Hornets Defense steps up in victory over Magic

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Published: February 11, 2011

In the first half against Orlando the Hornets had one of their most impressive offensive performances, but it was their defense in the fourth quarter that got them the 99-93 victory. The Hornets defense did a fantastic job of keeping Dwight Howard out of the paint for a large part of the 4th quarter and were still able to contest Orlando’s shots on the perimeter. After a 28 point 3rd quarter that saw Orlando tie the game back up, the Hornets held the Magic to just 13 points on 5 of 17 shooting in the fourth.

New Orleans had so thoroughly frustrated Dwight Howard in the first half that he seemed content with taking a back seat in the second half. He just didn’t have the fire that he had early on, and I am sure his own teammates had as much to do with that as the Hornets did. I understand that there are quality players on that squad, former All-Stars even, but when you have that big of a mismatch down low, you should exploit it for 48 minutes. Instead, the Magic decided a more balanced attack would be appropriate- and that is why nobody considers them legit contenders to come out of the East despite their insane payroll.

And now our new segment (stolen from a small Canadian Sport you might have heard of… Mike Mac’s 3 Stars of the Game!!!)

3. Trevor Ariza

The guy didn’t have a great stat line but he was fantastic on the perimeter, closing out on shooters and making rotations. It was his first game back and he seemed 100% health wise, playing 40 minutes and chucking 16 shots. Yes, I know he was 4-16 and 1-7 from three but as I said, this game was won with defense and Trevor was our best defender tonight. Glad he came back before the break, and I have a feeling that the Hornets will have a nice little run when Emeka comes back.

2. Gilbert Arenas

So there Dwight Howard was dominating the Hornets, who had seemingly no answer for the guy. Little did they know, however, that Agent Zero was on the case. Arenas came in the game and started dominating the ball as usual, killing any chance Dwight had of getting in a groove. Arenas got hot for a stretch in the third, but in the long run that worked against the Magic because it gave them a reason to look away from Dwight. The Hornets didn’t have anybody capable of slowing down Howard, but ironically the Magic did.

1. Willie Green

If I told you entering the game that Willie Green was going to take nearly twice as many shots as CP3, how fast would you have called your bookie and wagered on Orlando? Now it is true that Green made some mistakes tonight, one of which led to a five point swing as Willie messed up a fast break opportunity for the Hornets that ended in a Reddick 3-ball, but all in all he was impressive. 24 points in 36 minutes, 50% from the field, and just an overall confidence that carried throughout the team. He took the first five shots of the game for the Hornets and the Magic were forced to account for him, which in turn gave other guys more space. Willie Green, you are the #1 star of the night!

Other News and Notes:

– We tend to be overly enthusiastic after victories and overly critical after losses, but regardless of the result tonight we have to acknowledge the fact that CP3 is not 100%- and to me that is not such a bad thing to say. If he is 100%, then he has just gotten worse as a player. At least if he is still somewhat injured, there is a chance that we might see old CP3 in the future. My guess is that he is just taking it easy until the playoffs come, at which point he will whip off the knee brace and reclaim his throne as best PG in the league when it matters the most.

– Jack had a great first half, going 5-6 for 13 points. He only got 4 minutes in the second half, producing two very ugly turnovers, but I am thankful for the first half.

– Earl Clark gave D West some problems on both ends of the floor. I think Van Gundy moves him out of the rotation once Bass comes back, but I think the guy has a decent future in this league if he lands with the right team.

– David Anderson had a quiet 10 points, and is starting to make a case for being the first big off the bench. Will this last or will teams just adjust like they did with J Smitty? Time will tell, but it seems to me that Anderson has a higher release point on his shot, making it more difficult to block. I can see him sustaining this.

– Aaron Gray picked up 2 fouls in the first 5 minutes, as predicted, and only 1 more over the next 24. Very impressive, although that is just another example of how Howard’s teammates looked away in the second half.

– Sasha Pavlovic and Marco Belinelli combined to play 19 very nondescript minutes. Marco hit a big three late in the 3rd, but that was the only shot made by the duo. Let Willie keep playing and just give those 19 minutes to Thornton. No reason for either of those guys to be on the floor.

– Best Van Gundy pic comment came from HiMyNameisSteven:

“Thank god i don’t have to shop at victoria’s secret anymore, this gives me support and comfort”

– Lastly, gotta give Monty big props for standing up for his players. David Anderson was called for a phantom foul and then an even more phantom tech. That set Monty off, as he got more fired up than I thought he could get. He lit a fire under the team as well, who outscored Orlando 15-4 after the outburst. Thank you Monty.

