see the Spurs, Suns, Nuggets, maybe Mavs being relevant in 2 years with their current rosters (obviously for DEN that means Melo is gone). The East is gonna be a dog fight for the rest of this decade with MIA, ORL, and CHI beating each other up year after year.

edbballin504
edbballin504

I dont know if any1 else noticed, but we miss Tyson Chandler! Last night I notices so many pick and roll plays, or back screens that involved a cutting Okafor. Paul just couldnt get the ball to him because he's not that athletic. With Tyson, if theres a small window, CP3 would just lob it up and it was 2 points. Those opportunities are there now, but Okafor isnt long enough to get the lob so CP3 doesnt throw it. I think thats an aspect of the game we miss and we need back to give us another diminision to the offense. I miss those "crescent city connections!"

42
42

Why fantasize about Tyson when you do the same about Dwight? Or Kobe? Dream big if you're going to ignore reality.

42
42

I don't think we'll get him if it comes to that. Trade or nothing. Dallas has a bit of a problem there with a newly extended guy riding the pine behind Tyson . . . Controversy creates cash, so says Eric Bischoff, and it could create a deal for the Hornets or someone else. It also depends on those toes.

edbballin504
edbballin504

I know you were just having fun. LOL. How much money do you think he will command on the open market? Cuban might overpay him..but if he doesnt I'd say $7 mill a year is his max...and I'd say thats a good deal if we could afford it.

42
42

Just having fun. You can tell from my other posts that I'm in a good mood here. I'm pretty high on the team. I miss that whole team from 2007-2008, moreso before thr Jackson trade. This is sentimental. I miss Tyson as a player. He was the 'tough guy', as hewho has termed my more colorful, less polite, greatest desire for this team. He's talented, firey, and a really great story and character. He also fits a need and will be on the market. If I had to pick on this I'd say we should aim higher. Maybe there isn't anything higher, but we owe it to ourselves to go look.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Tyson is realistic b/c he was a part of the team already. I'm not sayin we need Tyson, but we do need a Tyson type. Its a part of CP3's game that was huge. It forced the defender into staying at home on screens which allowed CP3 more open shots or drives to the cup. It also opened up the game for the wings. Back then our wings were junk and they looked pretty good in that offense. Our wings now are way better so it would be like pick your poison for other teams. I'm not saying one little aspect changes everything, but that treat if the lob was huge for us and it no longer exists. Thats all Im trying to say 42...lol. You didnt have to play a brother like that, but its all good. lol.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

I didn't get a chance to watch this game however I did notice we were up early in the 4th when I checked espn.com what the hell happened and how can we just stop playing? I think the defense effort is there but I'm starting to get that not so good feeling in my stomach after a loss like last year! Does anyone see a direct correllation with our losing ways since the bayless and peja moved? I think jack is better in theory but does he mesh as good with the team? I believe jacks' role in Toronto was a leader.... Maybe we have too many internal leaders and with everyones "unselfishness" and hesitation on shots we are looking "dead" on offense.. I mean its really predictable that we are going into DWest during the final minutes. Teams know us by now

Ian
Ian

I didn't wanna say that but that is exactly what I tweeted. Although they were extra pieces and not used that much the dimension of the team has changed since the trade. jack's best game was his first one w/o practicing with the team. He has never been to the playoffs in 4 seasons so u can't say he has been a big part of any winning organization before. They miss Peja's floor spacing even if it's for 12 minutes a game. 10-1 before trade 2-4 since.

