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

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.


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