The Heat clamp down on the Hornets

By:
Published: December 13, 2010

Two and a half quarters of good, solid Hornets basketball, with the Hornets riding a strong offensive attack by David West, good control of the game’s speed by Chris Paul, and a solid defensive outing by Trevor Ariza. Then, with a few minutes left in the third quarter, in a game with very few mistakes up to that point on either side, the Hornets reserves came in – and the Heat kept LeBron James on the floor. Pondexter has a future in this league, but he’s a rookie.

A few turnovers resulted, a few transition baskets, and LeBron overpowering Pondexter a couple times – and the Heat took a seven point advantage into the fourth.

Chris Bosh then got his defense on, contested all those power moves West was making earlier, and provided enough resistance – with some help by reaching hands from James – to force West into several costly mistakes.  In a game with so few – that’s all it took. The Heat were off and running in an unstoppable transition attack, and there was enough seperation for the game to be over.

The most frustrating part for me? The Hornets defense over those last 15 minutes or so? Stellar. 14 points in the fourth quarter, plus 6 at the end of the third. That’s enough for any team to win, but the Hornets, for what seems like the 20th time this season, completely fizzled on the offensive end in the second half.

Some will blame Paul. I don’t. The Heat deployed Chalmers to attack him non-stop through the final frame, and every time he started to make a move, send James or Wade or Bosh to help. Sometimes two of that three. Paul would then hit the open player – but there was a problem. That player needed to shoot damn fast – or make a secondary move, because the athletic Heat closed fast as hell. Neither option worked for the Hornets, as they missed shots, or made a secondary move and didn’t generate much of a shot either. With West struggling too – the offense was done.

The Hornets still need to find a third option in that starting five, or the offense will continue to flounder at crunch time.

Other Observations:

  • Aaron Gray played – being Monty’s answer to Dampier. A sound tactical move, but Gray still needs to stop letting the ball bounce off his hands. Zero rebounds, sheesh.
  • Belinelli fared poorly against Wade – but I will say that the screens set by Dampier were freaking fantastic.
  • The Hornets opened the game willing to let Bosh line up his mid-range jumpers and let fly. It didn’t pay off, as Bosh sunk more of them then he hit.
  • The Hornets went 1-13 from deep. That’s not going to keep anyone from packing the paint on drives by Paul.
  • I can’t say enough about Ariza’s work on James. He made him work for every point – and James only really got it going when he was being guarded by Willie Green on a switch, Pondexter, or in transition.
  • Belinelli had some great moments to start the game, but again in the second he came up short and delivered nothing from then on. Hey Monty, how about we open with Belinelli for the first half, and let Thornton finish?

That’s my last game recap until I return from my extended vacation on January 3rd.  Hope you all enjoy some good basketball and please don’t treat McNamara and Gerrity too badly.  It’s not their fault they’re not as cool as me.

44 comments
Joe P
Joe P

Didn't see the game. Thanks H247.com, Ry, and H247community for the great conversation. How did Smith play? Are people still thinking of him as a solid backup to West? It looks like Paul didn't shoot very much. Did he take it to the hole at all? Even if he got schooled, it's probably good for Pondexter to have to guard James and know exactly where the bar is for a 3 in this league. Losses can be part of the learning process... right?

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

We had it going with the inside game in the third quarter, then Paul went to Belly for two straight 3-point misses, both of which ended up in transition baskets for the Heat. We abandoned the drives to the rim for our stagnant perimeter passing and shooting game, again. We need to stick with what's working during the game, and exploit it until it's not there anymore. The fouls on Okafor killed us tonight. Moving screens and reach-ins against Wade and James. Zero hard fouls. Aaron Gray got hosed on foul calls twice. Some guard on the Heat literally jumped sideways in front of him to draw on offensive foul 15 feet from the basket. Later, standing straight up with his hands in the air outside the little half-circle, LeBron just drove right into him and drew another. And Wade got the Kobe treatment all through the first half, drawing "contact" on Green a few times. One thing that Monty does that really aggravates is leave someone in while they suck for minutes on end, then pull them as soon as they do something good. Aaron got a nice layup after botching a few plays, then was quickly gone. Jason Smith has been the victim of this several times. We need to stick with what's working during the game, and exploit it until it's not there anymore.

paul
paul

good thoughts... although I tend not to get to emotional about the calls. this is out of our control and why the NBA, and most team sports, tred so closely to professional wrestling. Aaron did himself bad as well by reaching in a few times. I am a gray guy, but wish he would stop that. that one foul against the Queen with his hands up and standing still pissed me off.

42
42

Don't bash pro wrestling. If you are going to bash anything, go after the fake college stuff . . .

