Hornets Struggle Past the Raptors

By:
Published: January 17, 2011

Emeka Okafor, David West, and Jarret Jack. Oh, I thought you asked which Hornets players didn’t stink up New Orleans Arena on Martin Luther King Junior day. Honestly West wasn’t particularly good, but relative to the rest of the team he was great, and as usual he finished strong. Things were ugly for everyone else, but the Hornets prevailed 85-81 over the Toronto Raptors for their fifth straight win.

Even the refs managed to get involved, screwing up a bunch of calls both ways, and just generally looking out of sync. The weather and general atmosphere of New Orleans is a little strange today, and everything seems to be moving a little slower than normal. That’s saying something around here, so maybe everyone can use that as an excuse.

I’m not sure what to make of this game so I’ll just go straight to bullets-

  • Monty Williams was doing some strange subbing today. I’d like to say it’s because we were playing the Raptors, but sometimes I wonder if he’s making any progress on figuring out how to use all the wing players. It’s a complicated situation for sure.
  • Jarret Jack looked comfortable running the offense. If Paul has to miss a few games at some point for whatever reason it’s clear that Jack can handle point guard duties. I also really like how Paul and Jack play together in the backcourt. In a few months most of us are going to look on the deal that sent Peja out of town a lot more fondly than we do today.
  • Chris Paul was so off his game that Monty had him on the bench until there were four minutes left in the fourth quarter. He doesn’t look 100% out there, and it doesn’t surprise me to hear that he’s nursing a minor injury in his ankle of some sort. Still, 6 points on 8 shots, 11 assists, 0 turnovers, and 3 steals isn’t horrific by any means.
  • Without Okafor the Hornets lose this by 20 or 25.

  • Someone with really high confidence couldn’t shoot at all today. I think if one of the first couple layups had gone in things would have gone much differently.
  • Like Sam Holako said in the preview, Bargnani is a brutal defender. It’s like he’s not even trying most of the time.
  • Quincy Pondexter wasn’t as awful as everyone else. He also only played 6 minutes.
  • Julian Wright looked like he often did on his good days in New Orleans. I still wasn’t too impressed.
  • Belinelli was pressing a little too hard to pay back the Raptors for trading him, and it didn’t work out.
  • Attendance was 15,155. Not too bad, but the next three games need to be better than that.
  • Samuel L. Jackson and Luke Wilson were in the house. They are in town shooting a movie.
  • The Hornets are now only 4 games back of the second seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the West.

Enjoy your MLK Day.

81 comments
David
David

Watching the Celtics tonight, we definitely should have inked Shaq in the offseason. Would have solved that bag up big man problem (He's very productive playing his 20 min. a game), wouldn't have impeded our offense (We already play at one of the slowest paces in the NBA, he would've fit right in), and he would have significantly boosted the attendance numbers (sigh). Oh well, hopefully we can find a backup big at the deadline, but its not looking likely at this point....

Gec
Gec

shaq wanted a big big contender.

kibner
kibner

Shaq wanted like quadruple of what Boston is paying him to play for the Hornets.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Paul's ankle isn't bothering him. He just sucks. There. :) Remember, he's not a top tier pg anymore. :?

QueenBee
QueenBee

Truth be told, Belinelli probably shouldn't have even played today. He wanted to come play against his former team but ended up not doing all that well. CP hurt his ankle in Houston but had a decent game in his 34 minutes played the next night in Charlotte. Ankle injuries are funny though.

sundance
sundance

I don't disagree, he wasn't 100%. But sometimes playing against your former team, you can use their knowledge of them to your advantage. I thought he defended Demar fairly well and knew enough to defend Bargnani when West left him alone at the 3pt line.

JCS
JCS

Excellent win and happy MLK day.

jtshoopsblog
jtshoopsblog

All I have to say uis u guys better thank your lucky star that Emeka had those 12 offensive boards because the final score would have been in the opposite direction.

MaxALM
MaxALM

@jts every time you post on this blog it's to say "the Hornets will lose" or "should lose" or "almost lost" and then you disappear. Just letting you know.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Thank you lucky stars. ;)

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

I kissed my lucky star this morning the minute I woke up this morning. I'm guessing you're a raptor fan? You should thank Chris Paul for having an off night because if he didn't we would have throttled you so bad you would have been embarrassed to head back to Canada. And that woulda happened even if you had a full roster, buddy.

