The Spurs crushed the Hornets

By:
Published: December 5, 2010

Chris Paul came to play.

I’d like to leave it there.  Or maybe go to the “Both Teams played Hard” standby that Rasheed Wallace went to, but that would be a lie.  The Spurs played hard.  The Hornets, for the first seven minutes of the game, didn’t play hard.  The middle two quarters of the game involved a lot of the Spurs hitting every shot they put up, even the bad ones.  That stretch probably would have broken the game open – if the Hornets hadn’t already let the game get away from them.

And make no mistake, they let it happen.  Simple cuts during the first seven minutes yielded easy shots as neither West nor Okafor moved more than a step or two to help anyone.  Simple drives by any Spur  led to open shooters as the Hornets perimeter guys took two steps to help, then froze putting themselves in the worst possible place – neither committed to stop the drive, nor committed to stay home on the shooters.  If the driver did beat their man, well, West and Okafor weren’t coming over.  Oh, and transition defense?  I’m sure it happened somewhere, but I didn’t see it.

Then, things got worse.  Andersen and Smith?  Neither of them were apparently aware that the prime offensive basketball skill Matt Bonner has is to shoot three pointers.  Nice to see you play, Andersen, but go back to the bench if you think giving seven feet of space to Matt Bonner is a good idea.

The Spurs were even getting offensive rebound after offensive rebound – when they were missing almost nothing.  The Hornets had 2 offensive rebounds in the first three quarters.

Chris Paul?  He still played hard every minute he was out there.  I’ll just think about that, and forget the rest of it . . .

. . . and I guess maybe I’ll think about Aaron Gray, cuz he was alright.  Besides, who doesn’t like to think about Aaron Gray?

83 comments
jtshoopsblog
jtshoopsblog

The Hornets have always been a "crushed"team--under the finger of George shinn. Thank goodness the NBA took that team over. will give it a new breath of life.

ppellico
ppellico

THANKS ALL for allowing such a very indepth discussion on the NOH. Very little nonsense here. Name calling is absent. Truly a joy to read everybody's thoughts. Thanks to the admin as well. This is a very important release for me after watching the games. I live in the MO Ozark mountains where we not only do not have a team, we don't seem to get games on TV. We get hunting channels... I am kind of missing my days in Chicago and my season tickets and great seats...even though they cost me thousands of dollars. Basketball in the winter is the greatest invention of all.

rm
rm

For me the issues everyone was talking about pre season are now coming out. They were hidden at the start because of the run but in this slump they are becoming more evident. For me Okafor is not a starter. A good 3rd big with Smith a 4th but Hornets need a top rate big man. And before anyone says anything I am not saying Pops is the answer. For me he can still offer something over Smith at 4th big but as yet shown it with the Hornets. Belinelli might be the blue eyed boy because he plays good defence but he needs to score. I would like to see Marcus given the chance. At least that if they score we have a chance to score on the other end. At the moment teams might have to fight harder to score but the do score and we have no answer the other end. I understand Defence is key but Defence without Offence is no good plus it isn't going to get the attendance up to where he needs to be. Who wants to watch ugly basketball.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Ok so they start off showing a past 4/11/10 Shinn interview after the last regular season Hornets game saying how it feels like a death in the family and how he started the team from the beginning, yada, yada, yada. Then they gave a timeline of everything that's happened since then (the report that a deal with Chouest had been reached, the impasse, Chouest's involvement in the BP disaster, this past Thursday the Obama administration backed off on a promise to lift the drilling moratorium, then Friday Chouest backed out of his agreement to purchase the Hornets). Jac Sperling, NOLA born lawyer will be placed in charge of the Hornets, Hugh Weber will continue to run day to day operations, still an outside shot that Gary Chouest could eventually purchase the team. Either way, it appears the NBA is interested in plugging enough leaks so that the Hornets remain in New Orleans. Then WWLTV's Bradley Handwerger had a few comments. Handwerger says it's obvious something soured between Shinn and Chouest and the NBA may be looking to get Chouest to stick with it saying look you can go through us and then we can do it but he's not sure Chouest wants to do that, run a family business and a team but it's gonna end up where it may take a little while because if the NBA wants to keep the team in New Orleans which by all accounts they sound like they do, they're gonna have to find somebody maybe not locally but somebody that wants to keep them here. He says it's possible Shinn couldn't find anyone other than Chouest because Shinn maybe hasn't been the best person to deal with. He says he doesn't think this news will affect the teams play on the court but he does think teams know how to play this Hornets franchise, Monty's offense, Monty's defense. Do you think they made 1 too many trades? He said the Peja trade suprised him. He said you knew it would happen but probably expected it more towards the All Star break. He says it may take Jack a while to get acclimated. Are they still a playoff team in the West? I don't think you start second guessing them. Just like it was too early to crown them when they were 11-1 he thinks its too early to say they aren't a playoff team in the West they're still a team that's capable of putting it back together. If I find this interview on the website I'll post it.

