The Hornets come back and Edge the Rockets

By:
Published: January 14, 2011

For three quarters the Hornets were losing as the Rockets were nailing a ton of mid-range jumpers and the Hornets were turning the ball over way more often than they normally do.  As a result, they gave up a season high 20 fast break points by the end of the third.  Then the fourth and overtime came along, the Hornets defense clamped down and the Rockets couldn’t get easy shots to save their life.  Even the decent looks they got via Martin or Lowry required a lot of work to generate.  Well, other than the two easy shots Scola had at the end of overtime.  Those were wide open, and he choked.  Dodged a pair of bullets there and the Hornets pull out their second overtime victory, 110-105.(Box Score)

Okafor

Emeka Okafor was huge in that game.  He was making key baskets, controlling the boards for the Hornets, providing key help defense and even hit key free throws to keep the game in reach.  He was huge, and I’d give him the game ball.  I’m so pleased to be able to say that about the big man.

Chris Paul

Even before his sprained ankle, Chris Paul looked out of sorts and slow and Lowry outplayed him pretty thoroughly.  He wasn’t driving, his mid-range shot wasn’t hitting, and when Lowry was fast breaking against him, Paul never really accelerated to challenge him at all.  It was disconcerting.  Then, he hurt his ankle, and he got even more complacent.  I kinda wanted Monty to pull him, but started watching him and saw something I really liked.  Defensively, he was still getting after it.  He guarded Kevin Martin in the second half better than any other Hornet Guard did, keeping on Martin’s hip and never going for the pumpfakes he used against Willie Green for easy shots.  Happily, with Jack playing fairly well, he was just able to let Jack carry the ball-handling load on offense and focus on the other end in the fourth.  Of course, in OT, he gets a steal, layup, limps slowly back down court, goes full speed defensively, and then drills two from the elbow to put the Hornets ahead for good.  The guy is a gamer.

David West

David West frustrated me through three quarters as he refused to help on all those screens Lowry and Martin kept running off of.  In fact, the big run to get the Hornets back in was because Jason Smith was out there, and he was blitzing those screens.  I can say all that, but if Fluffy’s offense wasn’t out there in full effect in the fourth, this game was over.  They couldn’t guard him, and that dunk he put down on Jared Jeffries was “holy crap” sick.  This guy gets like 10 dunks a season, and I’ve NEVER seen him dunk on someone’s head before.  Just an awesome moment.

Other Observations

  • I understand statistically why I should love Kevin Martin’s game, but I hate watching him play.  I hate it.  He purposely plays like a ragdoll and generates almost every bit of contact he “receives”.  Essentially, he imitates those plays by Kobe that I hate because they are crap, and you know Kobe doesn’t need them to do well – except Kobe does them like twice a game.  They ARE Kevin Martin’s game.
  • Aaron Gray had some nice minutes even with his stupid fouls on screens.  Their second unit couldn’t handle him, and it helped tremendously.
  • Willie Green was awful.  I have to be careful talking about Green because I’m kinda against him anyways, but Willie Green was awful tonight.  He was always two steps behind Kevin Martin, and he got burned over and over trying to guard him.  He was just way overmatched, and I was glad to see him sit in favor of Jack for most of the second half.  Green was a -17 for the game in 22 minutes.  Ouch.
  • Jack, on the other hand, played really well.  Yeah, his ball-handling(1 turnover? West got credited with two that were his fault then) that generated the big Houston run in the third was painful, but otherwise he played a solid, steady game, got into the paint, and generally took shots he should take.  I liked what he gave us, and he was +20 for the game.
  • In fact, tonight, Jason Smith, Jarret Jack and Aaron Gray gave the second unit a big boost with their play.  It’s nice to say that.
  • Pondexter looked like a confused rookie out there.  Solid defense, but he was still outmatched by the savvy play of Battier.
  • On the last defensive play, when the Rockets were looking to foul, they doubled Paul purposely with Ariza’s guy.  When Ariza received the pass, two Rockets blitzed him as fast as they could to fould him.  They wanted him on the line badly.
  • Ariza struggled for three straight quarters, and then had several huge plays in the fourth and overtime.  Whenever he pulls up on a drive and shoots it, I’m just praying the rest of the Hornets are getting back on defense. He ain’t making it.
  • Thornton rebounded well as usual, but was missing his shots and pressing a little.  I was fine with seeing a Jack-Paul backcourt.

Bobcats tomorrow!  Let’s hope the overtime game doesn’t sap their energy too much.

