Hornets winning streak comes to an end as they run into Red Hot Kings

By:
Published: January 30, 2011

Sometimes you just run into a team on the wrong night and there is practically nothing you can do. Over the course of 82 games it is bound to happen to you a couple of times and tonight it happened to the Hornets as Sacramento led the entire way and won 102-96. (box) DeMarcus Cousins was simply unstoppable on this night as he led all scorers with 25 points and added 12 rebounds and 7 assists just for good measure.

He was draining 18 footers like he had been possessed by Karl Malone in his prime and when he went into the post he simply pushed the Hornets front line around. In all honesty, the only guys who could slow Cousins down with the three guys wearing stripes, as they whistled him for five fouls and swallowed their whistles several times when Hornets were hanging all over him. I give credit where credit is due, and I have no problem saying that DeMarcus Cousins was far and away the best player on the court tonight.

As great as he was, however, Cousins couldn’t do it alone and he didn’t have to as Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, and Samuel Dalembert combined for 48 points on 18-31 shooting. Cousins was the MVP of the game, but Evans was the MVP of the final quarter, as he seemed to hit a big shot every time the Hornets got close. What I can’t figure out for the life of me is why the Ariza or Belinelli are running out at him 25 feet from the basket. The guy drives to the bucket every time and it would be kind to call him a streaky jump shooter. Like Eagles fans were saying to Andy Reid early in the season, I just kept yelling BACK UP!, but those guys refused to listen and Evans got to the basket at will because of it. If I am the coach, I make guys like Rose, Evans, Westbrook, and Rondo beat me from the perimeter. If they do, fine. But Evans took one jumper in the 4th and missed badly. That’s all I’m sayin’.

On the offensive end, the Hornets actually weren’t bad for the most part but this game was lost in the first 5 minutes of the second quarter when the backups came in and tested Monty’s patience yet again. The starters overcame a ridiculously hot start by Sacramento and pulled within two points at the end of the first, but Jarrett Jack and crew proceeded to lay brick after brick and before you knew it the lead was back up to 15. From there it was an uphill battle and the Hornets just couldn’t make it all the way back. If those reserves just play even with the likes of Pooh Jeter and the rest of the Sacramento bench, the Hornets win this game easy. If this continues, get ready to see 40, 42 minutes again for the starters like we did just a few weeks ago. Or maybe, Dell pulls the trigger and gets some big man help so we don’t have to trot out Napolean Dynamite and DJ “Mbenga my head against the wall whenever I watch you play” against pros like Landry and Dalembert.

Other Notes and Observations:

- Kings turned the ball over on first possession, then scored on their next 10 trips down the court to start off the game. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I thought some of the shots were a little lucky and that I was not surprised at all when they missed those very same shots later in the quarter.

- Jarrett Jack was 1-6 in the first half and one thing that his hot stretch of three-point shooting has overshadowed is that he has a really hard time getting to the rim. Even when guys run at him to contest a jumper and pump fakes, he can’t get past them. That is really rare in this league and although I still believe is is definitely a top 10 backup PG, Jack is one of the slowest PG’s in the entire league.

- Emeka just wasn’t 2011 Emeka tonight. He had several mental lapses in the first half on the defensive end, although I will say that some of it was due in part to the poor perimeter D. Ariza could not stay in front of Evans and this left Okafor in a situation several times where he had to make a difficult decision. I don’t know why they didn’t put Marco on Evans and have him play 3 feet off of him all game.

- Key stretch of the game, Hornets down four with 5 minutes left to go in the game and on three straight possessions the Hornets go to…. Marco Belinelli? Really?

- For all those that think Marcus can do no wrong, watch the last 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter and the first two minutes of the 4th. Luther Head just OWNED him on both ends in that stretch. Not hatin’ on the guy, I just think some people tend to ignore the negatives, but believe me Monty noticed. I know he will get a lot of love because people will look at the box score and applaud his scoring, but if you want to really understand the little things coaches care about, just sit down and watch that stretch without bias.

- How often do you see the Celtics give up uncontested layups in the last five minutes of close games? Just making a point here that although this defense is vastly improved, I still think it will be another year before we see it at its peak. Hornets had lost faith in their own defense to the point that they went zone on a key possession late in the 4th.

- When CP3 drives to the hole, teams play him as if they assume he is going to pass the ball. He has to start shooting more just to keep defenses honest and that will lead to more open shots for teammates. Guys are jumping into those passing lanes now, and that didn’t happen in 2007 or 2008 because he was shooting 16 times per game.