Go Blue
Go Blue

Please do recap, I wanna know what's going on. lol. I'm out of state, so no way for me to see your local shows. =(

QueenBee
QueenBee

For those in NOLA, watch 4th Down on Four in a few minutes.

BeesGivingEffort
BeesGivingEffort

Marco Belinelli - 2 rebounds a game and we are getting killed on the glass. If he isn't doing anything on offense or helping our undersized bigs rebound the basketball, than I am sorry, he needs to get out of the starting lineup. He just is not ATHLETIC enough to be hanging with the best the NBA has to offer. Chris Paul - As I mentioned before, he looked the best I've seen him this season explosive wise. That clunky knee brace must have been more hindering than we had given it credit for. Or at least uncomfortable enough for CP3 to remember it's there constantly. His jumper wasn't there, but to me, it's a sign of good things to come. Marcus Thornton - It's time for Monty Williams to play the kid for crying out loud. He is LITERALLY held to a degree of accountability unrivaled on this team. Insert him into the starting lineup. The kid plays with heart. CP3 said the team needs it's swagger back. This kid showing up and dropping 30 would be a pretty good start towards showing we have more than 2 players on this roster. If I could ask Monty Williams one question it would be, "Why did you come in here, immediately ostracize our third best player and local crowd favorite, and hold him to his mistakes while allowing every other 1/2guard on our roster make as many as they'd like?" THIS KID IS NOT JR SMITH. Marcus tries and listens. Monty ROYALLY screwed up this kid's development. He should have come in here and told him that I'm going to make you an even better player, just listen to me. Marcus would have responded. Tonight, he looked more frustrated than I have seen him all season and I don't blame him. I was frustrated for him. Quincy Pondexter - If Monty is hellbent on keeping Marcus on the bench, than let Q-Pon start over Belinelli. He can rebound and actually take guys off the dribble and create for himself. Overall, I just don't understand Monty's handling of MT5 and I'm frustrated beyond belief. His treatment of such a valuable asset has gotten out of control. If I have one freaking season of New Orleans basketball left in my veins, I would rather it not be destroyed by Monty Williams' almost Byron Scott sized ego and stubbornness.

QueenBee
QueenBee

We had one home guy in the Hive last week (DJ Augustin) and on Wednesday we will have another (Greg Monroe). We can't let these home guys show off. Hornets gotta shut em down. All this drama about the team won't keep me away. I'm hitting up stubhub.

