The Hornets Beat the Nuggets’ Scrubs

Published: January 9, 2011

If I never see a basketball game like that again, I’ll be a happy man.  The energy was contagious.  Negative energy, that is.  The starting Nuggets didn’t care.  Melo was going through the motions.  At one point, he was sent to post up, and let Ariza push him out past the three point line.  Billups, seeing Melo wasn’t going to try, clearly checked out too, lofting a 28-foot three pointer rather than pass to a guy posting up 23 feet from the basket.  And I didn’t blame him.  That trade has to be imminent. The rest of the Nuggets starters except for Afflalo were showing the same indifference by halftime.

The Hornets, by midway through the third, were playing with as much energy as their opponents.  Lazy screens, few cuts.  Running half-heartedly after loose balls.(and get this – they still got most of them!)

George Karl decided if none of his starters wanted to play, he’d play his scrubs.  And play they did.  Gary Forbes, Anthony Carter, eventually Harrington as his teammates energized him.  JR Smith.  Karl just kept cycling players until he had a team of guys who wanted to play.

The Hornets responded by watching.

Then, Monty made the most rookie of rookie mistakes.  With the Hornets still having the  advantage, he chose to match up to Karl’s unit.  The Hornets had controlled the game by contesting shots at the hoop with their bigs and playing disciplined defense.  Monty emptied the bench of little guys, who never play defense together, forcing the guards to be forwards and forwards to be centers.  Put in an unfamiliar positions, the Hornets abandoned their advantages of height and rebounding.  Their disciplined rotations were non-existant, because guys were playing spots on the floor they never play.  It became a disaster, and the game got to within 3.

It’s possible the only reason the Hornets won that game was because Karl decided to see if his starters wanted to win for pride’s sake and fed them back in – and Monty matched him, bringing in his own regular starting lineup.  Even then, the Hornets were taking lots of bad shots,  getting no penetration, and only Paul’s shooting saved a bad loss.

I don’t have much else to say about that game.  If we had lost it, my head would have exploded,  and McNamara would have had to get his fiance to do the Podcast with him tomorrow night.  Then what would all you guys do?  I bet I wouldn’t blog so well without a head.

Next game Wednesday.  This team needs a boot in the ass on the offensive end.


  1. bywas2008hornets4ever

    January 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Lmao glad we got the win, fav part, Melo does something stupid… Crowd-“boooooo!” wonder why players dont tell any1 when they want to be traded?

  2. DownUnder

    January 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I was so confused by that ultra small line-up in the 4th aswell. Perfect chance to put Meka in and make the Nuggets shoot. I wouldn’t say the offense was that bad tonight except for the last 15 minutes maybe but I was pretty pleased with fisrt half.

  3. George

    January 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Yeah I’m glad we won but boy did it get ugly. Mek will face a gargantuan task against Dwight Howard-the prototype for the modern NBA big man. Will be good to see how he goes.

    • cp3pdx

      January 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      get Gray ready!

      • TopherPrice

        January 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        I hope Coach watched the game film from last year and understands that was Gray’s career game. I think Gray is the perfect foil for Howard. The test will be if Howard’s “New Jumper” is worth a damn. If not, it should be more of what we saw last season, Gray’s big body keeps Howard too far from the basket to matter.

        The twist is the Magic are more dynamic post-trade, so will that completely matter.

        I would at least like to see if Gray can reproduce his work from that game, but Mek really is playing quite well this last month.

        Center is definitely not our issue at the moment. The last two games have been the anomaly, scoring at the 2 and 3 spots are our issue. Not that I am offering a solution, as I don’t think there is one without a trade. What trade, God knows. I am just glad they are scoring at the moment

      • paul

        January 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm

        Gray atually did well.
        I am surprised he wasn’t used more once Denver started again to pound in the middle.
        I do not have the facts,so I’ll speak with just a feeling I was getting from his game.
        It seemed to me he was preventing any Denver player from getting position under the net.
        I see a few times he had a shot fron just outside, but he tends to look at the bench and then pass off.
        Perhaps he has been told NEVER take that shot.
        Not sure why because he actually has a decent shot just outside the circle.
        His free throw shooting shows this.