- Thornton needs to learn how to get under control and shoot a floater in the lane instead of just always going in with a full head of steam and turning it over or picking up charges. If he can add that to his offensive arsenal, he could be an unstoppable scorer.

Top caption quotes:

Schmide234- “My tattoo says ‘Strapped and Dangerous’”

ur_gmas_daughter-  “DeMarcus Cousins: so hard he’ll jack you little sisters backpack”

Go Blue- “You thought this was going to embarrass me? I have this backpack in 3 other colors, sucka. Now watch me work it.”

otherMark-  “They said I couldn’t carry DWest’s jockstrap…little did they know I’ve got THIS!”

JCS- “And they wonder why Shaq called them the Sacramento Queens”

- And last but not least- If you DVR or tape Hornets games, DO NOT erase after watching the PHX game tomorrow night. Keep it for a few days, as I am trying to talk Ryan into doing something interesting that you will need that game for. More to come.

51 comments
AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Hm. Interesting. Went through this thread of messages and noticed quite a bit of Marcus Thornton critique that I wasn't part of. Didn't get to watch the game last night. Been under the weather bad enough that I couldn't even stand the light of a computer screen/TV. Hopefully be able to watch tonight. There is something I think people just don't understand when it comes to basketball. I get the whole "ladies love the long ball" thing about sports. People like the "sexy" players. But sometimes, the "sexy" players don't always "fit" into what a team wants or needs to do. Marcus is getting better at "fitting in" to what Monty likes and wants, but maybe he'll never be the right "fit". Mike. Loved your take on what people "saw" and "didn't see" at the game. I hope no one takes this offensively, because it's the honest truth. A person who actually UNDERSTANDS basketball, sees these things. It's the giggly little girls who love the long ball that are completely blind to the high strike out rate that comes with the player that swings at everything, even if it's outside the box.

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

I Totally Agree Michael..MT killed us in that last stretch..He has to develop a floater or take another dribble..Its getting pretty routine

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

when your down 4 with 5 minutes left , when your chris paul and he's beno udrih , you should get the buckets and win the game .

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

'HiMyNameisSteven' ... No disrespect to you, but, do you ever say anything bad about Marcus Thornton? Just one thing? You can point out atleast one of his negatives, right? Even I get on CP3's case from time-to-time, and he's my favorite player in the league. Come on bruh, I know you can do it! Everyone on this post has a point about MT5 against the Kings. He padded his stats, but really played bad in a lot of situations. L_REAZY

m-W
m-W

Why do you and others keep saying Buckets "padded his stats" last night? It is completely absurd. No one gets mad when D-West dropped 40-some in a loss against Houston. No one said he was just trying to get his; they said he was trying to win the game! So in a game where almost everyone is blaming the second unit's massive FAIL, why is it that the only one scoring off the bench is being seen as selfish? If your offense consists of Mbenga, Smith, Pondexter/Green, Jack and Buckets, it SHOULD be Buckets that is the focus of the offense: he is by far the most talented scorer in that group. Was Thornton perfect tonight? Hell no. But name me one Bee who was. I just am so dumbfounded by people who are complaining about a guy who goes 7-9 (discounting buzzer heave), 1-2 from deep, 1-1 from the line, and 16 points in 17 minutes? Do the math, NO KING was that efficient on offense. Therefore, it is obvious that Marcus' pluses outweighed any alleged deficiencies. This loss is not on him.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

L-Reazy--- if marcus did not play we would have lost by 20 thats all i have to say.... yes he may not be as good of a defender as an offensive player but if he was then hed be top 10 player in the league cuz his offense is so good once he learns to create contact on his drives to the basket since he doesnt get enough free throw attempts for as much as he drives... there u go thats the one criticism i have but listening to the game last night even the kings announcers kept saying o got to watch out for thorton cant let him get going... ooo there marcus thorton again. When you have an outside person commenting every time marcus gets in the game that should say something. When you shot 70% from the field your not inflating your stats... i would of been happy for him to jack up 20 shots last night

42
42

I don't get the stat padding thing. The guy was good on offense last night. He had lapses, for sure. The fact that we can bracket his defensive lapses to a a window repesenting about 1/3 if his time last night and not 'just watch' speaks volumes for this half-season, and the one before us. Watching the twists and turns of his growth is easily the most engaging aspect of this team for me. I guess it's the educator in me . . .

