The Thunder beat the Hornets

Published: February 2, 2011

If a Marcus Thornton shot is Goaltended, does a referee see it?  Apparently, after tonight, the answer is no.  Seriously – this one wasn’t even hard to call like the Phoenix game.  You could see it in full motion.  No, it didn’t matter to the outcome of the game like the last one, but come ON.

Anyways, considering the Hornets were without Okafor and lost Ariza halfway through the game, they were in that thing a lot longer than they should have been.  The Thunder were raining shots from long range – typically the kinds of looks the Hornets wanted.  They were not getting much of anything at the basket until Ibaka started ripping down offensive rebounds in the second half.  Considering the Thunder started raining jumpers in that half, it hurt that when they did miss we had trouble ending the possession.

Chris Paul

I can’t figure out if I was irritated that Paul played after the ankle injury or not.  Yes, he kept the team in the game.  But no, he wasn’t in good shape.  He only drove hard a few times in the second half, and defensively, he couldn’t keep up with Eric Maynor in transition – and Maynor’s talents do not include speed.  He didn’t jump when rebounds came near him.  He didn’t explode towards the hoop like he was to start the game.  It was a little tough to watch.

Of course, regardless of the problems his footspeed caused on defense, he’s so damn savvy he’s extremely effective anyways.  He baited the Thunder into several stupid fouls – and he didn’t even have to flop because they fell for them hook, line and sinker.  In fact, Paul made Westbrook – one of my favorite players – look like a chump for most of that game.

Trevor Ariza

Holy crap Ariza’s offense was awful.  Repeated drives against three defenders in the paint, followed by layup attempts that had less chance of scoring than Joe Gerrity has with Megan Fox.  Here’s the rub, though.  He was the reason the Hornets were in that game.  His line is terrible, but he was crushing the Thunder’s passing in transition, and you just have to look at Durant’s shooting.  Durant got one look near the rim – and that was in transition.  Sure, Durant was hit his shots in that first half, but they were long and what Ariza wanted him to take.  Oh – and he only had 7 shots in the first half to go with 4 free throws.  In the second half he ripped off 12 shots and earned seven trips to the line.

Other Observations:

  • Pondexter got big minutes with Ariza on the bench and he made good use of them.  His energy was great and he became the first option when the starters began sitting down in the second half.   He didn’t back down to anyone, or show any fear as he attacked the basket.  Good on ya, Rook.
  • What the hell is with back-up point guards and New Orleans?  Jarrett Jack had a better than average PER for years before coming to the Big Easy.  And now he sucks.  Okay, maybe that’s not totally fair – he had a few nice passes to David Andersen – but other than that he was pretty bad.
  • Andersen will get some deserved props for the shots he was hitting.  He led the surge that put the Hornets up for most of the second quarter.  Sadly, in the second half, the Thunder were closing on him, and he wasn’t able to keep it up.  He also wasn’t able to rebound – and he became hard to keep on the floor.
  • Aaron Gray was good.  I liked what he gave us.
  • Jason Smith tried hard.  It’s a shame that his high energy level doesn’t always lend itself to smart basketball.
  • West did what he could to make up for Mek’s absence, pulling down 15 boards – which is one shy of half the Hornets total.  No other Hornet had more than 4.
  • The Thunder announcers were good at the start.  Then they became really, really bad.
  • Willie Green was not the drag some of you seem to think he was.  He was competing hard – and only struggled when he had to switch and cover Durant.  That, of course, turned ugly.  Still he gave some nice minutes as a backup point guard when Jarrett Jack proved ineffective, handling the ball under pressure and getting the offense going.

Hope the team invents the Ankle Revitalization Machine some time in the next couple days, or the game against the Lakers isn’t likely to be competitive.


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