48 comments
JCS
JCS

Glad we won. Disappointed with the amount of fouls. Aaron Gray's one foul per minute shows us how inefficient he is once again.

Westbank Ripp
Westbank Ripp

I understand Monty is a rookie Head Coach, but he's coming up dredfully short in game management and substitutions. At the end of two games he failed to foul when a two pointer couldn't beat us. Orlando hit the 3 when fouling prior to the shot was obvious. He also shows that Byron Scott arrogance. He refuses to admit he is wrong, even if his decisions are to the detriment of the team. AND one more time, it was nice to see someone besides Chris Paul get assists.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Mikey...oh Mikey, I appreciate you doing the 'politically correct' thing! But let's ASSUME you're right. Maybe Monty can continue to use the "matchup" crutch as his defense! As I mentioned in the previous post, Monty clearly stated that he was NOT going to play Marcus against Orlando! FACT: MARCUS WENT OFF!!!!!!! Need we say more!

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

WOW! 'Westbank Ripp' and 'Just A Fan', I appreciate you calling if for what it really is, particularly when so many others have touched on the very same thing. I get it...we don't expect anyone to be 'perfect'; however, when you've been around the game as much as Monty has, you'd expect these fundamental principals, the ones we learn in junior high, be remembered! What's the deal with Green? Yes, we all know they have history together, but does that history have you staying with a guy (you know is hurting you) rather than give someone else an opportunity... hell, wouldn't they deserve that? Speaking in terms of Thornton, why would Monty be so 'remarkably fast' to place Marcus on the bench, while being so resistant to pulling Green, when he's obviously not pulling his load. I was sure that Marcus would see a fair amount of minutes this time around, especially after having such an outstanding game...but wasn't I an idiot. I thought Jack was outstanding! The guy was feeling it, and I can certainly understand why you would try and keep him on the floor (can't understand why we sat Jack at the start of the second half) but Marcus clearly should have seen the floor more last night. Oh yeah, Marcus did go in with about 10 seconds left in overtime (for about 3 seconds and then back to the bench). Need I say anything regarding Green's DEFENSE? C'mon Monty, it's blatently obvious that something's wrong, and I don't believe it's Marcus, whatsoever. Speaking in terms of player development, I have seen you go out of your way to bring the guy down, whether you realize it or not (that's being nice, since you should certainly know), and it's so sad! After the Orlando game, you spoke on 106.7, and regarding Marcus, you spoke very briefly on how Marcus had done pretty good for us, but then you topped it off with a sweet cherry by closing it by saying, 'since he was not going to play tonight'. Tell me Monty, how can you have determined the guy would not play before the game had even started, particularly knowing the type of performance he had just had moments earlier. Hopefully Marcus was feeling pretty good that he was able to help his team in that way, and then he hears your comments... Having that predetermination wasn't the deal breaker for me though, it was that you didn't care enough to keep that to yourself or within the privacy of your team, you seemed to care so little that you so eloquently spoke that to the media, YET AGAIN!!! SO MUCH FOR PLAYER CONFIDENCE!!! Just as we have certain expectations placed on our players, we have the same sort of expectations of you, sir. As no one expects you to patronize anyone, I would like to see you try and keep things on a positive note, when your player came through for you in such a big way. As a player, how would you feel? If you really don't want this guy on your team, do me a favor, TRADE HIM! I'm a fan, and will continue to be a fan and would hate to lose him (I believe he has shown he has so much to offer our team), but I'd rather see him on a unit where he may have the opportunity to grow and develop in this league. At this point, I wouldn't have been surpirse if I'd seen that Marcus be listed as INACTIVE! It only seems fitting for what I've been seeing. I'd love to experience something new and fresh. I'd like to see when Marcus can hit the floor with more confidence in his abilities. Imagine what he, or any player, could do if they felt that they were put on the court, not because they were the best of the worst options (that's based on your actions), but because as we know mistakes would be made (just as we've seen veterans in this league make mistakes), we could for once tell Marcus, when he looks toward the bench because he knows he's coming out, say something like this...'no you're in...you deserve to be here right now...'. Marcus, keep working hard, and I hope you stay focused on what you have to do. Someone's going to value what you bring to the table. We know there's alot to learn in this league, but hopefully, someone will have the confidence in you and even believe in you when you may not believe in yourself. I feel you've earned that and certainly do deserve that! Hell, we'll even bring the 'Thornton's Thunder' banner with us on the road when we come to see you...and you know we'll be there! Great game Jack! You were amazing last night. Good win guys...appreciate you sticking it out till the end! You stayed in it to win it, and that showed alot of heart! WAY TO GO!