f.g. di bene
f.g. di bene

are we starting the trade circus? AGAIN? that's pathetic. we just won 10 in a row, we lost to a red hot team who just made every shot. they raped us with their bigs, when we defended well, they just scored contested jumpers, and you already found 2-3 players to blame. i'm out of it.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

+1. The trade talk is the "Entertainment Tonight" portion of the program. I just went back and looked at all 4 minutes of Mbenga's floor time last night, where he was -10 during that swing to start the 2nd. The only points in the paint scored were by Donte Greene, because Willie Green did not box him out and he flew in for the put-back slam. Mbenga had Dalambert boxed well outside the paint on that play. Every other point scored against the Hornets was a long jumper. Mbenga was setting good screens, and nobody was feeding him in the post (as usual). In other words, Mbenga was not even a small part of the problem in that stretch as implied, nor was Smith. The 3-guard lineup of Jack, Green, and Thornton produced 3 turnovers and took several long jumpers (made one) after stagnating, while playing confused defense, failing to box out, and committing a stupid foul on a breakaway by Udrih. Jack had a bad game, particularly in that stretch, and Wille was just as bad. Thornton's contributions probably outweighed the negatives, but not enough to warrant all the hue and cry for more minutes. What really hurt us this game were sub-par performances by CP3 (5 turnovers) and DWest (8 of 21 shooting), along with lights-out shooting from distance by the Kings. That combination will kill us, as it will most teams. I think more minutes by Mbenga might have slowed down the offensive rebounding by the Kings. I'd really like to see us develop a big lineup rather than just small-ball lineups. I'd like to see Smith/West/Okafor or West/Okafor/Mbenga, etc. I think Paul has enough control to make the offense productive, and all of those bigs are capable of defending guards.

paul
paul

Now do I drinks a bit. Even as I write this. But I know what I was watching when Mbenga was in there...and it wasn't good. If you think more of that is called for, well...good luck with it. One thik you can't take away from MBenga is his happy feet. He does get out front with screens. However, reaching a conclusion that his being open is an option is even more sedated thinking than even I can understand. Please, the guy has been in the NBA 8 freaking years. As long as you like going back and doing research, show me a period, any period, where he was considered a shooting center. His toolbox has been open for awhile. No hidden talents there, my friends.

m-W
m-W

Nice recap on Mbenga's involvement on D. I also didn't like the 3 guard line-up. I never do. Regardless of who is involved. I believe, both size-wise and skillset-wise, having Ariza or Pondexter at the 3 is a must.

paul
paul

At least Michael, you pointed a finger at MBenga. He was being elevated to stardom just a few games ago because of really below average play. You don't get status JUST because you don't F... up! Really, we better get a better up front team, or it's done. We will never be a very good playoff team if we don't control the middle. Never. And Gray, always had hope for him...but IF he is going to add fragile to his toolbox, I give up. Never given any real details on his ingury, so I still don't trust the reports from the team. I never rspect team ingury reports. If they are playing contract or league rules games, shame on them. If not, Gray needs to get better and fast. Or we need to get a BIG!

MaxALM
MaxALM

They had to lose at some point. There is no reason to get upset as long as we stay on track, and don't go into a horrible slump again. Sacramento was just hitting every shot. Cousins got blocked on a shot attempt and it STILL went in. Many many lucky shots. But oh well. Marcus had a bad stretch tonight in the 4th, but that sticks out more because of our lofty expectations. Jack, meanwhile, always manages to play either moderately well, or downright horrible. There's no in between. Tonight he was abysmal. Also, there was yet again another charge call on CP3. Charge my ass. Udrih's feet weren't even close to being set. Bogus. They really gave Udrih the benefit of the doubt instead of Paul?

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

I knew that the Hornets were gonna lose this one...

QueenBee
QueenBee

Ok guys. Good night. I love ya'll.

Forever504
Forever504

There is more than enough blame to go around but I'm looking toward the next game. NEW STREAK starts tomorrow :)

42
42

Good call, 504.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I hope it's a winning one. ;)

Forever504
Forever504

It will be Queenbee it will be!!!!!!!

