Anyone else notice in the box score that EVERY Hornet that saw floor time in the game had a +/- in the plus side? I don't think I've ever seen that happen before.
Hornets Defense key to Comeback Victory against Hawks
2 for 17 from deep. 9 for 15 from the free throw line. And despite those cringe worthy numbers, the Hornets still managed to hold off the Atlanta Hawks 93-86 to extend their home winning streak to four games. The 3rd and 4th quarters were vintage Chris Paul as he took over in the second half, scoring 18 of his 22 points to lead the Hornets to a comeback victory in front of nearly 16,000 screaming fans.
The Hornets trailed 55-46 at the end of the first half, but to be fair to the Hornets, the Hawks were making some shots that were gifts straight from Santa Claus himself. In fact, I am sure Marvin Williams made a deal with the devil in order to play that well in the first half, but the devil got him back via injury midway through the third quarter.
In fact, the whole starting five might have made that same pact because Atlanta came out ice cold in the 3rd quarter, missing 10 of their first 11 shots. While it is true that the Hornets defense deserves most of the credit, law of averages applies here as well. You just can’t keep taking that many bad shots and not expect to go on a cold streak. In fact, if it wasn’t for the free throw line, Atlanta would have been held to four points in the third quarter.
But this game wasn’t about the Hawks offense or the Hornets defense, it was about two letters and one number-
In the first half, he played the role of point guard, distributing the ball and attempting to get everyone involved. Midway through the 2nd quarter, however, the Hornets went ice cold and Atlanta took advantage by going on 20-6 run to take a nine point lead into the half. You can tell Chris Paul was not going to let the Hornets lose this game, however, as he came out in the third quarter looking for his own shot.
The 3rd quarter was his as he went off for 13 points, including an acrobatic layup that split two defenders and drew a foul for a breathtaking three-point play the old fashioned way. The whole quarter just felt like the 07-08 season all over again. The Hornets were down at the half due to a poor second quarter, they were having trouble finding their own offense, their outside shots weren’t going down, and then…. “Up in the Hive- It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s, it’s, it’s…. CP3!!
I know that long term the Hornets can not rely on Chris Paul game in and game out to carry them, but on night’s like this it feels great to have a superstar to get you a quality win before a week that includes both 2010 NBA Finals teams.
Other Notes and Observations
– Trevor Ariza came out scared and timid yet again, and then a strange thing happened. He pump faked on a three-pointer and the Hawks actually bit on it despite the fact that Ariza had missed his last 18 three-point attempts. Yeah, that’s right I said 18 in a row. Anyway, Atlanta bit and Ariza took the ball to the rack for a thunderous dunk. That one play seemed to boost his confidence like mushrooms boost Mario’s height. From then on, he was a different player, nailing 2 of his next 3 three point attempts and finishing with 12 points.
– Marcus Thornton had 6 points on 8 attempts and actually missed a layup, but to me this was one of his best games and I think Monty would agree. He had some key defensive rebounds, set up Mbenga for a huge dunk, and actually played his butt off on defense. Sometimes your shots fall and sometimes they don’t, but good players can effect the game on nights when their shot is off. Thornton did that tonight.
– Third great game in a row for Emeka Okafor. 14 points, 15 rebounds and he held Horford to 8 points- half of his season average. Guy is straight ballin. Let’s remember this stretch when he goes cold again. Remember- never praise too much when things are going well, don’t bash too much on bad nights. Keep it all in perspective.
– David Anderson needs to get every part of his body into the shot in order to get his three point attempts to the rim. It looked awful- like an upright human catapualt. Monty obviously wasn’t a fan either, as Anderson was pulled during the next time out and never returned.
– Jarrett Jack actually closed out the game for the Hornets, playing the two guard in place of Marco Belinelli who was horrible, as I predicted he would be in my pre-game write up. It is just a bad matchup for Marco, as Atlanta is too long Â and does not allow him into the lane, therefore he is relegated to standing at the arc and shooting. Tonight he was 0-6 (0-3 from deep) and Monty wanted Jack’s steadiness down the stretch.