Holy Cow
Holy Cow

I didn't get a chance to watch the game tonight and by the account I have read, I guess I'm lucky. The last 8-10 games I have sensed the return of the 09-10 West and Okafor defense. Early in the year the bigs were showing on defense then hustling back to their man. Lately, it's been step out, screen your teammate then watch the opponent coast down the lane. Bellinelli has gone ice cold. I agree that it is time to give Marcus some extended minutes to see if he can add some spark to this offense. During the red hot start there were a lot of "defense doesn't slump" quotes being thrown around. I beg to differ. Defense slumps when effort and hustle slump. Offensively, what has happened to the motion and crisp passing that generated open looks and easy baskets? Finally, I am very disheartened by the news about the NBA being ready to assume control of the Hornets within the week. I'm afraid that this is the beginning of the end. The failure of the Hornets is destined to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The casual fan is going to question why should I get emotionally invested in a team that is on its way out of town. Attendance will suffer, merchandise sales will suffer and the product on the court is going to suffer as the distractions, discord and uncertainty mount. I've enjoyed my 2+ years as a season ticket holder and will have great memories of going to Hornets games with my daughter... at least we will have the fun memories of '07-'08.

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

For once, I just have no comment on a game.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I know the last time the Hornets played in SA Demps was there. I wonder if he was there tonight. I sure hope so. He needed to see that butt smacking in person. LOL.

Hornet
Hornet

Does anyone remember the Tim Floyd year? We started off 17-7. We finished 41-41. This is reminding me of that year.

brazilian hornet
brazilian hornet

How can a team have 14 points from Matt Bonner in 16 minutes? There is only one word to sum up the performance of the Hornets in San Antonio: SHAME And do not understand why Monty Williams insists with Belinelli. This guy doesn't a decent game for weeks. And why this unwillingness to Thornton? Monty acts as if Belinelli was playing very well, and Thornton was the cause of all our problems. I'm disappointed in you, sir. Williams...

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

No defensive effort whatsoever tonight. I hope that the team and coach are thoroghly embarassed to be beaten by 60 points over 4 quarters (last 2 of home game, first two of away game). Unfortunately, I don't think anyone on the team really cares. Their lack of passion for the game over the past 10 or 12 has sucked the life back out of the fan base, at least those paying attention. I hope they get it back, or it will be a long season.....

TJZL
TJZL

I'm not about to give up on the team or the coach, but something has got to change. I turned the game on after the Falcons and Bucs game just to see the Hornets down by 20 then I flicked it off. I checked in periodically on NBA.com and to no surprise, the Hornets played dead. This loss was just an uninspired butt whooping. Okafor is a joke, I thought he finally turned it on at the start of the season, but the past 10 games he's been pathetic on the inside. NO DEFENSE whatsoever. Undersized, underpowered, and inefficient he has no business starting at center. Guys on the perimeter are getting blown by on simple cuts, eaten up on the pick and roll, and just flat out getting scored on. Chris has been shooting poorly and turning it over far too much. Stagnant offensively and just underperforming altogether. Someone care to elaborate?

MaxALM
MaxALM

The Hornets are now 2-6 since Jarrett Jack came to this team, starting with the loss to the Clippers. The Clippers. Our only wins have been against a fading Portland team (who Monty already knows very well) and the Charlotte Bobcats. Take that for what it is, but the effort level I'm seeing out of these guys over 48 minutes is the polar opposite to what I saw before. I'll go ahead and say that Jack must have something to do with this. He's been absolutely atrocious since joining this team. The whole team has just glazed over and not really given a shit (at least visibly) since we got Jarrett Jack. Sure, he might have been the best player in that trade on paper, but I'd really like to have Bayless back. At least Bayless understood his role. THERE'S NO MORE FIRE IN THIS TEAM. Every game I am questioning more and more if we are really going to settle with having Smith, Mbenga, and Gray as our backup bigs. Keep Smith as a 4th big, but my god, Mbenga and Gray CANNOT PLAY. WE ARE GOING NOWHERE WITH THEM IN THE ROTATION. WE NEED A 3RD BIG WHO CAN PLAY AND RUN THE FLOOR. Also, Belinelli looks more and more worthless each game. He's not getting it done. He's taking ill-advised shots when he's not getting set up by Paul. Go ahead and call me out on this one, but I'm not seeing any "great" defense out of him either. Not worthy of the praise he's gotten from Ryan/Michael/Joe on defense. Disagree if you wish.