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hornets should've been better prepared for these guys. Can't take anything away from the Kings but the Hornets should've tried harder to not let the Kings kill them in the paint the way they did just last night against the Lakers. Mek should've had more than 4 rebounds. He should've gotten in better position to grab em. You gotta want that ball more than the Kings did. Chris should've had more than 7 assists and less than 5 turnovers. Starting shooting guard should've had more than 5 funky ass points. If your shot ain't falling at least try to draw contact to get your a** to the free throw line.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

And just to be CLEAR, I am not advocating Green or Belly over Thornton- because they are just horrible lately. All I am saying with the Marcus critique is that playing him more wont fix all the problems, as Luther Head got past him with ease tonight. Thornton is the best of the three, no doubt, but regardless they are all flawed and there will not be many teams in the playoffs whom New Orleans will face that has an inferior 2 guard. Perhaps Dallas? But Terry gets most of their 2 guard minutes and you know they will add a S Jax type. Even with Denver I would take Afflalo over any of these 3. Just one game, don't wanna overreact but this team is only .500 on the road and has some holes that can be plugged. All that said, I actually feel good about Phoenix.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Personally if i am to take Montys word on what he wants in the rotation i think Willie Green should be the starter, hes shown the best defense out of either of them and he has the ability to create more than marco. Hes not impressive offensively but better than marco and hes a veteran. I like the punch marcus gives our bench i just dont see where marco fits in, hes like a really bad version of peja. Well i guess hes peja who traded in 70% of his three point shot for a slight increase with defense.

m-W
m-W

I agree with @hornet. The whole point is that he IS the best 2 guard, so he should get the most minutes. Like he has much of our win streak. And he HAS improved on defense, even Monty and the other coaches have said so. Nor am I concerned, at all, about his ability to keep up with other 2 guards in the playoffs. DAL, OKC, SAS, DEN, UTA? Whatever. Only Kobe worries me. Or Roy, but, he won't be playing this year.

Hornet
Hornet

It won't fix all the problems, but it'll fix one of the big ones that we have no perimeter scoring threat at all. He's been great the past 4-5 games, his defense has improved, and he brings energy off our bench. That's the biggest thing our bench needs. Energy. We have none with Jack + Green.

m-W
m-W

Michael, I have no idea how you can say Marcus played a bad game. Other then Mek's 5-5, Thornton was by and far the most efficient scorer for the Hornets tonight. If Monty had gone to him instead of Green as the first player off the bench, this game might have been different. Then, Monty trots out his 3-guard line-up, where Jack and Green play all alone and ignore Marcus and the bigs. There's your fail. Run that 2nd unit through Marcus. Yes, there are lots of things Hornets could have done to win this game, but Marcus was one of the few bright spots. As always, the Hornets lose this game because they failed to get stops. But if Marcus allegedly is a poor defender (which I dispute) and no one is getting stops anyway, then why not put in a guy that can score? Buckets should be playing 65% or more of every game. Period.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Nowhere in the article do I say he had a bad game. Just watch that stretch unbiasedly and get back to me with what you saw. People all over the Hornets Nation wonder why Thornton doesn't get staters minutes night in and night out and I am trying to point out what Monty is looking at. He is not crazy or a hater, he just values certain things more than others, and those things don't line up with most fans top priorities. In that stretch I counted 3 easy buckets given up as a result of his defense, 2 turnovers, a horrible shot with 40 seconds left in the 3rd and a terrible bail out foul that gave Tyreke 2 free throws, but I guarantee all most people took notice of was his sweet And One offensive play. All in all it was a horrible individual stretch at a bad time for the team. Not saying other players like Jack didn't play horrible- I just said that people act like he does no wrong when it is simply not the case.

JCS
JCS

Watching Marcus is watching a player who likes to catch and shoot or run a fast break. He is an uptempo player, who you have described in so many words, will give you an offensive punch. Alternatively, Marcus is not a player known to set screens, run through plays, or move exceptionally well without the ball. Ray Allen is. Eddie House is. Even Brian Scalabrine is, but Marcus is just not known for that.

m-W
m-W

@JCS what are you talking about? Look at the advanced stats. Green and Buckets have almost identical numbers on D. Buckets also commits way more less fouls and turnovers on average than either Green or Jack. Nor does he "refuse" to run plays. If you want refusal, look at Green/Jack playing with MT5. Not only do they not look for him most of the time, they don't even involve the bigs, other than setting screens for themselves. Green/Jack are a horrible back court combo.

