Hornets Outlast the Thunder

By:
Published: January 24, 2011

Not so tough are you now, huh Baby?

The Hornets beat the Oklahoma City in an instant classic, 91-89 behind late game heroics from Chris Paul and David West. Paul came up with a steal with 10 seconds to go that allowed David West to take a game winning shot in the closing second, which he calmly nailed. It was a bittersweet victory, however, as Paul appeared to injure his ankle on the steal. He was noticeably limping in the aftermath, and did not take the floor on defense when OKC had their last possession with .5 seconds to go.

Oklahoma City came out with a lot of energy early, likely in an effort to avoid becoming the third team slaughtered by the Hornets consecutively. As soon as David West picked up his second foul only a few minutes into the game, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be a Hornets blowout. Instead, the Thunder threatened to pull away early.

Fortunately for the Hornets, Marcus Thornton played well as soon as he touched the floor (as he often does at home), scoring eight points on six shots to fuel the Hornets bench. If not Thornton’s offense, Chris Paul would have had to come back on the floor much earlier than he did, and the Hornets would have had a much larger hole to crawl out of.

Also, Quincy Pondexter and DJ MBenga were eating up boards. MBenga in particular has looked a lot better of late, and is making the gaping hole on the bench look less, well, giant. All in all the Hornets dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Thunder 31-12, and taking a 50-45 lead into halftime.

Ariza was playing some poor defense early on Durant. He wasn’t fighting through screens, left him open repeatedly, and just didn’r seem to realize that he was guarding one of the most dangerous wingmen not only in the league, but in the history of the league. There are some nights when he just doesn’t seem to care all that much on defense, and tonight was one of them. It’s what keeps him from being considered an elite defender. The second half was exactly the opposite. He was awesome.

The second half started with a very angry crowd. As call after call seemed to go against the Hornets, the boos grew louder and louder. I even heard the rare “bull$@#^” chant, which is normally reserved for Saints games, and repeated calls of “cheaters”. Despite the calls (which didn’t seem as bad to me as they did to the rest of the crowd), the team managed to hold on to a slight lead in the first six minutes of the third quarter. Given their four turnovers and a three second violation, it could have been a lot worse.

The teams would trade points the remainder of the quarter, and even though the Hornets were missing more than their share of free throws, they would start the fourth quarter tied at 71.

After five minutes of uninspired ball by Jack, Green, and Pondexter, Coach Williams made the move and replaced them with Paul, Thornton, and Ariza. That lineup would play the Thunder to a dead heat until 3:00 to go in the fourth quarter, and then it was crunch time. Down two, the Hornets had a bad possession, which was followed by a brick by Oklahoma. David West then knocked home a jumper, tying the game.

Another brick by Oklahoma, and the Hornets had the ball. Despite a strong move to the hoop, Marcus wasn’t rewarded with either points or a whistle. On the other end, Westbrook jumped 12 feet in the air over Paul (who didn’t box out properly), and gave the thunder a two point lead on a tip in. West answered on the other end with a jumper and the score was tied at 89 with 57 seconds left.

After a two shot possession by the Thunder that resulted in zero points, Thornton missed a jumper on the other end that would have given the Hornets the lead. A defensive rebound by Oklahoma City gave them the ball with 14 seconds left and the game tied.

Again the crowd made noise. They were rewarded by a huge Chris Paul steal (who else?), but it wasn’t all gravy. Paul seemed to injure his ankle on the play and when he did eventually get up, he was noticeably limping. I’ll try to get an update after the game.

Back to basketball- Ten seconds left, Hornets ball. Last time against the Thunder they went to David West repeatedly as the game drew to a close. Durant shut him down then, but tonight they went with Serrge Ibaka. BAD MOVE.

DAVID WEST FADEAWAY JUMPER SMASH!

Celebrate!

Game Notes

  • The defensive rotations tonight were a far cry where they were in the last two games. The thunder took open layup after open jumper, and the Hornets just sat by and watch for most of the game. Scott Brooks’ offense had the upper hand on Monty’s defense tonight for most of the game.
  • Samuel L. Jackson, Bobby Jindal and Mitch Landrieu were in the house, continuing the streak of famous people courtside.
  • The Thunder tried to use Krstic to trap Chris Paul a half a dozen times or so throughout the game. It wasn’t particularly effective, mostly because Krystic is so unathletic that he can’t really do anything except get in Paul’s way a little bit.
  • Speaking of Krstic, Okafor had a very tough night against him.
  • Speaking of Okafor, he had his best dunk as a Hornet, and his block with just over nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter was pretty sweet.
  • When Hugo got hurt riding a scooter, it was pretty hilarious that the paramedics helped the scooter instead of him. Everyone knew it was coming, but like a pie to the face, it was funny nonetheless.
  • Attendance was announced at 17,233, an official sellout for some reason that I don’t quite understand.
  • Chris Paul passed Larry Johnson for fourth place on the Hornets all time scoring list
  • The Hornets are now 20-1 when their opponent scores less than 90 points. 18 of those games have been at home. Beefense, anyone?
  • Hornets are third in the West.
  • Hornets have won nine in a row
  • Hornets are awesome.