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

Thanks! Though . . . We do sometimes call people names. Like . . . sometimes I call Michael McNamara Eeyore. It's how I roll, see?

Rob Scott
Rob Scott

There are 19 Cs in the NBA who play 25+ mpg and amongst them, Okafor is 14th in PER, 14th in Usage and 8th in Total Rebound Rate. This pretty much matches the eye test for me - he's an OK, if unspectacular NBA starting Centre. Overpaid? You bet! But not a 'third big man' (unless the Hornets trade for Dwight Howard and Joakhim Noah). I haven't seen the last few Hornets games (yeah, I haven't been paying as much attention since Pops got made inactive, but don't worry, I'm not going to spam the comments with FREE POPS every night ;) ps: just kidding, rm ) but when the team was winning, Okafor didn't seem like much of a problem - there's no reason they can't get back to that form.

42
42

Good work, and thanks. Seems factual, if optimistic. We've all said things along those lines about the situation. I did hear about the moratorium not being lifted and some other further clamping down father east. Congress may havr something to say about that. What a clusterpickle...

Go Blue
Go Blue

Thanks for the recap. I couldn't imagine this whole ownership problem not to be on the back up the players' mind. It's like working for a company that just went bankrupt or something. I'm not familiar with this Shinn fellow, but is he known to be "hard to deal with"? Eh, maybe when the NBA buy the Hornets, the refs will start calling games more fairly. One can only dream...............

42
42

How do you get Saints news then?

42
42

Keep us posted. Are they talking ownership? Chris have something important to say?

42
42

Marcus had good plays and some sizable errors, like losing the ball on the up to the hoop. I think playing time will help what can be helped.

James Online
James Online

You are so right. Marcus Thornton has been incredibly impressive this year.

MaxALM
MaxALM

for real. it blows my mind that we are standing pat with Smith and Mbenga as our backups. West and Okafor simply aren't tough enough as big men. We need toughness. Smith and Mbenga are the complete opposite of that.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Should we bring Floyd back?

MaxALM
MaxALM

Thank you. Jason Smith is rendered completely ineffective if the opponents put a body on him, not allowing his signature 15-18 foot jumper. That's all he can do. The same can be said for Bonner. If you deny him any space to shoot the 3, then he's also virtually ineffective. That's all we had to do and we didn't do it. Couldn't say it better than you about Thornton. He hardly even gets garbage minutes when we are clearly going to lose by 20+ points!! It's a joke. Belinelli has been awful for the past 7 games or so. His defense is nothing to praise either. Not at all. We beat the Spurs when Marcus played 30 mins and had room to score. For Monty, it's like if Marcus doesn't make his first shot, then he gets YANKED. It's really pissing me off. When we were winning its one thing, but we're losing almost every game now and Thornton is still a no-show. This is when you take that step to play him.

Joe P
Joe P

You're wrong about Oak being a joke. He's 11th in the league in FG%, 9th in rebounds, and 7th in blocks. He's 12th among centers in PPG. (all these stats from espn.com). Yeah, I'd love to have Wilt in his prime too, but look at what is available in terms of big men. Okafor is a legit NBA starting center, and it's harsh to call him a joke.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

agree with Okafor, disagree with CP3 comment and agree dead on with the Hornets comment.