JCS
JCS

In this game, Marcus scoring a lot of points only led to him inflating his personal stats. His poor defense, turnovers, and seeming refusal to run half court plays, did not help at all. Hornets lost.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

M-W u have to realize michael has tried many times this year to point out the bad in marcus and always backed up coaching decisions to not play him earlier in the year... he simply doesn think marcus is the answer

m-W
m-W

When Marcus is the only one coming off the bench and showing any ability to score, it's odd that you are going to nitpick a few bad plays of his, when it's obvious he's one of the players who kept us in this game at all.

42
42

The best available option can still fail to be flawless for the entirety of his minutes. Marcus' play is steadily improving in all facets. The kid is learning. I'm quite encouraged by his play as a whole.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Gerry V's twitter.... "....tough loss! Not enough "lock down let's get it on" defense! Thornton had 2 bad plays..off. Foul and the block 19 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® in" "Dam! Cousins and delembert were huge! Hornet def. Not the usual solid self" "it did hurt as we witness a defense that wasn't alert as usual."

QueenBee
QueenBee

Not to mention the Hornets defense just sucked tonight. They must still think if they let up on D they can still win.

BIGBREED
BIGBREED

Great game plan against the Bee's..... "Defensively"! Over play the passing lanes on the wings, forced the Bee's to play the postup game which they refused to do due to limited postup players on the roster. When a team over play the wings, it opens up the paint for easy baskets from back door cuts, posting up players in the paint, and weakside picks to the goal. EZ adjustments will be made from this game due to the HORNETS excellent coaching staff! -GREAT GAME PLAN KINGS- {lucky shots too}

42
42

Can you sum up your comments from the 10 prior games? I seem to have forgotten the coaching inadequacies you were pointing out for the past 10 games that finally were properly exploited.

BIGBREED
BIGBREED

I haven't post anything the past 10 games bro. I've been busy at work and too tired to log on after! But the HORNETS have been playing lights out D. Even David West!

42
42

Oh. Gotcha. I was hoping to study up. Glad I didn't miss a word.

Hornet
Hornet

Coaching cost us this game. Awful rotations.

QueenBee
QueenBee

In the 4th when I thought CP should have been in the game. He wasn't. It's like Monty sticks to his minutes to a tee. When I thought Marcus should have been in earlier, he wasn't. With 3 or 4 minutes left in a close game, Belinelli shouldn't be in there. Most times he's not even on the court down the stretch. Why the hell was he on the court down the stretch tonight?

Hornet
Hornet

Marco got 23 minutes tonight, Marcus got 17. Marco was in the final play of the game. Marco: 2-9, 5 points Marcus: 7-10 (including half time heave), 16 points. That's all that needs to be said. And Jack has played like hot garbage on the road. Jack on the road this year - 7.6 PPG on 7.1 FGA (36%) and an asst: turnover ratio of 1.58

JCS
JCS

The Big Man with the little back-pack PWNED us, and all we have is our quotes. Ah well, thanks for the recognition Mac.

QueenBee
QueenBee

We need another big man yes, but Belinelli will kill us in the playoffs. Book it.

sundance
sundance

Get real. Beli is not going to kill this team in the POs. Any team with a big frontline is going to give the Hornets fits. Put this loss in the context that the Kings just beat the Lakers. I would definitely bet if BOS played them last night (the Kings play them next), they would have lost too. The Kings were able to defend the perimeter because of Dali and DMC's interior D. Ironically, Beli's only 3 came against a zone defense.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Marco got on my nerves all night. It seems as though every game he throws at least one pass to Monty on the sidelines, and when his shot isn't on he is almost useless. I also didn't understand why Paul didn't lay the ball up on that fast break instead of trying to kick it out to Ariza and getting it stolen (and then getting stuck in the camera). And since when is Cousins a triple-double threat?

QueenBee
QueenBee

"I also didn’t understand why Paul didn’t lay the ball up on that fast break instead of trying to kick it out to Ariza and getting it stolen (and then getting stuck in the camera)." Yeah, I agree that was a big no no.

QueenBee
QueenBee

"Key stretch of the game, Hornets down four with 5 minutes left to go in the game and on three straight possessions the Hornets go to…. Marco Belinelli? Really?" Belinelli sucks more often than he does good. It's been that way pretty much all season imo. That pump fake and round the world thing he does when he has the ball drives me crazy.

PeeDee
PeeDee

why does he do that.....#ihatethatshit2