        Regardless, he adds to the game without that. He does block out like the Graeat Wall.
        He does clear lanes for drivers.
        He does keep bigger bodies from establishing inside positions.

        These are not stats you can find.
        But he does bring this.

    • Hornet Seantonio

      January 10, 2011 at 12:56 am

      emeka always plays well against howard, its centers with length he has issues with. Emeka is a very strong player and dwight and him are the same height and length.

      • thekeymaster

        January 10, 2011 at 2:16 am

        dude your way off, howard is over 7 foot and has a massive wingspan and verticle, last time the hornets and magic met up dwight dominated emeka. once gray came in he neutralized dwight with his size and girth.

      • Gordon

        January 10, 2011 at 3:17 am

        @keymaster, na, he’s 6 foot 10.25 inches in shoes, not over 7 foot

      • 42

        January 10, 2011 at 7:32 am

        The info pages has Dwight at 6′ 11″ and Emeka at 6′ 10″ tall. So even factoring in understandable inaccuracies, both are under 7′ and are close to the same height.

      • thekeymaster

        January 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

        oh i could’ve sworn i always heard howard touted as a 7 footer, either way it was proven long ago that emeka cannot guard dwight as he is too athletic, and even if not much taller still longer.

      • 42

        January 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

        I think lots of people hear that.

      • paul

        January 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

        Well…I have seen this beast in person.
        His power comes from his shoulders.
        He is WIDE.
        He has long arms.
        And he’s heavy and very strong.
        Okafor has trouble with his size, not heigth.
        Gray did an great job on him, but that’s not always going to happen.
        Refs do tend to give SuperEgoMan calls and certainly don’t Gray.
        Seems weird, but I would approach this game the way Chicago did with O’Neil…use as many big bodies as needed.
        If they get fouls, keep rotation.
        BUT STOP him.
        Is MBenga on the team still?
        Tonight I would activate him AND Gray.
        Lose a guard if needed.
        Tonight we need a few big guys to keep pushing around SuperEgoMan.

  4. JCS

    January 9, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Did you just call Al Harrington a scrub? Lol…

    • 42

      January 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      New Jersey reportedly doesn’t want him . . .

      • Hornet Seantonio

        January 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm

        not cuz hes a scrub, because hes not worth his contract

      • 42

        January 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

        One could argue that there is not much of a practical difference.

        In the one case, the badness is your performance. In the other case, it’s the performance of others that suffers as you end up lowering the ceiling on the talent you can afford.

        In other words, if I have X on my team, then I have a scrub Y on my team, where X and Y may not be distinct.

        Peja is the someone who fits this category.

        Posey fits both.

        Hilton . . . just a scrub.

      • Hornet Seantonio

        January 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        Hold your tongue (or in this case fingers) in regards to The James Posey while in my presence (fav player 4 life)

      • 42

        January 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm

        Let me amend to the latter day Mo Pete.

  5. MaxALM

    January 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Shit, I almost lost it in the 4th. I mean why on earth did we put in that lineup? Awful, no paint protection. I’m sorry, but Green was HORRIBLE today. He had 11 points but that didn’t matter. He was turning the ball over, bad passing, bad shot selection, couldn’t make his open shots, didn’t set up his teammates WHATSOEVER.

    Marcus played 4 good minutes and hardly touched the ball, thanks to Jack and Green making out with each other. Marcus gets the ball, drives to the hoop, hands it off to Mek who draws a foul, and then oops that’s it. Marcus comes out and we don’t see him again. Jack left Afflalo open for a 3, not Marcus. There was 1 mixup on D, but he was +4 in 4 minutes. Green is awful. I’m sorry. He made mistake after bricked shot after mistake. But Monty left him in without a fleeting thought. That’s my only complaint.