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

after watching that mix, i am officially missing Thornton. :( Now, I think December 15 and January 1 are 2 dates we need to remember besides the trade deadline.. December 15 because its the time when Green and Ariza can be traded. I think that puts more assets in Demps lap. January 1 because thats when Mbenga and Mensah Bonsu's contract become permanent. And thats when we I'll start judging Monty. If he still gives Mbenga some minutes, lose respect. If Thornton doesn't get playing time, lose respect. But right now, i am still giving him the benefit of the doubt for about a month

NolaHog
NolaHog

We should all start gettting a "Marcus Thornton" chant going at the next home game (Sacramento). It shouldn't be too packed, so if we get enough people going, Monty should be able to hear it clearly.

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

I'm down! If he does grace Marcus with playing minutes, and you hear someone screaming like crazy with excitement from the balcony, it's probably me.

bgalella
bgalella

The offense was struggling, not sure why Thornton didn't get some more time on the floor.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

what was all this garbo at the beginning of the year about making marcus accept his role as a 6th man? i wish he was a 9th man

BeesGivingEffort
BeesGivingEffort

Oh, one last thing. It's a good thing for Dwayne Wade that the GREATEST MAN TO MAN DEFENDER IN THE NBA, MARCO BELINELLI, didn't play tonight because of flu-like systems. He surely wouldn't have scored 31 points on 13 shots with Marco healthy! Oh, mother f***ing wait! Marco played? Surely he must have been injured or hobbled? Oh, he wasn't? I'm quite frankly shocked!

BeesGivingEffort
BeesGivingEffort

Oh and Joe Gerrity was the best puncher at the party. Second, and winner of a sweet set of jammy pants, was your favorite neighborhood, 130 lb., sh*t stirrer, BeesGivingEffort!

BeesGivingEffort
BeesGivingEffort

The watch party was a blast! Joe is a great guy. Ya'll got to get out there next time! Marcus must have played so bad against Philly compared to the other guards that Monty didn't want to play him. Oh wait...never mind. Tired of beating a dead horse but..."COMEON MAN!!!" Honestly though. You must be crazy to have not seen this one coming. My brain can't even remember the last time we had a decent 2nd half.

jib
jib

Another saddening stat to throw out there, when was the last time we scored triple digits? November 19th folks

jib
jib

I like what Monty has done with the defense, minus how the sub rotations and the lack of quickness and athleticism. My problems with him though are, of course the previously mentioned rotations. No MT5 in garbage time even? No scorer aside from Green (if you can even consider him a scorer for that matter....) on the floor vs. Lebron and 4 other guys? Easy enough for them. Also, IMO Gray and Jason should never be on the court at the same time. Another thing I question is are there ANY adjustments at halftime? This doesn't magically happen. Teams adjust to us, but we seem to show no response. As for trusting the bench, I like the idea.... if you're a team that is winning a lot, or at least not in the slump we are in. At some point, I hope Monty will ignore those minutes because I'm starting to find myself question us making the playoffs. There are unfixable problems such as low depth, low athleticism, low quickness at the 4 and 5 spots, inconsistent shooting. Therefore, to be successful again, all these fixable problems, like rotations, shot distribution, halftime adjustments, and so on need to be as little as possible. Just had to vent out my problems with this team a bit lol.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I'm just baffled as to how you have 6 coaches on your bench and none of them realize you need a quick offensive punch. When something isn't working you've got to try something else. Thornton is the only bench player that can give that offensive punch. I've never been one to cry out about Marcus not getting playing time but like I said, when something isn't working you've got to give the guy a try. I mean it doesn't even look like we're trying to win these games. At least it doesn't look like Monty is trying to win these games with these bootleg rotations and such.

MaxALM
MaxALM

HONESTLY...a handful of professional coaches can't recognize such an obvious trend? It's almost like Monty is trying to teach a lesson about closing out games with defense, as if that's going to just flip a switch and turn our offense on. We've clearly been closing out games with defense, we're just not winning the games.... See, sometimes the goal is to end the game with more points than your opponent (ha ha ha! right??) If this losing keeps up any longer, Monty will be beating a dead horse so much so that I fear some of the players will lose interest in what he has to say completely, as well as interest in the team altogether.

mbdtf
mbdtf

I mean defense is good and all, but offense is somewhat important too.. That's 3 straight games where we have held our opponents under 100, and we have lost. When Belinelli is ice cold, West is being covered, and the other team doubles CP, we need another option! Ariza and Okafor are certainly not the answer. I'm not a huge Thornton guy due to him sometimes being out of control on offense and kinda lack of defense, but I can't figure out why Monty doesn't try him out more. He can score, and that is what we have been needing as of late. In other news, Wade played ridiculously well tonight.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