Buzz
Buzz

is it me or has this site gone really negative with the post-game analysis? I've been thinking this for a while now, but I think for a team that is 26-16 on the year and that has gone 5 straight (2nd best in NBA at the moment) a little credit needs to be given. For some reason we have these enormous expectations of what the team should do every night, that just isn't realistic. Is it surprising that we have an off game playing, at home, the 31%, Bosh-less, Barbosa-less, Kleiza-less, Bayless-less (hmm?) Raptors who's best weapon is 7ft jump-shooting golem. Most teams would get complacent against them. Last year or the year before we would have lost this game, but this year, more often than not we'll do just enough to get over the line, which we did. I know things aren't fantastic in New orleans at the moment off the court, but c'mon. I'm getting depressed after reading the game analysis of our 5th straight win. The game wasn't that bad. Bring the expectations down a bit, we're playing alright.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

It's the hypocrisy of it all. The Hornets consistently say they are a "work-horse team" and that they don't have the talent. When lately, it seems that it is the other way around. They do have talent. That much is obvious when you come back from double digit second half leads. They haven't brought the effort. Man. If these guys were diving for loose balls and hustling their fannies off every game, no one could say anything. But they don't. Their millionaires that leave effort out there on the court. It's what made that 8-0 start so special. You could visibly tell that we wanted it more than the other team. You want to be a "work-horse team". Bring your all every night. Hell, if I say Willie Green diving for loose balls, taking charges, and fouling hard, I would praise his effort even though I think Thornton is a clear upgrade. The only person I see giving 100% every night lately, oddly enough, is Emeka Okafor. But, yes, people in general should be happy with a 5-game win streak. If this was against Den,SA,Dal, and Utah, we'd be pumped I think. I guess people just look at it right now and say, this effort against a good team would have been a double-digit loss in all likelihood.

42
42

If my grandmother had balls, she'd be my grandfather. Any team team can beat any other team once. The same goes for losing, perforce. What's your point? Doing this over and over doesn't lead to a title? I agree.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Like I've said already, the Raptors routinely give the Hornets fits. With or without Bosh. No NBA team should be taken lightly. The Hornets aren't so good that they can overlook a team and play said teams record and think they can win just by showing up. It just don't work like that. The Hornets have to bring it each and every night. No game is a gimme.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Was reading the comments in the last Blog, and I can't help but have to point some things out: Paul: 1-8 Ariza: 2-8 Belinelli: 1-5 Green: 3-10 Thornton: 2-10 That's a combined 9-41 in shooting. One of the things that I cannot seem to understand is how people can criticize Monty Williams for this. I read in the last blog that Monty was doing a terrible job "coaching". I obviously wasn't AT the game, but I did watch it on League Pass from my desk. And I just don't get how people can blame a coach when this is the outcome of the game. Sometimes, it just HAPPENS that guys struggle to put the ball in the hole. My take: Paul: His ankle is bothering him enough to effect him on the court. It's not a big deal. He'll be fine. But I get it, and I'm not surprised. He really just needs some rest. He took the same shots he always shoots, they just weren't falling. Ariza: This is what we're consistently going to get from Trevor. A few games where he's playing awesome, and a few games where you want to rip your hair out because of him. He's really not a scorer, but is asked to be one of ours on this team. No surprised he's so inconsistent. And it wasn't that he took that bad of shots. He took shots in the flow of the offense, or towards the end of the shot clock, they just weren't falling. Belinelli: First game back from his injury and it's against his former team. That's a recipe for a disaster. I would have waited til after this game to activate him, honestly. I watched CP drive and kick to Marco on multiple plays and got him open 3's. I think he'll need a game or two to find his in game rhythm. Green: He just shouldn't be taking 10 shots in a game. I'm sorry. He shouldn't. And HE should know better than to do so. He had a mixed bag of bad shots, and open shots, but if he'd just stick to ONLY shooting open shots, I'd be ok with it. It's the ones where he tries to create for himself I get frustrated. Look to pass more Willie. Thornton: He did a good job attacking, but wasn't getting very many calls going his way, as was the rest of the team. But here's my issue with Marcus. If you can play 16 minutes and take 10 shots, you need to find a way to create for others. I know someone will say "Marco and Willie had 0 assists too". I KNOW they did. But either way, they are not SLASHERS like Marcus is. Belinelli is a spot up shooter. Willie Green is a... Defensive minded player. Let's just say that Marcus Thornton only took 6 shots today, and on the other 4 drives, he had dished to Okafor and West, and gotten 4 assists. Wouldn't a stat line of 8 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal on 2-6 shooting in 16 minutes sound REALLY good? That's what I want to see from Marcus. THAT will get him more time. Other than Chris Paul, he's our ONLY slasher on this team. This is something from Marcus that we REALLY need and would REALLY help us as a team. To those of you who do, please stop criticizing Monty as much as you have. It makes no sense what so ever hearing you say it the way you do, especially after a game like todays.