Mikey
Mikey

Okay... time to defend Monty for a second. Fact: Despite Green's poor play last night, the Hornets still pulled it out. Fact: The Hornets have another game tonight. With the guard rotation shortened due to Marco's injury, and CP coming up lame, it makes sense to have a fresh guard ready to play tonight. Fact: This defense of Monty is moot if Marcus doesn't play tonight. We don't know anything about what Monty is thinking in terms of game planning and match-ups. Perhaps he favors Marcus more in match-ups against Charlotte's guards than he does against Houston. Perhaps he doesn't want Marcus to fall into another slump, and pulled him out after his missed a couple of shots because he doesn't want negative momentum to build. We really don't know.

paul
paul

Gray comment...sorry. He's who I am a huge fan of, so bear with me. Gray was called for some tacky calls last night. 2 of which would have been seen as sound defense when used against Howard the previous game. Inconsistant refs make the game maddening. In 3 minutes, even with 2 horribly called fouls, he scored. He blocked out and rebounded. He actually formed driving lanes for his guys. So you mean to tell me Monty had no use for him in the second half? He still was good for 3 more fouls...IF he even gets them. The fact he wasn't put in..ever...when they were getting killed inside again tells me Monty is inconsistant with his players. He leaves Green in AFTER Green's fouls are causing him to allow drives past him, affraid of getting just one more foul and being pulled from the game. He stays in. His allowing these drives for self protection caused 4 point turn-arounds. Things like that piss off fellow teammates and kill a teams spirit. S T U P I D.

Just A Fan
Just A Fan

Couldn't agree with you more Ripp. If he continues to coach this way all we will ever be is a middle of the pack team. We will win games from play by individual players and never by coaching. I mean what idiot does not start your leading scorer at half-time in the third. You don't even put him in until you have either blown the lead or have almost blown it. (last 2games) You would think the assistant coaches would step up. Isn't that why they're being paid???

Westbank Ripp
Westbank Ripp

Ok, I'm going to say it. Monty is an idiot! How is it that MT5 can be MVP the last game and only get 11 min this gm? Some say he wasn't playing well, if he doesn't come out on fire, back to the bench he goes. Come on, that's got to mess with his head and affect his performance. I know it's got me messed up, and I don't mean messed! 4 rebounds and an assist in 11 min is pretty good to me. Let's see if Jack after finally giving us a good performance will get less than 15 min of run. Monty is Byron Scott on steroids!

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Where's that guy that said Jack could never replace MT's 22 points from the Orlando game? IMO 8-14 with 5 assists does that. Meanwhile, MT looked like he was pressing every minute he was out there. Green did look bad at times, but MT couldn't hang with Martin either. Belly would have done better on that end than Green did. It is amazing how well CP3 can defend guys like Martin and LeBron when he is motivated....

Mark
Mark

I'm not in the appropriate field of health care (i.e. not sports medicine), so I'm interested to know exactly how athletes recuperate or sustain their bodies through some of these injuries. I know athletes are freaks of nature and combined with modern medicine, time line is minimized, but I also know when I get an actual sprained ankle, I'm done 2-3 weeks. Anybody know?

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

New Poll... Better Dunk: Ariza flying over McGee West tomhawks on Jeffries

chris
chris

im sorry but i disagree with some of the comments. i like willie and he has come up big in quite a few games for us. i would love marcus to get more minutes but saying willie has to go is a little over the top.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

great game... wanted to see marcus get more pt. Also i think we should trade our first rounder for randolph. knicks are trying to move him and i think hed be an amazing fit

Gec
Gec

I agree with all you wrote Ryan, but i don't accept Buckets's minutes. Willie Minutes tonight belonged to Marcus, he needs some consistency in his minutes. We nearly lost the game during the third quarter because Martin was creating offense that make them hot, aggressive and dangerous on both ends! Monty didn't deserve this one, now we all should say: why on earth Buckets didn't play more after a game where he was the MVP (coMVP at least) and when Green was that terrible? No disrispect for Willie, he is a professional and so forth. But he has not a bright future. He neither has a bright present nor a bright career. FREE MARCUS In other hand he (Monty) did the right choises, using jack in the fourth and playing with CP3 (i hope he's ok) on Martin 'Meka MVP of the game. I wanted us to go to him at least once in overtime when the Chuckwagon was on West. I expected him and DW (omg that dunk was awesome!) to have a great night cause they were against their bad, shorter and not as much athletic alteregos. I'm amazed he didn't say "OH AND ONE!" on that dunk!