54 comments
JayRey
JayRey

FINALLY A WIN!!!! YESSS about time...great to see the Cavs finally win too. Didn't watch the game but I saw Ariza was back. This is good, at least we get some defense back. Hopefully seeing MT not got any playing time is not discouraging. Great to see WG produce and not just be mediocre. If he is consistent, then the SG core of Belinelli, Green, and Thornton should be formidable. So LETS GET THOSE BULLS!!!

Bywater
Bywater

Probably nothing to this, but I found it interesting. Here is the Hornets' record by day of the week: Sunday, 3-5; Monday, 3-7; Tuesday, 2-0, Wednesday, 10-5; Thursday, 0-0; Friday, 9-3; Saturday, 6-2. That means 12 of the Hornets' 22 losses occurred on Sunday or Monday, despite the team playing only 18 of its 55 games on those days. By contrast, the Hornets are 15-5 on Friday/Saturday. This may just reflect the fact that, of the Hornets 18 Sunday/Monday games, 12 have been on the road, while 10 of their 15 Wednesday games have been at home. Still doesn't explain the Friday/Saturday success, as only 9 of their 20 games on those days have been at home.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

My favorite Willie Green moment was that cut into the middle of the lane. DWest found him for a wide open layup. Perfectly run into the perfect space. Veteran play. I am tentatively excited about Willie Green in the starting lineup. If he can keep his percentages around 44-45 and 37ish, watch out.

chris johnson
chris johnson

where's all the hate for willie green now? im not saying he's going to score 20 a night but the comments earlier this year were baffling. green isnt this, he isnt that. i was like who good do expect your backup two guard to be? if anyone deserves to be trashed its jack, even after two solid game. he is the worst, a turnover or bad shot waiting to happen. i am convinced thornton will be traded because after taking a long look at jacks game couldnt thornton at least play jacks role? its not like he's a true pass first point guard. if anything he has shown a better knack for penetrating and dishing (rather than penetrating and dribling off his foot, or penetrating and "CLANG", or penetrating and airball).............i need a drink!

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

I agree with '...Steven', if Will Green keeps this up he should continue as the starter; and furthermore would be a better option than bringing in Rip Hamilton or Stephen Jackson. Willie is very confident ... I think we all see that. I think, atleast for this remaining season, Monty was going to stick with Green anyway versus trading him, because he does give us two things at the 2-guard position that neither Thornton or Belinelli gives; (1) Experience, 7-8 years & (2) Consistency! Unlike us fans, Monty knows what he will get from Willie every night, especially if he is having a bad shooting night. What can the Hornets consistently expect from Thornton or Belinelli if they have bad shooting nights? Usually, nothing! Green is always going to play with confidence, be aggressive towards the rim, play within the system (for the most part), and play with a chip on his shoulder. Green is not intimidated by Kobe, Ginobolli, etc... I think as good as Thornton and Belinelli are they sort of psyche themselves out against those kinds of players, which forces them to play outside of their game. I'm so impressed with David Andersen. I was watching the game with my wife, and we were both looking at this guy like, "Why hasn't he been playing more." His jumper will sustain through the season better than Jason Smith's, because it's more fluid ... and again, a lot like Willie Green (who isn't the most talented player) has a ton of confidence! We can see the difference between ANDERSEN & Smith / GREEN & Thornton + Belinelli. I think the Hornets can get by with Green as the starting 2-guard and Andersen as a reliable threat off the bench for the rest of the year. I will add that yesterday's game against Orlando would have been easier if Marcus Thornton got Marco Belinelli's minutes. Thornton would have definitely hit atleast 2 out of 3 of Marco's open 3's! Marco's just not a good shooter ... I mean he's wide open yawl! Maybe we keep Belinelli around for the rest of the season as a back-up Small Forward? By the way, what a difference Ariza makes! Just wait until Okafor comes back. I found a new appreciation for those two players during this stretch! F-West, F-Ariza, C-Okafor, G-Green, G-Paul F-Andersen, F-Belinelli, C-Smith, G-Thornton, G-Jack ....Maybe we don't need to trade anyone? Unless the Hornets can get someone better than Andersen (Jamison) or Smith (Mohammed) I think the team will stand pat on all trades. L_REAZY

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Well, MaxJD_Nola2NYC , you clearly are not the only one who noticed! I realize it is the 'big white elephant in the room' so I'll keep it brief... Marcus, keep your head up...keep working hard...don't let no one, I mean no one, get into your head! I believe in what you have, it's special...no doubt!!! CP3 & WG, great effort last night. You guys were really really good! I'm not so sure I believe WG is a starter yet; however, I'd have to see more from him, since I've seen so so many terrible games from him! I'll keep an open mind...I'm very proud to have you guys as my team! GEAUX HORNETS!!!! GEAUX MARCUS!!!