Nation, meet New Orleans.

(update- right now on ESPN, the Hornets are the lead basketball story)

Monty’s Postgame

  • He started off discussing how the team sticks together, even when things don’t go there way early. That’s something that is visibly apparent this year.
  • He adressed players getting bumps and bruises, specifically Chris Paul because of his playing style. It doesn’t seem as though Paul’s injury is anything serious (knock on wood).

Player Quotes

  • West speaking about the game winner- “I wanted to get the last shot and get it off to where they couldn’t get a good look on the other end. I told coach in the huddle just give it to me I saw CP was out and he’s the guy we usually go to in this situation. I just felt like I could get us a shot.”
  • West on the physical play- “They are a young, feisty team. They got us out of rhythm early. We stayed resilient, we stayed in the fight and it feels good to get a win.”
  • West on the winning streak- “We’re staying together. We’re focused and listening to coaches during time outs and executing the game plan. We have a big road trip coming up , and we didn’t want any slippage. We just want to go out there with a good taste in our mouth.”
  • Thornton on the streak- “It feels great. It feels good to be on a nine-game winning streak. The beat the quality of tams we’ve beaten makes it that much better.”
  • Thornton on the physical play- “It was physical top to bottom. From the guards to the big men, thy are a physical team. I’m just proud of our guys that we fought with them.”
90 comments
QueenBee
QueenBee

Hey guys check this out. I remember hating this guy when the Hornets were playing in OKC. Dude trashed NOLA fans to no end. He seems to think CP3 got into Westbrook’s head last night. I did notice Westbrook, as athletic as he is, was intent on ‘going at’ CP3 rather than play his teams game. I told my brother that each and every game the opposing point guards tries to give his best against CP3. http://blog.newsok.com/berrytramel/2011/01/25/thunder-cp3-in-westbrooks-head/

PeeDee
PeeDee

That 2nd quarter was beautiful.....I was in the upper level last night and it was rocking....

JayRey
JayRey

Oh snap just checked out the Daily Dime today and that was a great article you did Joe....It's great to see the Hornets getting the main headline

HoumaHornet
HoumaHornet

Last year was a tough year, but the success this year makes it all worthwhile. Great personnel moves by the Hornets organization. Byron Scott hows that Cleveland job working out for you?

Will Bennett
Will Bennett

the guys on nba.tv spent a good 5 mins discussing the hornets this morning! It's not much- but any coverage is good! A 10-game win streak would sound even better. Its against the Kings I believe who had a win last night also

Will Bennett
Will Bennett

Westbrook and Durant combined for 8 turnovers! Ahhh, youth vs. experience? I'll take experience

42
42

About the sellout: a sellout number for an event is not the number of tickets available, meaning you would have sold every ticket to an event. Here's why: if you and a date went to a show, asked for tickets, and were told you can have two tickets, but they aren't together, then you may not go. To accomodate this, there are selling rules the ticket folks abide by to try to pack the house, and various algorithms used to do it efficiently, but in the end, there are only so seats you can fill before you can't buy a pair. This is thought through and a sellout number is generated that is below the event capacity. It is a statistical quantity that is an estimate of where people who want to go won't buy tickets for ticket-grouping reasons. There can be other factors. NFL tickets tied up in travel packages don't affect the 'sellout' if they don't sell, even if returned to the home team. Our number is 17,188 I think. It's different for other seating configurations, etc.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

Great Win for us! Btw the fact that D West didn't call "and one" on the game winner??? That would have been the icing on the cake! Is it posibble to have DWest "Mic'd" up for the cleveland game on espn? I bet he says "And One" like 40times easy hahah gotta love it!!! Geaux Hornets

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

The slight lack of attendance with the sellout was probably a combination of Monday and weather/traffic. We were late and I know at least on STH that bagged it..... Mbenga should have been 6th man of the game. His rebounding was critical to the turnaround in the first half, and he defends the paint. I think his screens are excellent as well. I really hope we get no media respect up until the NBA Finals. GO HORNETS!