James Grayson
James Grayson

Real odd win considering we didn't really play all that well. David West's dunk was all that and a bag of potato chips.

NolaHog
NolaHog

Holy Shit! After that West dunk I knew we had that game. When David West is dunking on people's heads and Okafor & Ariza are making free throws, then you know it's our night. My man Jason Smith also had some solid minutes and contributed greatly to the comeback. Paul was fairly absent on the offensive end until the very end, when the assasin that we all know so well made his token appearance. I think this is one of our bigger wins of the season, because this has been the type of game that we have lost all season. We've all become accustomed to a big win followed by a big letdown game to an inferior opponent, but they finally broke the cycle tonight. Fantastic, gutsy win for the Hornets.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Great observations about Kevin Martin's 'game' Ryan. I agree on everything.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

really frustrating game to watch. just glad the hornets won. monty's rotations have been suspect lately, okafor and gray were killing the rockets in the first half so i don't know why we didn't see more of that. willie has got to go, he's devin brown 2.0 except marginally better. i don't hate willie and he has had some nice games for us but he is not an upgrade over thornton. hell jack played better as a SG tonight and i thought with jack and paul on the court at the same time could cause some havoc for teams, especially if cp3 is on as well. mek has been a beast lately putting up pretty big scoring numbers (for mek) and some big rebound numbers. glad so see he's starting to click with the rest of the team. if mek plays this well the rest of the season i think he's worth every penny. hopefully we take it to charlotte tomorrow night and get a big blowout win.

Schmide234
Schmide234

O_O THAT DUNK LOOKED RIDICULOUS IN FULL MOTION. HOLY JUNK DWEST THREW DOWN!!!

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Very surprising/awesome win. I honestly didn't think we were going to pull it out.

DownUnder
DownUnder

I didnt think we really deserved this win but we've lost so many 4th quarter leads in the past that its good to dish one out.

Jordan
Jordan

Jarrett Jack was straight up BALLIN' out there tonight! And it wasn't even just the shots that were falling, but he was also finding the open guys and making plays! Definitely been waiting for him to show that, and I think a backcourt of Mr. Jack with CP has the potential to be killer! Trevor Ariza was struggling throughout, but did come up with some HUGE plays down the stretch, and, for the most part, played his usually stout D. And ma boy EMEKA! This dude is comin up big time for us, and I am absolutely LOVIN it! It's been awesome watching his development and his finding his right spots on the floor. We need to reel off another big time streak of W's! Now is the time! No let up in Charlotte tomorrow night! League Pass time baby! Let's Go!

Stefan
Stefan

I like the Jack-Paul back court. It's nice having a second ball handler. The guy can play. I was proud.

20
20

Is Chris Paul's ankle ok?

42
42

Very efficient at racking up fouls. Given your blind hatred of the man, his fouling should make you happy. Odd that it does not . . .

paul
paul

Oh, man...to many words for me! I felt like I was reading Kant!

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Well said. That is one giant chunk of passionate writing. Did you notice that he said they needed Willie's size out there on K-Mart today but we end up defending him with the 6 foot Chris Paul? I wish I could remember that word that started with "hypo" and ended with "crit".

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

If you think for one second that he pulled Marcus Thornton due to not wanting him to "slump", you are delusional. His rationale for starting Green (and he said this pregame) was that they "needed his defense tonight". His defense was nothing short of tragic.

42
42

Lots of folks think we have the worst bench in the association. Others think it's the worst except for a pet player. I think they are all wrong. I'm not goIng to argue overall performance to date being poor; it was. I think changes in the deployment, usage, and plays will improve it. I think we are seeing that. On a related note: look at Cleveland's play without James, and now consider how they will fare without their foofy-headed big. They were 'the best' for most of last year . . . But that was horse-hockey. They 'covered' to used Mr. McNamara's term, and it's a good one. We are leaning on our guys and making them perform, really seeing what we have. I like that. The truth hurts, but if you ignore it you end up getting what you have in Cleveland. Avoiding that should be a high priority.

m-W
m-W

Mikey, if you're right, maybe Monty is smarter than we are crediting him for. The problem is he has consistently jerked Thornton and Gray around, with no real reason for doing so. Oh, wait, other than that both had bad pre-seasons. Pre-seasons. (Cue the Iverson clips.) We're talking about pre-season. Plus, I just don't think you should risk one game to the benefit of another. They are all important games. Regardless of whether Jack was playing well tonight, when you see Green struggle mightily against Martin, why not start Buckets to start the 3rd? It couldn't have been any worse. And, you know, Thornton might have scored or something.

m-W
m-W

I'm with you man, I'm with you. If you have a huge 7-footer, you play him. Simple stuff like Jack ducking behind him to create an open look without Gray even doing anything other than being there. Gray's bulk does that where Smith doesn't. Gray is a highly efficient scorer, passer, and rebounder, but just doesn't get the minutes. The ONLY thing that makes sense is he is not an uber-athletic big like apparently Monty wants. But come on, Monty. There is a reason Scalabrines, Battiers, Bruce Bowens, etc. are always sought after. They are smart, they have good instincts, and have honed their skills, despite not being as athletic as, say J.R. Smith or Hilton Armstrong. Come on, Monty!