42
42

Respect the moratorium

QueenBee
QueenBee

"I watched CP drive and kick to Marco on multiple plays " Can't be. Are you sure that was CP? From what I hear he doesn't drive anymore.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Paul could attack the basket but if he's comparing himself to attacking the basket the way Westbrook and Rose does, then he's setting himself up for failure because those guys are for one, younger, faster, and way more explosive. I'm talking getting to the rim and throwing it down on someone's head. That's never been Paul. He can get to the rim and initiate contact but as far as getting to the rim and doing what those guys do, no no buddy.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

In the beginning of the season when he tweaked his knee, he had a stretch of 5-10 games where he wasn't attacking the rim as much. I stated that I felt it was a mental thing, and even had stats to back it up. I think since he tweaked his ankle, it's the same thing. He's slashing, but he's not getting to the basket. We all know CP's ability of putting big men on their heals and scoring around the basket. He's done it at times this season, but not as much as he used to. On the Jim Rome show he even said when talking about Rose and Westbrook that he was envious of them and wished he could still attack the basket the way they do.

sundance
sundance

Marcus' attempts to drive to the basket against an athletic Raptor frontline maybe were misguided, but I still love his mentality. I was real impressed by Derozan though. He's really matured since last season, has always been a slasher but now has a nice jumpshot too. If Marcus could develop into someone like Demar, that would be nice.

Gec
Gec

i hope he WON'T. Derozan didn't pass the ball a single time all game long. He Never passed the ball!!!!!!!!!!!!

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

marcus made good passes once greeen blew an open 3 on a drive by marcus... smith once let the ball go through his hands on a marcus drive, and d west blew a dunk set up by marcus

MaxALM
MaxALM

yeah, his passing was looking good today, but teammates came up short. I think he did a good "amount" of setting people up for the time he was in.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Yea, he did. And I LOVE seeing him do that. All I'm saying is we need MORE of that.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Btw, I got bashed for wanting him in the Peja trade before, but if I could go back, I'd want Amir Johnson in that deal. He would have fit pretty well with this group. He plays REALLY hard, as was evident today. Would have been a nice tandem behind West and Okafor, alongside Smith, and he'd be a guy I could see CP tossing a few lobs to.

sportnlife
sportnlife

Yeah, Ziko. Or better yet, we were staring at Ed Davis with the 11th pick last summer and somebody grew a brain, and we wound up trading down, with only Pondexter to show for it. Nothing against Q-pon, but we got a spot player to show for a lottery pick. This game wouldn't have been close if we had Davis, West, and Okafor on the front line. And the kid has an offensive game, too, but they don't run any plays for him. Thanks a lot, Bower.

42
42

Actually, we freed ourselves of Mo with that deal, then used Brackins and Songaila for Green and Smith. So a first rounder, Songaila, and Mo for Smith, Green, and Pondexter. Pondexter is developing quite well, by the way.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Game in & game out, Meka has shown tremendous heart! He's been so consistent, his efforts are invaluable. Jack has definately found a level of comfort when on the floor, we're starting to see the benefits of that. Hope it continues! Thornton, I love how you did what very few can do... TAKE IT TO THE HOLE! It's okay that your shots weren't falling...if you show that aggressivness and use your skills to create something like you did tonight. Can't understand Monty's sub-process. Just when the guys are makn a run (clearly closing the gap), the entire complexion of the game has changed (finally), he pulls you out! Don't get it AT ALL! Thank God we came out on the winning side on this one!!!!!

QueenBee
QueenBee

Don't have highlights from each and every game but in this video, there are some clips of Chris Paul getting into the lane this season. Some people seem to act like he never EVER does it. Like I said, he does it when the defense allows him to do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrAEdAOHYVk And I must say I didn't know Thabo Sefalosha had such a sexy accent. ;) I mean I know he's from Switzerland and all but my goodness. :)

Go Blue
Go Blue

I wasn't going to watch that clip, until I read "Thabo Sefalosha had such a sexy accent". lol. I'm glad I did watch it, I would had never guessed he was Swiss. I know centers have to be disappointed and annoyed when he does that floater. lol. They try sooo hard to block it.