Gec
Gec

Tonight i saw King Midas disguised as DWest, he turned into gold every basketball he touched in the fourth!!!!! And thanks Scott Brooks for sitting Jeff Green and to let the 18-foot-assassin go in the zona against Collison. One little thing: why CP3 kept going above the screen when Westbrook took those pickandrolls? If CP3 goes below the screen Westbrook lose half his eff. in an half court situation. I know he did it in that last defensive possession and came up with a game-winning steal, but OMG CP3 don't do that the whole game or i'm gonna get an heart attack!!! PS: OH, AND ONE!! :D

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

I love them...Seriously...CP3 WILL BE FINE!

JCS
JCS

I love this team.

kempleton
kempleton

in response to the comment on the refs: I remember that ref, #44. He's the one making a whole lot of bad calls at our win against Blazers back in November. He again had bad calls. West was in foul trouble that night as well! A very apparent bad call tonight was the clear offensive foul of Westbrook on Paul! I hope that #44 will never come back to our house... No matter what, this is the way to win it. You even beat the refs if necessary! :) Geaux Hornets !

Caz
Caz

Ok I don't get the picture. But anyways, is it true that Mr. West is in the building? Yes, it is true. very true.

otherMark
otherMark

The crowd was awesome in the fourth quarter. Having a packed arena on their feet raising a nonstop ruckus for the last 3min of gametime, straight through several timeouts, was awesome. It certainly seemed to raise the level of the defense, and may have rattled the thunder's offense a bit. (It kind of looked like our own offense, except for DX, was a little off too, I assume because the players were too pumped up to think straight.) Anyway, it was phenomenal, and reminded me of the best moments of the 07-08 season.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

OkiThor, that's it! Sect. 120 for sure! I'm glad you saw it...last year it was yellow/blue, but we think the blue/white shows better! Good looking out...

NolaHog
NolaHog

Oh, Baby! These guys are on a roll! Some observations from the game. 1. Thornton hurt his shooting elbow when he fell hard driving to the goal. I don't think he made a basket the rest of the game, and I think it was bothering him. 2. That Ibaka dunk after the scramble under the goal was straight nasty. 3. David West has been unstoppable during this run. They brought help almost everytime he touched the ball, but it didn't matter. He's a f#@king basketball prince! 4. Chris Paul is a psychopath on the court, and I love him. The steal at the end was up there with his play at the end of the Grizzlies game. 5. Is it just me, or does The King in the Mardi Gras races look like U.S. attorney Jim Letten?

Justin W
Justin W

Ziko, totally agree about the over-agressive play of the Thunder. I was not at all happy with the way that it appeared as if the Thunder were getting away with murder. Especially on the particular shove no call from Kevin Durant to Chris. I was like "Durant just got away with murder on that one".

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

I cannot say enough about what this win meant for our team...our fans! These guys did not seem intimitated by this Thunder team, WHATSOEVER! Given the outcome as of the first half, they stayed the course troughout the second...they had business to tend to...you can see it and we can feel it! I appreciate the efforts of so many, but Marcus, I realize your ball wasn't falling as you would have wanted to tonight...we saw how it affected you~but you didn't stop there...you showed what you had defensively (I was impressed!!)...heck, I'm sure everyone could tell as the 'Thornton's Thunder' banner flew proudly! Meka did his thing (as always) and Paul led the way for sure! Ariza, I wasn't convinced during the first half, but you seemed to come back in the second...I'm satisfied (but, dude...bring it every second...don't wait till the 2nd half... not sure our hearts can handle it...LOL) West, you were fan ALLSTAR tonight, I believe there's no question about that! I'm lovin what you guys are about and I think there are so many more who are feeling it too! CONGRATULATIONS GUYS!!!!

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

+19 for marcus tonight on an off shooting night... even though a couple of drives he took i felt there was alot of contact but the refs let them play tonight

QueenBee
QueenBee

That was too much for me! I almost fell over the seat in front of me twice because of my jumping up and down! LOL!! Another great win for the Hornets! I am worn out I tell ya. Whewww!

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

OMG what b.s. the ibaka dunk on mek was a nominee for top 10 play (didn't even show emeka's huge slam). then when they show the west game winner its not even nominated? WTF!!!??? i guess we shouldn't expect espn to ever show could judgement.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Tim Duncan injured.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

weird stat: everyone on the bench was + tonight except willie who was a 0 and then all the starters were - except west who was +1. Tonight's game had me go through more emotions than an actor on "inside the actor's studio". It was just insane!! I pray to Xenu that chris will be alright. Oh and I apologize to Nick Collison for calling him a "stupid f'ing oaf" for that stolen ball play at the end when he crashed into CP3 (can't blame the guy for playing with hustle/reckless abandon).