PLAY MARCUS WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT SOME OFFENSIVE PUNCH

QueenBee
QueenBee

Ok, I guess I do have something to add. Hahaha! Monty: "It's the same story. We have to get the effort from our bench without giving way to other teams." 43 minutes ago via web So yeah, sounds like he's trying to trust his bench. The bench that hasn't been doing anything on this terrible stretch of losses and yet he continues to keep starters out while the bench loses a lead. Hey rookie coach! It ain't workin.

ktrufant
ktrufant

I like the philosophy of "trusting the bench" because you have to during the regular season, but the Hornets bench is full of suck and Thornton (and Jack, I guess). So that bench will continue to lose them games (especially when the part that is not suck or Jack get's a DNP - Coach's Decision). Demps needs to hold some GM's dogs hostage or something and get some talent (kidding ... mostly)

MaxALM
MaxALM

The only thing I am upset about is Monty's rotations in the 3rd and 4th. Poor decisions, I must say. West with 11 points or more in the 3rd quarter, and you take him out with 3:30 left in the quarter?? Replacing him with two softer big guys?? with Lebron still in the freaking game?? My god. Then after that run in the 4th, took a timeout and left your bench guys in? Come on, Monty. Really? Didn't expect Thornton to play in this game solely because of "defensive" matchups. But Thornton could not have done much worse on Wade. If Thornton does not absorb any considerable amount of Belli's minutes on Wednesday's game and every game from then on, I'll be losing some respect for Monty.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

already lost alot of respect for monty... you cant let your team go 3-10 and have your big change be letting aaron gray see playing time

JCS
JCS

Hahahahaha! Maybe he just wanted to tick you MT5 stans off... 1 Marcus Thorton > 3 Aaron Grays

QueenBee
QueenBee

Yeah, that's effed up the more I think about it. How the hell do they go from 11-1 to 14-10? Rotations and stubborness will kill you everytime. He's a rookie coach. I understand that. But those guys on that bench sitting alongside him aren't. They have GOT to know that those rotations suck. He said he wanted experienced veteran guys to help him along as a rookie coach. Well I would like to think those experienced veteran coaches should know better than what they've been trying to do. You can't let teams go on runs like the Heat did without calling timeouts to at least try to stop their momentum. You can't let teams go on runs like the Heat did without making rotation moves to adjust to what the other team is doing. You just can't do it.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I know what you mean MaxALM. I really don't understand his rotations. He doesn't seem to know when to ride his hot hand. I mean he doesn't have to ride them into the ground but he's got to ride them a little longer.

jib
jib

I said it in the last post, the 9 point 4th was shameful, along with how 8 came in the last 4 minutes. Our scoring late is truly pissing me off. I can talk about all the problems, but there are too many to even talk about them, this team will be the death of me...

Eman5805
Eman5805

It has to be worse than just Thornton's D for Monty to not even play him in garbage time.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Yeah I know right? I mean not even garbage minutes? Monty don't know how fast he can get turned on around here. LOL.

Thechosenuno
Thechosenuno

All I have to say is that coach screwed up his rotation again. When things are going downhill so fast with the bench in during the 3rd quarter, coach should gave out cp3 back in at the beginning of the 4th quarter, not 4 minutes into the 4th quarter. I know coach said he doesn't want cp3 to have to cone wipe things up every game, and that's right, but this, THIS, is the type of game you put cp3 in for extended minutes. If you don't, we won't make the playoffs and all of cp3's rest is for naught.

Joe P
Joe P

I think you hit it. Monty isn't trying to win games (yet?). He seems to think that other players (Marco?) need to learn to get it done, so (next year?) in the playoffs the (Kansas City?) Hornets have a balanced attack and don't depend on Paul for a bailout.

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

Oops. Sorry for the typos. Was typing on my phone. Meant to say "should have put cp3" and "to come wipe"

JCS
JCS

Have a great vacation Ryan and enjoy the holidays. While you're gone if you would just do me one favor and be sure to tell the Hornets to report back to the office asap. The squad I've been seeing on the court clearly ain't them, so we need our real players to come back and put in some serious work.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Quincy played good defense on lebron, bothering him poking at the ball i was impressed. I blame the loss on monty not on any player, belinelli cant help that nobody will bench him

Joe P
Joe P

I'm not disagreeing with you, but it seems like sound coaching to bench players for bad D, turnovers, and fouls, but if a coach benches shooters for not hitting shots, the coach kills confidence and confuses players about their rolls.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

belinelli let up 32 points to dwayne wade and had no offense he wouldnt be benching him and killing confidence hed be benching him because he was getting nothing out of him

QueenBee
QueenBee

I have nothing to add. I'm exhausted. Have a great vacation Ryan. :)