42
42

He didn't play in most of the wins, check the quality of the teams played, and the 5 of 6 games on the road, 2 back-to-backs.

skiele
skiele

the good is that this team has the potential to be a very good team (the good work in the first halves is proving it), there's some problems, they can't at the moment change the offensive plan during the game, and there's still not enough ball circulation from inside to outside. they need time to practice togheter, and involve more players in the offensive game, but i'm still pretty confident. even the second unit tonight seemed more fluid and tidy.

berlin-hornets
berlin-hornets

I couldnt watch the game, but I am disappointed once again. The only positive thing is that the team seems to be in control of most games, bur could not close them out lately. The defense seems to work in generel. The offense will come around, too. I am still very optimistic. Actually, for the month of December I expect an 11-5 record maybe 10-6. That would put us at 23-10 or 22-11. Both results would be great and are feasable. The team has to concentrate for the whole 48 minutes though. Geaux Hornets

F******
F******

They thought West had a mismatch against Durant, but it turned out that Durant could handle west in the post area. I don't think Monty is trying to take the ball out of CP's hands on offense. The starting five just failed to execute in the final minutes. Until then, everything worked out pretty well, as they were on top on the second night of a back to back and on the road!

rm
rm

This is so painful to watch. I know I am going to get shouted down here but when watching these games I get so frustrated with Smith and Mbenga. There is no aggression, they are big guys but don't use their size. This is main all the more painful when I know that Pops has got the game to make a difference. It may be too late and he may have blown his chance, and I admit he has had chances, but he can get the team going banging the boards and dunking over people. I know that I am a lone voice in the crowd and I am commenting on what I have seen in the past with Pops rather than what I seen from him with the Hornets. But if cuts out the stupidity, calms down I still think he has something to offer. Again if I was a betting man I would probably bet on him getting waived before he sees another minute, but I live in hope. @MM It has been a week and I have done the time.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

LOL- you did your time like a man too. Good job. Maybe Pops is just getting off to a slow start (heck Darren Collison looked horrible through November last year), but I doubt the big we need is on this roster.

rm
rm

I reluctantly think you are right, I maybe am reading too much into his performances outside this league. Even Joe Alexander is posting some good numbers in the D-League.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Agree with Michael. I dig Pops, but he isn't the savior we're looking for inside.

Bryan
Bryan

what up y'all. i am starting to read this blog after every game and I am a Jazz fan. I didn't see the game but it seems your complaints are the ones jazz fans have had a lot over the years; always complaining that D-Will would not take over in the last minutes and let AK or Miles shoot dumb ass jump shots. This year I believe the Jazz fans have been very pleased with D-Will being more aggressive throughout the game, which I believe is due to Boozer being gone. Jerry is letting him call the plays and do what he believes will be work.....trust between player and coach. CP is one of the best pg's in the league, if not the best and he needs to be the man creating at the end like many of you have said, but in the end with both these teams (jazz, hornets) being very similar I think the biggest difference is the systems each team runs. The Jazz share the ball and are always moving. Thanks to Jerry Sloan... Anyways great blog very intelligent fans and posts. I wish you would have beaten the Thunder because there aren't many teams I hate more than them. good luck on the season

42
42

Thanks. We distribute well through the game, though not as good as the Jazz. At the end, it's been fizzling and I'm not sure why. The cynic in me says Ariza missing 2 open 3's from his preferred spot in the Dallas loss bit Monty something fierce. Good luck to you too. Quick question if you are still out there? What are you guys hoping to get for AK, and did that change after the Peja deal?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Hornets 24/7: “[West] punished the hell out of Jeff Green all game long. 7 of his made shots were against Green. The problem was, with the game on the line, Green wasn’t guarding West. It was Kevin Durant, who is smarter, more athletic, and exactly the sort of player that has always given West problems – long and light on their feet. West’s biggest nemesis in the game is Lamar Odom. Durant isn’t that much different than him physically. So the Hornets force fed West five out of six possessions over a crucial four minutes from 5:00 to 1:00, and he got exactly no points. The score went from 81-75 in the Hornets favor to 81-88 against.” […]

  2. […] Orleans has lost four of five following its 11-1 start, and both John Hollinger at ESPN.com and Ryan Schwan at Hornets 24-7 point out that the Hornets’ crunch-time offense in Monday’s loss to the Thunder […]

  3. […] nobody should be fooled (and nobody is) that the ball should be in David West’s hands in isolation regularly at the end of games. […]