– Q-Pon had a nice little 6 minute stint in the second quarter, going 2 for 2 and scoring 5 points. I still don’t think he will be a rotation player come playoff time, but he could be a key piece next year after another summer and training camp.
We desperately need to win this game tonight in Minnesota. Great win for the Hornets. Jason Smith had a dunk blocked in the harshest of ways tonight. He's got to learn to go up STRONG. That last jumper that Paul made with 30 sec left was vintage. The Hawks should have been taping their ankles before the game!
He went up strong and was hacked to his ass. You can't fault a guy for the no-call. His problem is Marcus', Marco's, and Quincy's. They don't have the name recognition to register being worthy of calls. In time Marcus and Quincy will get there as they are aggressive players who should be on the ref's radars soon. Smith will never get there as he prefers to spot up shoot, so when he goes to the rim it seems strange and like HE must have done something wrong. The only way he gets calls at the rim will be if he learns D-West's "AND 1" because I think that is the only way David gets the call respect he does. Then again, Smith would just get the "respect the game" tech if he did that, because he isn't David West.
Atlanta is who we thought they were! -the paint/lane was open all nite for eazy pts, but Atlanta settled for the 3pt shots instead.
The game-day banner does it again! MT5 goes off when his banner is up, now CP3. Maybe you guys should put Belly on the banner in a future game and see what happens.
Hawks just 31pts in the 2nd half. Fantastic D-fence by the bees. Now lets win on the road please....
What the heck happened to Belly? Ate too much cookies i suppose, just kidding. Anyway good game for Ariza. He's really rebounding very well. 10 boards for him. I hope is out of the slump. Dwest wasn't mentioned in the recap...? 18pts, 4rebs. Paul and Mek played great, oh and Jack too.
Our home-court advantage is amazing, given the average crowds and the treatment we get from the refs. Okafor is coming to play, and I really like Mbenga's work over the past few games as well. If we can get Aaron Gray into game shape, we will be set. Nice work by Q-pon. I would have liked to see him in place of Belly as Williams was eating his lunch. Thanks CP3 for turning around your game. We needed this one. NO LET UP AGAINST MINNESOTA, PLEASE...
Gotta disagree about Thornton tonight. He made some really boneheaded moves. He played well through them, but he did some head-slapping bad moves.
" I still donâ€™t think he will be a rotation player come playoff time" -- we're making the playoffs?
Run over of teams I don't view as "Locks" for playoffs but still have a chance- 6. Hornets - Only miss if major injuries come along 7. Denver - If Melo gets traded I'd assume Billups would as well, so I don't see them making the playoffs if that happens. Will make it if Denver is dumb enough to take a chance on Melo but I'd be shocked if he doesn't get traded somewhere. 8. Portland - Started off hot and are currently a .500 club. Roy's injury along with injuries to their big men and I don't see them staying there. 9. Houston - Started off slow but have picked it up and are 7-3 in their last 10. Losing Yao I think actually helps and will raise the tempo of their offense. I expect a 7-8 seed for them. 10. Phoenix - I don't think trading J Rich was a good move but maybe VC will play better than he did in ORL with Nash as his PG. Pretty weak and no real PF threat. So my final playoff picture is 1-5 in no peticular order: LAL, SAS, DAL, OKC, UTA 6. NOH 7. Houston 8. Phoenix or Denver That 8th seed is looking around 43 - 46 wins in my eyes and after starting 18 - 12 in what was supposed to be an incredibly hard start, I think we're locks barring injury but you never know. Hopefully we stay healthy.
Marco need some time on the bench to get his mind together...he was just wasting space out there...Jarrett Jack is just getting better and better and Marcus looking more and more like a better overall player them open looks would have felt any other night btw.. mbanga gave us some good minutes tonight....Section 105 is horrible btw to I dont ever want to buy a ticket in that boring ass section! lol
Nice win Hornets!! Keep it going tomorrow night in Minny. Let's hope our Saints take care of that other Atlanta team tomorrow night too. GEAUX HORNETS!!