    • MaxALM

      January 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      and people say Marcus doesn’t look to pass ever. Jack and Green have been ball hogs period. Green with 1 assist in 25 mins. That’s a recurring trend tho. I’m sick of defending Marcus. Eric Gordon is who he is now because he was given the ample opportunity to work through his mistakes. MT could be that as well if he wasn’t getting screwed over.

      • 42

        January 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

        That’s not the only reason why he’s developed into the player he is.

        And why was he given the opportunity?

      • AgentZiko

        January 10, 2011 at 2:24 am

        Eric Gordon didn’t play AT ALL when the Clippers drafted him. Half the season went by and he averaged 5 min a game, with MANY DNP’s. Then the injury bug hit the Clippers and Eric Gordon came out not only playing offense, but playing AWESOME defense. Dunleavy himself said he was just blown away by Erics defense because it gave them a new dimension to the team.

        If MT did this too… He could be REALLY damn good.

      • Monty'sDoghouse

        January 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

        It’s funny how quickly we forget the part where Marcus had a phenomenal rookie campaign. How can you even defend Monty after a game like this? Speaking of defense, where has Willie Green’s gone?

      • 42

        January 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

        You read Monty in a places where people don’t write it.

        Settle down.

      • AgentZiko

        January 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

        Again. You’re putting words in my mouth Doghouse.

        Get it through your THICK skull. I just gave Marcus half a compliment. Think about it. We ALL know Marcus can score. Imagine if he was a really tough defender? Who would he be as good as? Eric Gordon.

        Lets just pretend we had Eric Gordon instead of Marcus. That be pretty bad ass, right?


        The problem? I really don’t think he wants to be. All defense is, is hard work. It’s been half a season so far bro. Even when he comes into the game, he doesn’t show improvement. It makes such little sense to me. And when I watched him warm up prior to the Laker game, and saw the pouty look on his face…

        Dude. Just please understand that NO COACH IN THE WORLD would not play a guy as good as Marcus unless there was SOMETHING that he was doing wrong.

        I KNOW he can score. He’s shown that THIS season in a few good games he has had. But he’s also shown that he regresses too.


        I truthfully would have preferred if we kept Bayless because I think he’s a WAY better defender than Jack and we could have molded him into what we want because he’s younger.

        And when we had Bayless, I was excited to have a REALLY energetic back court of Bayless and Thornton. HIGH POWERED OFFENSE off the bench.

        We traded Bayless. Thornton isn’t developing into what we need for THIS team.

        I don’t WANT to trade Marcus, but I think it be best FOR HIM if we traded him. Think about it.

        Marcus’s contract expires after this season. Who’s gonna give him a contract after he sat on the bench all season? No one. At least no one will give him a good one.

        Lets say we trade Marcus to Charlotte for Stephen Jackson and Marcus goes nuts and averages 15 points a game for Charlotte as their starter. Don’t you think Charlotte will sign him for 4-6 million a year?

        Whether you believe it or not, I REALLY like Marcus. But it’s not working for THIS team. It just isn’t. I want to see the guy do good. I want to see him get his pay day. I don’t want to see him rot on our bench.

        Please Doghouse, understand what I am saying. I am giving Marcus a BIG compliment saying this:

        Aside from CP and DWest, Marcus is the most valuable chip we have on our roster. More valuable than Okafor. Emeka has a terrible contract that doesn’t get back equal value if traded. Marcus has an UNDERVALUED contract. He makes $762,195 in a season. Not even a million bro.

        If he wants to do better than that, especially with the looming lockout, his best bet is to be traded to a weaker team (like we were last season) where he could SHINE.

        I’m not just trying to throw Marcus away. Again dude, I really like him. I just don’t think he fits on this years team. He’s kind of the odd man out.

        You can blame Monty. But Monty came in and IS TRYING to implement a system around CHRIS PAUL AND DAVID WEST. Not Marcus Thornton.

        I don’t think you’re mad at Monty for his “coaching”. I think you’re mad at him for not playing Marcus.

      • 42

        January 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

        In Marcus’ defense, he always looks pouty. It’s part of his charm.