Mike
Mike

"It’s what keeps him from being considered an elite defender." Who are all these mystical defenders that shut down great scorers for 48 minutes a game? Artest, Sefolosha, Battier, ect. get torched every now and again. Trevor's absolutely an elite defender.

m-W
m-W

Wow. That's all I got. Wow.

Leon Tusch
Leon Tusch

I hate David West with everything I have in me. But tonight, AND ONLY TONIGHT, I will give him credit for this win! HE WAS MONEY!!!

otherMark
otherMark

Thanks for clearing that up. It has clearly been a question on a lot of people's minds - I know I was very curious about it.

Gec
Gec

PPS: 3rd place in the west!! And 10-1 when Marcus goes 10+ points.

otherMark
otherMark

He was literally - and I don't say this lightly - in the building!

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

NolaHog...that's freaking hilarious~'look like U.S. attorney Jim Letten?', we loved that...it's so true...so true!

Justin W
Justin W

Dito! I am so proud of the way these guys are playing. Honestly, it almost makes me wanna cry...they are playing with so much heart and enthusiasm and just straight up NO QUIT attitude! I live in Alabama and my wife is from New Orleans and I so wish that I could be in the stands for every game cheering them on. But since I can't be there in person as I would like I am there with them via NBA League Pass, watching EVERY GAME! Geaux Hornets Geaux!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OkiThor
OkiThor

So is that you with the HUGE white and blue Thorton's Thunder banner up on the second deck? If so, I saw you on TV. Hahaha

Mark
Mark

I hate stadium seating sometimes because jumping/general movement is a dangerous ordeal.

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

Actually the D West game winner made #1. In fact, Rudy Gay and Robin Lopez made game winners tonight nut they were both #2. Also, the Hornets are the lead story on ESPN and also on espn.com....bout time we got some love from the "press"

Justin W
Justin W

Nobody gives the Hornets credit...they talked more with the headline of the Spurs losing to the Hornets than they did the Hornets beating the Spurs...it's okay though, we'll just keep winning and sooner or later they'll have no choice but to show respect!

mbdtf
mbdtf

But back on the floor.

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

Who is Xenu? And with a name like Keymaster, shouldn't you be praying to Gozer?

42
42

Xenu. Awesome. I'll load the bombers . . .

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

It's cause Smith and Q-Pon cancelled out the positives that Green/Mbenga brought.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

You're telling me you don't watch him play sometimes and just say to yourself- "that guy took that play off"? He's been criticized of that his whole career. When I say elite I mean one of the two or three best at his position. I think Ariza is a good defender, but to say he's elite is to say that there are five or six elite guys at each position. I consider Lebron and Iggy to be elite defenders at the small forward position. Just my opinion.

Bug Marley
Bug Marley

MW, when are you and ticktock gonna start posting again over at hornetshype? I miss going back and forth between this site and yours to read anything about the Hornets.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

One could maybe wonder why it's taken 7 years to get to this effort level to be fair to Leon. Is anyone really surprised it's happening during a contract year in the halfway point of his career? That being said. I can't see how a Hornets fan could "hate" or even "dislike" fluffy. He's always given us his contract value + a little extra and is really quite funny to watch. His personality is really one of a kind on the court.

MaxALM
MaxALM

West has saved us in countless occasions.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Wow, 7 thumbs down in an hour. Impressive.

Forever504
Forever504

are you out of your mind. We wouldn't have the record we have without dwest

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Justin W...thanks man...that means so much! I only hope our guys can see comments like yours! I wish you could be here as well! Thanks again!!! Geaux Hornets!!!

42
42

Xenu is a scientology figure. You don't really pray to him, but the point is made. He's kind of a Marduk figure if you are up on Babylonian stuff.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

Gozer the Gozerian? Ryan Schwan are you the Gatekeeper? Nah with all the astrological signs being switched i figured i'd start hitting up ol' Xenu with my prayers, seems to work for tom cruise.

Mike
Mike

Every player I've watched extensively appears to take plays off. I think that's a bit nitpicking when you consider the end result: Durant against NO (3 games): 36% 24 ppg Lebron against NO (2 games): 37% 20 ppg Melo against NO (2 games): 46% 16 ppg Gay against NO (1 game): 35% 22 points And so on. The guy's job is to make life difficult for the opposing team's best perimeter scorer, and he does it nearly as well as anyone else. Offensively, that's another story. But he's undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the league, imo.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

I didn't think it was possible to make such an unpopular comment unless Michael Vick was involved.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Congrats, Leon! You have officially made the least popular comment in the history of the rating system. Unless I'm mistaken...

Justin
Justin

I was the baker's dozen.