QueenBee
QueenBee

How does CP average almost 50% on both fg% and 3pt fg% by shooting poorly? No, he's not averaging 20+ppg but he hasn't really been shooting poorly. And he's about at his average with turnovers as well. Okafor, well I guess this could be said for just about the entire team really but, they were ALL playing much better at the beginning of the season. I can't really comment on how he looked tonight because I didn't really watch but I do know that he's been soft and bobbly.

skiele
skiele

Don't know what match you are talking about, I've seen belinelli playing a very good defense, taking charges, rotating, tipping balls, staying in front of the assignment and helping defense....

ppellico
ppellico

You talk about BIG men that can run the floor as if they are everywhere! Please, you have a better chance of seeing a unicorn dance than finding big NBS men that run the floor. Get real. Big men play roles. They block. They block out. They open lanes. They rebound. They are rare these running centers that make champions and the nhall of fame. Get real and use what you have. Doe you know how hard it is/was for Gray to have sat all but 2 games and then get a decent performance? If you think you do, great. But bench sitting in the NBA is a skill. A dissaplined skill. It is very difficult to stay in game shape, physically AND mentally. I again, am proud of this big happy kid tonight.

sundance
sundance

How Beli can take a simple jump shot and make it more difficult than it should ever have to be is beyond me, but he's made those types of shots before under pressure so I don't second-guess that. While the guy's in a slump much like he was last year around this time, he will come out of it because (though you may not believe it) he is too good an offensive player to stay in it for very long. As far as his defense tonight, what I saw was Beli consistently rotating over from the weak side to cover an open big man under the basket. He always stayed in front of his man and switched when it was necessary, at one point making the switch onto Duncan and getting a charge call. I'm not sure what your criticism is, sure he couldn't stop some baskets from being made, but let's face it when even the RR gets in the act then you know the Spurs are just that hot.

James Online
James Online

Look at the video. Marco played superb defense tonight, and has for the entire season so far. You tell me how often Marco's man scored on him tonight. How often he failed to switch properly. How often he didn't get out effectively on a three point shooter (once, in the second half). What is troubling is his shooting slump. He's a streaky shooter but this streak has been going on too long. It's eating him up. The team looks tight. I don't see Paul orchestrating or building chemistry the way he should. They were playing together very effectively at the beginning of the year. Now the confidence and performance are lacking. I gotta believe the ownership uncertainty fuels suspicions about Chris' ambitions and that can't help either.

Caleb
Caleb

Gray was solid last year. He rebounded very well, he played decent defense... he didn't offer much offensively but he occasionally got a few points in the post and got them efficiently. Overall, he was a decent backup center. Its not a big surprise that when he is given the chance to play he is once again a decent backup center. There are certainly better backups in the league, but I definitely think Gray has more to offer than Mbenga or Andersen. I hope that Monty comes to this conclusion soon as well. I don't think its fair at all to say that Gray "can't play" when he's barely been given the chance to play this year, and I think last season shows that he can play. As for Belinelli... his defense certainly hasn't looked as good as it did earlier in the season.

Bywas2001hornet4ever
Bywas2001hornet4ever

ur right on about everything i believe except aaron gray. he just has way better ball awareness than mek. in my opinion he shud back him up. i mean mek is in way better shape, but aaron gray is so much smarter than he is, and if u are goin to foul someone...... FOR DA LOVE OF GOD....... DONT.. LET.. THEM.. MAKE.. DA.. SHOT!!!!!!!! Love aaron Gray for the hard foul, and fallin on da guy

ppellico
ppellico

Spock! I must tell you I used to fly over 90K miles a year. One late night flight from LA to Chicago I upgraded to First and guess who sat down next to me?!!! Yup...an aged old hero of mine, MR SPOCK! Grey hair and all, but looking so good for his age. didn't speak to him. I was very nervous and it was like sitting next to a Beatle!

rm
rm

It is a shame you aren't joining me in the FREE POPS support (I may get some T-shirts done and you can have one for a reasonable price).

42
42

He seems like a child to me. Chouest seems like an honorable man.