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

i'd say west's dunk was a lot better since west rarely dunks and bc it was an emphatic slam that brought the hornet's a lot of momentum in the come back win.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

We can't. We already traded it for Bayless and you can't go 2 years in a row without a first round pick.

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

I agree 100%! L_REAZY

Gec
Gec

No wait, i'm watching the video right now and he said OH AND ONE! :D

NolaHog
NolaHog

And I also forgot to mention Ariza again! Double-double tonight, and his follow up basket after his missed three point attempt followed by his corner three pointer in overtime were HUGE. Keep it going, baby!

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

shame on you JOE! HAHA YOU DON'T TRUST OUR TEAM! kidding. great win. can't judge it really until i can download a torrent. But a win is a win. I'll take it. I'll jinx our winning streak and say we lose our next 2 games against CHA and TOR. im crazy like that.

m-W
m-W

Jack was great in the 1st half, but so-so to bad in the 2nd half. My real problem is that he's our backup PG, so to see him come in to spell Green at the 2, and then, later, for Monty to spell Ariza with Thornton was absurd. I just don't understand how Monty can insist on giving Marcus no minutes. As Ryan pointed out, Green was 22 minutes of awful, and offered no defense. So the only "reason" to play him over Buckets was moot. Buckets, given more minutes, obviously would've found the net. Also, Jack NEVER looks for Marcus, so he has to contend with that. Secondarily, Gray was crushing the Houston "bigs" in limited minutes, despite those few bad fouls. To go small and match Houston is stupid. Oak was dominant, Gray was much of the same. Go big, exploit the size mismatch. You don't see the Lakers complaining about how many 7-footers they have and going small. This has been Monty's Achilles Heel. He is a very good coach, who is just confused about his rotations. Figure it out, son.

Stew
Stew

I watched the game at the official watch party at Fox and Hound, and the entire place went BONKERS when he slammed that down. Awesome moment.

QueenBee
QueenBee

That dunk had the entire arena oohing and aahhing. LOL!! That was a serious throwdown by West. And it should've been a foul on Jeffries too.

42
42

Ha. Kant. Good one. Someone might take issue, however, if that is perceived as a swipe at our friend from Konigsburg. Kant is certainly long-winded. I find Hegel, though his works are shorter, to be spend much more ink on much smaller points.

paul
paul

hell, yes.. I'm with you. Never tried to say our bench was great or even sucked. I posted this during the game several times awhile bak. So weary of hearing about our bad bench. Very few teams have uber benches! Again, like you, I think it is only a matter of usage and player combinations. However, last night I think Coach got away with some bad rptations. This happens all the time so no big deal... But I want to see over-all improvement as the winter closes. His use of Green and Gray lst night was not an improvement...to me.

42
42

Monty may have an end that we are unaware of.

Gec
Gec

when he hasn't the pressure of being our third offensive option he does best

MaxALM
MaxALM

yeah, mW, I've noticed that too. Jack almost NEVER looks for Thornton. I think he passed to Thornton a couple times just to initiate the offense, but not to actually set him up. That's very frustrating. I don't understand what Green is doing to get these minutes. Our offense ran THRU Thornton against the MAGIC, and we WON when Marcus played with the STARTERS. Every time Marcus gets PT with the starters, he has a big game. I don't understand it. Why are we not doing that more often??

Jordan
Jordan

Yeah I believe Gray has potential to use his size to somewhat dominate at times, I just wish that he had better hands at times! It seems like there are always a few plays where he is in position to get a rebound and he just can't get a grip. Still, can be good for us. Not sure about the Thornton situation tonight. If anything it was good to see that we do have multiple options on the bench that have the ability to put up points. Can definitely come in handy. I do believe Thornton would've gotten more minutes if Jack hadn't had the game he had. Seemed like Monty wanted to get CP back on the court, but at the same time keep Jack as well, leaving little opportunity for Marcus tonight.