      • Hornet Seantonio

        January 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        i think ziko is trying to say he doesn’t dislike marcus 😉

      • paul

        January 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

        To many notes Beethoven!!!

    • George

      January 10, 2011 at 12:18 am

      “thanks to Jack and Green making out with each other” hahaha. I actually did see Marcus open in the corner with his arms outstretched shouting for the ball but it seemed like Jack was trying to avoid even making eye contact with him

      • ur_gmas_daughter

        January 10, 2011 at 12:38 am

        I was watching the game with a Nugget fan and we BOTH saw that and we were looking at each other wondering what the hell happened and then on cue he was like “Thornton must’ve hooked up with Jack’s sister!” hahaha

  6. 42

    January 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    I saw some differences in the first half.

    D and other guys were getting the ball with Paul off in the corner, then rotation followed if the ball wasn’t dumped or the defense didn’t clear to cover X. D, Ariza, and Chris all benefited from this early.

    Gray and Quincy got in early, which is new.


  7. Mark

    January 10, 2011 at 1:32 am

    If you watched the Kings-Nuggets game three days ago, you’d see that same nonchalance from Melo, trickling down to the rest of the team (sans NeNe… sometimes).

    He really doesn’t care, so it’s pretty evident they need to trade him so their season doesn’t go completely naught. And, uh, geaux Hornets.

  8. Mikey

    January 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

    This is a public service message from the Department of There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Win Department:

    Its amazing how you can win games when you actually make your FT attempts.
    How bad were the Nuggets in the 2nd quarter? Aaron Gray could do no wrong.

    • 42

      January 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

      I’m not so sure. I think D West stopped his “And 1” cries when Gray was on the floor . . . I think those Rocky Mountain Oysters do a number on the guy and D West didn’t want to be misunderstood . . .

  9. 42

    January 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

    3 games tonight that overlap with the title game.


    Thank all that is holy that we don’t have a home game tonight.

  10. JCS

    January 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

    It’s bad enough one of my favorite big men went to New York, but now word on the street is CP is going to Brooklyn with Melo. Yuck.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      January 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

      AGAIN, someone please give me an even somewhat plausible scenario that NJ can offer us to pry CP3 away. Brook Lopez is about all they have left. They will probably trade their plethora of draft picks, Favors, and Harris. Sorry. Dell Demps will not feel sorry for New Jersey when he sees their caller ID and doesn’t even pick up the phone, considering NJ said Lopez was 100% off limits. This is the same scenario that won’t land Melo in his preferred destination, New York.

      • 42

        January 10, 2011 at 11:19 am

        They will get some secondary contracts to deal with, like Hamilton and Billups, under the current rumored deal. Putting together another deal isn’t out of the realm of possibility. However, I don’t think Paul is going anywhere this year. What happens next year will depend upon the facts at the time.

      • AgentZiko

        January 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm

        They aren’t trying to trade for CP. They are hoping he signs there in 2 years.

      • JCS

        January 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

        B-E-Z Doghouse. The article was about Paul’s free agency, but not a trade.

  11. Monty'sDoghouse

    January 10, 2011 at 10:56 am

    And it’s really not worth listing all the “I told you so’s” regarding this game.

    We won. They lost.

    The refs were terrible except for the final 2 minutes. It’s as if they figured out they screwed us all game and were determined to make amends.

    At one point, Chris got called for an offensive foul and then got called for a blocking foul the VERY NEXT PLAY in what was a mirror image of the previous play.

  12. Rocco

    January 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    One particular from Sunday night’s win. When Aaron Gray was playing the Nuggets were practically begging him to shoot, pulling three feet off of him at the foul line! Is the he that offensively-challanged that he can’t attempt a 12 to 15 ft uncontested shot? I’m not upset with the guy, I just don’t know his limitations having never paid attention to his game prior to this season. Go Pollenators!

