43 Minutes of Crunch Time

Published: November 30, 2010

That’s how much basketball we have watched with less than five minutes left on the clock and the Hornets within five points of their opposition. Those 43 minutes have arguably been the biggest of the year for the Bees, as they have determined games, momentum, a power ranking ascension and decline (unless Marc Stein really has the power), and even the future of the franchise in a sense. Imagine the conversations had the team only won five or six games so far. That’s very well where we could be if not for these 43 minutes.

What the following numbers say is what we’ve known for years and years. A team anchored by Chris Paul is going to win more than it’s fair share of close games. He, possibly more than any regular season superstar, has demonstrated how important it is for a team to have an elite player on board.

I think coaching plays a big role in a lot of this as well, like when Monty decided to start switching up high with under two minutes to go against Dirk and the Mavs, or when Scott Brooks threw Kevin Durant on David West with five minutes left in the fourth quarter last night. Those things matter, but that’s a tale for another day.

The following numbers come courtesy of 82games.com-

What’s Good- Paul is rebounding as well as anyone on the team, and his passing (if memory serves) is better than in recent years during crunch time.

What’s Bad- His scoring volume and efficiency have taken a hit. He was shooting above 47% in each of the last three years, with his points per 48 being between 10 and 15 points higher. Gotta love/hate it when stats show you what you already know.

What better damn well stay the same- He’s leading the universe (and the team) in clutch time played. He hasn’t missed even a second, and that’s how it should stay.

What’s Good-He’s scoring often and fairly efficiently. Also he’s taking a bunch of trips to the line.

What’s Bad- Rebounding. Yuck. Your power forward needs to grab more than 17% of available defensive rebounds. The team only grabs 2/3rds when he’s on the court.

What’s Good- If you don’t count rebounding, his defense has been pretty solid. He also has three blocks.

What’s Bad- Everything else. The team is grabbing on 58% of defensive rebounds when he’s on the floor.

What’s Good- His eFG% of 68% is fantastic, and the best on this list by a good margin.

What’s Bad- His rebounding is just awful. He’s snagged 4/84 potential rebounds. If he rebounded at that pace all season, he would project to be the worst rebounding forward that contributes in the entire league. Consequently I would be on pace to break three laptops, so let’s all hope that he improves.

What’s Good-2.25 points per shot. Of all major players, the Hornets best when he’s on the court. And the defense has been pretty sweet.

What’s Bad- Again, the rebounding is just not doing it. The team does snag over 70% of defensive rebounds when he’s out there, but you just can’t attribute that to him.

What’s OK- His scoring

What’s Bad- Everything else. He’s by far the least effective clutch player on the team, for now at least.

So there you have it. The Hornets are a horrible rebounding team when it matters most. Whether or not this can be attributed to a small sample size is yet to be seen, but nobody should be fooled into thinking that this is a good rebounding team.

Also 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. That’s Chris Paul’s time to shine. The Hornets (and their fans) will live and die with how he plays in the those closing minutes.


  1. hewhorocks

    November 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Great read and action packed with dense material to get the little gray cells fired up!

  2. MaxJD_Nola2NYC

    November 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I must agree with you that I would much rather lose a game on a shot by CP3 than anyone else on the team. The last 5 minutes must be CP3 time, I think when a lead is in jeopardy CP3 knows to slow the pace down and drive with the intention to get fouled and get to the line. I’m sick of watching out final 5 minutes down the stretch where our guys are not being aggressive and getting to the line. Is there a way to see how fast those last 5 minutes of play acctually end up taking on games we have lost as opposed to games we have won? I think that would be an interesting thing to look at! If I was a betting man I would say that the games we won took longer than the ones we lost

  3. QueenBee

    November 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    A teeny bit offtopic but a fun read on the Hornets’ defense….


  4. James Online

    November 30, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks Joe for your work digging this material out and interpreting it. It was disappointing to see that the Hornets couldn’t manage either of the last two games. They were in a position to win those games, but they were outplayed in the clutch.

    Not to be repetitious but the “crunch time game plan” seems out of whack. Monty goes back to what he has most confidence in, a post pass to David West, too predictably.

    Let’s see if we can muster a couple wins on the home stand. Charlotte won’t have Action Jackson, and they are beatable under any condition, but look out for NY. Knicks are on a tear, and Raymond Felton is playing exceptional ball this year. He’s found a home in D’Antoni’s system. That should lessen the “Chris Paul to the Knicks” rumors and increase the “Mello to the Knicks” talk, though what they really need is a post presence. Emeka should be fine against both the upcoming teams.

  5. QueenBee

    November 30, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Lakers fans must be on suicide watch for losing 3 in a row. Nahh, we’re probably the only ones that are like that. LOL!

    Check out what someone tweeted to Trevor Ariza…

    “@TA_Iam1 Refs dnt seem 2 be respecting u when u drive da lane, u gotta go up and put ur nutz n somebody face make’em respect u
    33 minutes ago via Mobile Web”


    • jib

      November 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      I’m going to my once a year game Friday and I think I remember you saying you have tickets for Wednesday, so Trevor, for both of our sakes, take this into consideration! lol

  6. jib

    November 30, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    These numbers are a bit ridiculously low for rebounding. This is to blame on the offense, as I remember in the recap there was mentioning of the terrible rebound positioning we were put in due to the iso west play. When plays like that are ran, offensive rebounding is very difficult. Monty seems to have Stan van gundy syndrome from when he had Hedo, and by that I mean a good offense would be ran majority of the game, then all of sudden it breaks into this stagnant two man game. Successful at times, but unsuccessful at others.

  7. AgentZiko

    November 30, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Btw everyone, I dont know why people keep thinking that Trevor came off the bench in LA. He started almost every game the last season before he left and was a HUGE piece to the team winning. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t played better with the Hornets. I think he will need a little more time, but I think he really is a great fit here.

  8. James Online

    December 1, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Trevor is a good fit and valuable player for the Hornets. He just can’t be a “go to guy” on offense. With the Lakers he didn’t get much defensive attention. Agree with jib that the West iso’s limit the offense and reduce rebounds. Monty’s emphasis is on getting back on defense asap not to allow fast breaks the other way. And why does West try to crash through three defenders? The ball does not move around the perimiter on this team and long-term that’s going to hurt them.

  9. 42

    December 1, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Best banner ever?

    That’s one charming little dude . . .

    Good work (again), Darius.

    Can you make a clunker from time-to-time so we don’t always have to praise you? It gets boring . . . I get to insult Joe from time to time, and it’s great . . .

    All jokes aside, I stick with my original sentiment: Best banner ever.

    • sundance

      December 1, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Does this guy do wallpapers?

      • Stefan

        December 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm

        He’s got a bunch. They’re all great.

  10. Pingback: Hornets on the Internets: Dell Curry Edition | NBA Rock

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