QueenBee
QueenBee

LOL Go Blue! You had to see what I was talking about heh? LOL! And yeah, those centers look like they're about to swing their arms out of the socket trying to swat that floater. LOL!

QueenBee
QueenBee

People want to see Paul doing this (:45 mark) at least 10 times a game. If he doesn't do this, he obviously isn't worth jack ****. Nevermind risking landing on a players foot and coming up with a sprained ankle or nevermind taking what the defense gives you Chris, just force it and get in there guy. Just do it to satisfy the fans Chris. http://www.nba.com/games/20101231/NOHBOS/gameinfo.html#nbaGIboxscore

MaxALM
MaxALM

Jack earned his minutes, definitely. He was taking a good amount of bad shots though. I can't STAND it when he takes those fadeaway jumpers from midrange, his body is almost horizontal while doing them, and he never hits them. But he did a good job in the 2nd half. I'm still waiting for another big man. Jason Smith is just not cutting it. Can't grab a rebound or anything. Would've liked to see Gray instead of Anderson. Gray is pretty clumsy, but Smith and Anderson are the exact same player. Those two should never be on the court together.

jib
jib

I sadly did not get to watch, although from the sounds of it I may have been fortunate lol. But since I have not seen anything about it, I guess the Dwest poster streak has ended? sigh... I'm more than happy with 23 and 10 games though

42
42

He blew a dunk. I had the same comment as you.

jib
jib

Ahh that's a shame, great minds think alike though

bgalella
bgalella

Nice to see the Hornets survive a strong game from DeMar DeRozan and the worst game of the year by Chris Paul. Once again David West stepped up.

QueenBee
QueenBee

"worst game of the year by Chris Paul." I doubt it.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Raptors have given the Hornets trouble on quite a few occasions. Today was no different.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

The raptors announcers hit the nail on the head with Belly. He tries to do too much. You see him get the ball with an open shot an then pass it up to drive and either miss easy layups (like he did today) or force a pass and turn it over (again like he did today). He would be a much more effective player if he stuck to his roll and shot the rock when he gets a decent look. His best attribute is clearly his shooting so play to your strengths belly shoot it dont do too much, you dont have the driving capabilities of marcus

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

I think it was a bad situation to activate Marco today. First game back from an ankle injury and you're playing your former team? I knew he'd have a bad game. And I could see he lacked lift on his shot, and when he contested shots on defense. I don't think he tries to do too much. I think he did the norm. Shoot shots that CP created for him. I also saw him take 2 shots that were at the end of a shot clock.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

I think it was a mental thing dude. It's gonna take a few games for him to get into game Rhythm again.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

what i mean is that by far is his best attribute is shooting the 3. way way way to many times does he pass them up and try to create something else when its the teams best interest to either shoot that open look or pass it around to get another look. at least 3 or 4 times he passed up the good look and hurt the team

QueenBee
QueenBee

It's possible though that Monty is trying to make 'creators' out of both Ariza AND Belinelli. Has anyone ever thought about that? It's been said for quite some time that Chris Paul is/was the only creator on this team and I think Monty is trying to change that. It's not really working but I'm wondering why not many people question if Monty is trying to do this.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

well queen- i didnt watch many of his games in toronto but the announcers today (since i watched online and were the raptors announcers were calling it) were saying that belly even tried to often to drive and create when he was in toronto and he wasnt good at it. I dont know if monty is telling him to stay aggresive but i dont think its a good idea. He was brought in (IMO) to be a spacer at the 2 and he is hurting the team when he turns down looks to drive and create and then turning it over

QueenBee
QueenBee

I agree Steven. So ask yourself then, why does Belly keep trying to create? I know it's not working. You know it's not working. So why does he have the green light to continue it? I'd say it's because that's the offense his coach has set up right now. When the Hornets acquired Belinelli I thought, ok, fine, a nice spot up shooter. He's been anything but that on this Hornets team. And when he does have nice open shots created for him by CP3, he bricks them wayyy too often.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Totally agree, Steven. Marco's a spot up shooter. Not a creator. He's a smart passer. But he's not a creator.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

he may be trying to do this but it really is an awful idea. belly should not be turned into a playmaker. we need him as a deadly 3 point shooter who can get looks of cp3 drives and picks,, or spoting up off a west post. he is not effective at all when he is trying to create off the dribble

42
42

Agreed.