    • JCS

      January 10, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      His game is pathetic. There’s roughly 430 players in the NBA and he has been one of the 15 largest (height/weight) since he entered the league. Despite this advantage, he averages less than 3 points and rebounds per game. Mind you, he typically gets playing time in blowouts against 3rd string players. Aside from that, he never blocks shots, he fouls every minute, and when he’s not doing that he’s getting called for a violation. If you go on his YouTube “highlights” you will see comments such as, “When I see him, I just start to laugh.” So yeah, the kid is challenged, but it in more ways the one.

      • 42

        January 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm

        5 minutes, 1 foul, 3 rebounds, all defensive. 0 of 1 on shots.

      • paul

        January 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

        You’re nuts.
        That’s putting it gently.
        You have nothing to back up such idiotic statements.
        One more thought…did you EVER stop to think Gray has been given orders on what he can and cannot do?
        He looks at the bench, then passes.
        I have seen this kid shoot that shot from just outside.
        He makes it.
        His freethrows show he can do it.
        However, without knowing WHY he is not taking it yet to say why is stupid.
        Very fickled fan like.

        When Gray was in, ALL Denver inside game was shut down.

        Get real.

  13. James Online

    January 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Two problems: attendance in NOLA and the offensive scheme. They are related. Having attended the Philly and Golden State games in NOLA, the Lakers game in LA and the Sacto game in Sacto, plus watching all the other games on DirecTV, I come to this conclusion: while Chris Paul is an enormously talented player with great passing and shooting skills, his overly determined control of the flow of the offense deadens the attack and the appeal of the team to fans.

    Frankly it isn’t very exciting to watch the Hornets in person, especially in New Orleans where the sparse crowd has little to get excited about.

    What advantage does it give the Hornets to roll the ball slowly up the court so CP3 can pick it up at the last possible microsecond only to cross the midcourt line and stand there pounding the ball for several seconds, or to pass it around the perimeter for several seconds, run the clock down, and then go into a rather panicked offense late in the clock? There is precious little ball or body movement. That overly sedate offense takes away a lot of Trevor and Marco’s games which are based more on slashing and cutting than standing idly in the corner for countless seconds while Chris tries to find David or Meka inside, or Chris drives the lane and shoots or passes back to David for that dependable jumper.

    All of what I describe should be part of the offense. But so much of it? The set offense is just plain stagnant. The unwillingness to run is even more frustrating. The Hornets never push the ball. Chris demands the ball after every rebound and then very deliberately does his predictable thing. Honestly, the Hornets’ best asset also proves to be its biggest problem. I’m not saying they should change their style of play completely, but from the beginning of the year I have been astounded by how unimaginative and predictable their offense is. That makes for a very limited offense that fails to take advantage of the talent they’ve got (especially the wings) and certainly does not create an exciting performance for the fans to appreciate and support.

    The Hornets are just too methodical and dependent on their two stars to carry the weight. That gets a fair share of wins, but will not move them up to the next level or create an atmosphere at the Arena that will draw many fans.

    Final note: Monty Williams is a good coach. Bright and ethical. I like him. But why does he insist on sitting Marco just five or six minutes into every game, regardless of how well he’s playing? Marco has hit an opening three in the last three games, played excellent defense (esp on Artest in LA), and then rides the pine right away. Cut Marco loose. Five shots last night? He’s a team player and does not want to take bad shots but doesn’t get the ball for long stretches and sometimes then tries to make something happen. If the offense were to bring everyone into an advantageous position, we’d see a lot more production from him and others.

    CP3 is talented, no doubt. But he’s a control freak and that hurts the team.

    • sundance

      January 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      ur bak! I like what you say most times but you’re wrong about Chris. Nobody attracts more defenders than Chris, which creates opportunities for others, including Marco, and Chris is so good at making the most out of that.

      Part of Beli’s problem is he’s too willing to make the pass and won’t attack the defense, which is a reason why he gets pulled. But I think Monty understands what he’s got in Marco because if the O does start to stagnate it seems he will take a TO to set up a play just for him.

      • QueenBee

        January 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

        “ur bak! I like what you say most times but you’re wrong about Chris.”