QueenBee
QueenBee

As for it being on the players minds, Hornets Coach Monty Williams said before Sunday night's game in San Antonio that he'd addressed the situation with the team, and that players asked several questions which he answered as best he could. "All I can do is answer the questions I can answer. I don't know the particulars of it," Williams said. "To be honest with you, I don't want to know. I don't want it to affect my focus and my job. When whatever happens, happens, I'll deal with it then. Now, I've heard speculation since I've been in New Orleans. It's not anything new to me. "I can't go into (specifics of what players asked). That's personal stuff. I think there're going to have the same questions anybody else would have, I just don't want to reveal locker room stuff." Willie Green: "I really don't know what it means," veteran guard Willie Green said. "I know it's definitely something that's going on with the ownership and the league, but as a player I guess I really don't understand or know what that means right now. "Obviously, we'll find out more information as time progresses, but my thinking right now is I'm just trying to make sure I focus in on the things I can control. And obviously that's not one of them. But I'm sure we'll find out how it impacts us as an organization and team later." Okafor: Center Emeka Okafor said he's main focus Sunday was guarding the Spurs' Tim Duncan. "I just play ball and I don't worry about things I can't control," Okafor said.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Well his relationship with his last co-owner/minority owner also soured. Word has it the league would be happy to have him out of the league. LOL.

42
42

Sure you are, don't be so hard on yourself... Just kidding. I suppose nothing is funny today.

Go Blue
Go Blue

Me? How do I get Saints news? I don't, I'm not even really a Saints fan.

42
42

Do or do not, there is no try -- Yoda Just picking. Anything you can relay would be great.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

i would like to believe that we are not standing pat. its more of a no opportunity. I trust Demps is burning the wires for deals that will help our team

QueenBee
QueenBee

@Hornet-LOL! I was curious to see your reaction to that question. LOL. ;)

brazilian hornet
brazilian hornet

Hey, sr. Monty! We want Marcus Thornton in the team now!

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

i agree with the fact that Okafor has been underplaying this past few games.

ppellico
ppellico

The pproblem with stats THIS year is the early start will screw up the true facts. Now I have always loved Okafor. It is just that I feel he is one gift shy of a center...size. He's damned smart. Last year he was not given the Paul leadership option and without such distribution and outside help, he was manhandled inside. Let's face it...today to be successful, to make it through the second round, you need a complete team. You need outside shooters. You need great point and shooting guards. You need power and control of the middle. My position with NOH is they have everything except the middle game. I promise all, once they establish this, once they prove they are dangerous inside, so much weight will be taken off the guards, their games will blossom like spring flowers!!!

QueenBee
QueenBee

@TJZL-I hear you on venting. This team can drive one crazy. LOL.

TJZL
TJZL

Now that I think about it, the missed shots are probably manufactured from him trying to jumpstart what has recently been a stagnant offense. I guess I'm just venting a bit.

ppellico
ppellico

MaxAlm... I agree. I have been amazed at the attention given the backcourt in these trades while the BIG bench problem is placed on the MBenga fountaition. Smith can be an effective back-up. But he still gets killed by bigger, meaner players. AT LEAST he has an outside shot that can pull you out. IF Gray is not your man, then he should NOT have been signed and attention to the solid center position should have been a real focus this summer. I will say I am not that familiar with your choices. I do know Miami and many teams right now are searching for enters to fill their similar problems. Why haven't they picked up one of your choices? I do remember they sat with Gray this summer but Gray accepted the offer from NOH. I am sure he is questioning his decision now since the team does.

MaxALM
MaxALM

Oh I've gotten real alright. Believe it or not, they are out there and have been there in plain sight. Jason Thompson, Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph are all young, talented big men that could easily make an impact on this team that aren't being used to their advantages on their current teams. They've all been marginalized. They are more than available. Each of those guys are far more talented than any backup big man we've had in years. There's no reason NOT to get them. The Hornets keep making trades for their backcourt. Our backcourt was solid before we got Jack. We didnt need him. We have glaring holes in our frontcourt. We need toughness and athleticism in that department. Each of those three guys have been sitting on the bench because their playing styles aren't needed on the teams they play on. Even if Thompson and Randolph WEREN'T available, you think that there's just no way to acquire a new player? We made trades for our backcourt, we can certainly do the same for the frontcourt.