        Dead wrong. So wrong, I stopped reading after that.

    • Hornet Seantonio

      January 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

      i agree to a certain degree 😉 with james online. I talked about it in one of the threads, im not sure how cp would play with a melo or a kobe, granger or lebron (a player that doesnt need him, players who can take the ball create their own offense). Hes definitely a ball hog, and most of the time it works out great

      • QueenBee

        January 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

        “Hes definitely a ball hog, and most of the time it works out great”

        Chris Paul loveeed playing on Team USA. Didn’t need to be a ball hog on that team and he realized it will probably be the best team he’ll ever play on.

        I remember watching a game a good while ago and Hubie Brown was one of the commentators. 2 possessions straight, Posey and another player (can’t remember) couldn’t handle the ball. They were losing it out of bounds and what not. Hubie Brown said “now this is why Chris Paul should be the one handling the ball”. LOL!! I thought that was sad. Funny and true, but sad.

  14. Thornton's Thunder

    January 11, 2011 at 5:54 am

    ‘James Online’, I couldn’t agree with you more!! Very well stated; I’ve mentioned much of the same in previous posts! I, as well as many others we’ve spoken with, feel the same!

  15. QueenBee

    January 11, 2011 at 11:26 am

    The Hornets Beat the Nuggets. Carmelo, Billups, Nene were there. They aren’t scrubs. It’s not the Hornets fault they didn’t play well. Or maybe it is. Hahaha!

  16. QueenBee

    January 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    After every rebound the only reason I’d want Chris Paul calling for the ball is because I cringe when others bring the ball up. Another guard bringing it up is fine but I don’t want to see West or Trevor Ariza bring the ball up. Don’t have to worry about Emeka doing that but both West and Trevor look like a turnover ready to happen when they bring the ball up the floor. When Paul is on the floor with another guard, there are lots of times the other guard brings the ball up the floor. Paul doesn’t bring it up all the time. He does call for it a lot on a fast break when he wants to push it though. As he damn well should.

    • 42

      January 11, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Handle the ball . . . ball hog . . .

      Distribute the ball . . . needs to take over games . . .

      I get lost . . .

      • f.g. di bene

        January 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

        complaining because the best pg in the game handles the ball is nonsense. maybe the team (and cp3) needs to start the offense before the 20th second passed, i think it’s the only reason of complaining.

      • 42

        January 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm


    • 42

      January 11, 2011 at 11:41 am

      We have Chris . . . he produces basketball games that are the bad for attendance . . .

      We lose Chris . . . no one will come . . .

      I’m still lost . . .

      • Hornet Seantonio

        January 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

        as long as he gives me 20 and 10 a game im sound as a pound

      • paul

        January 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        42…your problem is you think things are supposed to kind of tie together.
        Dude..this is fandom.
        No real thinking required.

      • nikkoewan

        January 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

        @Paul: that made me laugh

      • 42

        January 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        Oh yeah . . . that’s right.

        Sorry about that guys. I’ll try to babble once a day.

        Thanks for setting me straight.

        P.M. Dawn anyone?

  17. Thornton's Thunder

    January 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    These points are valid; however, because Chris is a phenomenal PG doesn’t mean everything he does is what’s best for this team! These observations are clearly evident when watching the games…I’m assuming you do watch the games! I believe the only way to making our team better is to try not to overlook when there is room for improvement…even if it does pertain to CP3! I don’t believe that we should allow the awesome things Chris is known for, be the very thing which forces us to close our minds to what he could do better!

  18. NolaHog

    January 12, 2011 at 6:20 am

    ESPN was going on and on about how the Cavs got crushed by 55 points last night. Has Byron Scott ever suffered a more embarrassing loss than this?

    Oh. . . wait a second. It’s still not as bad as the 58 points that we lost by. . . in the playoffs. I don’t care if Denver had their scrubs in or not. I want to beat Denver. . . BADLY, everytime we play them. Thank you Hornets, now let’s go whoop some Magic ASS!

    • 42

      January 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

      No one drops 60 on us in our house!

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