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

I like that Thunder. You didn't bash the team for anything. You didn't bash the coach. You said the way it should be said when someone either has a rough game, or someone doesn't play. I agree. "Marcus, keep your head up... keep working hard... don't let no one, i mean no one, get into your head". I'm gonna take it a step further. Marcus, Marco, Jason, DJ, Sasha "...keep your head up... keep working hard... don't let no one, i mean no one, get into your head". I really love this team, and am also VERY proud to be a fan of theirs. GEAUX HORNETS!!!

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Thanks AgentZiko, appreciate that! But remember, I'm not into the 'team bashing' business. I try to remember that it isn't always the fault of players, particularly when they have bad games...I always try to say what I 'feel' but in doing so, try to give something positive as well. Afterall, 'I' chose to follow our team...that means they're doing great things! I'll place them above ANY OTHER, but it's awfully frustrating when they fall short, particularly when we have weapons that may have lifted us up in some way...sometimes you never know, but we're all learning. We ALL have room to grow!!!!!

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Belinelli just scored 17 points in one half against the Nets to keep us in that game. He's just like Green and Thornton, skilled but very inconsistent. Every Thornton-sniffer wants to forget the good games from Belly/Green and forget the bad games from Thornton. That's why statistics matter. I'd love to see Marcus step up and be consistently good in his first few minutes on the court (on both ends). When that happens he will get more minutes. If it doesn't then he will continue to languish while more experienced and coachable players get the PT.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Hornets bout to go on a run. Bulls (check) cant take us in our house. Warriors (Check) blazers (check and check) then clippers twolves rockets after the all star when we hopefully got mek. We bout to make another run i can smell it. See yall in the hive tonite!

Dontae
Dontae

I'm glad they got this win. Willie Green just showed he should start over Bellinelli. I think that would be a much better line-up. I really don't see why the Hornets still have Bellinelli he's greatly under-achieving.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

Great game I have to agree that marcus should have gotten bellinelli and sasha's minutes.. Am I the only one that noticed he racked up a DNP?! Wtf smh

AllBall
AllBall

Even at 80% (Or whatever it is), im taking Paul over any other player in the league. I fckin love that guy. I know he is going to be ready for tonights game against the golden child.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

I agree. Personally. I can't stand D Rose. He shoots more than Kobe did in his hay days. The other night I saw him go 11-26 for 29 points, and 7 assists, and the announcers just RAVED about him. The guy shoots SOOO much, and doesn't even do it efficiently. His PER is only 22.99. CP's is 25.27. Yet Derrick Rose is getting SOOO much attention this season. Why? Because he plays in Chicago. This same thing happened with Rondo to start the season. Everyone started thinking he's the best PG in the league. NO WAY. He was getting those assists because he was SUPPOSED to. He's got 4 hall of famers on the freaking team, and a deep supporting cast. CP would average 20 assists if he played for Boston. But people don't get this stuff. There are so many bandwagoners. For them it accumulates to "what have you done for me lately?"

AllBall
AllBall

Ziko, I have been having that same argument you discussed all season. Chris Paul will win you more games, in more ways, than Derrick Rose. Yes, he is scoring 24 PPG, but he is shooting over 20 shots a game. Literally (well almost), he is doubling Chris Paul in shot attempts. CP does everything better than Rose, besides scoring.

Mark
Mark

They've got a good team, but I'm surprised Rose has been so touted this year. Remember CP's dominant 07-08 season? It was only until around the last month of the season that people (even in NOLA) started acknowledging CP's greatness. CP and the Hornets. Always overlooked.

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Really great win, the guys fought and left everything there on the court yesterday...For CP3, yes we know he ain't 100%, but as I said here, on the forums, I'm telling you guys, he's leaving his best for last, he will need to burn that knee brace sometime and that's gonna be after the allstar break, even a little later when we need a big playoff run to hunt down the Mavs or something and he will be the "old CP3" but guys, he dominated in MANY games this year WITHOUT being 100%, look at the Lakers game for an example, look at the Miami game, Oklahoma game, Orlando game in NOLA, Phoenix game at Phoenix, Minnesota game in Minnesota and in NOLA, the Spurs game in San Antonio, the 2 Denver games and the list goes on, my point is, right now he doesn't have to unleash his inner CP3 every game (REMEMBER in the 1st streak, how he won the games in the clutch for the Hornets, he simplay willed out the victories...) so it's gonna be scary seeing him without a brace and playing 100% speed (now it's 80% IMO) and when he does make way!!! GEAUX HORNETS!!!

RyanCaz
RyanCaz

So is it safe to say Willie Green has locked up the starting SG position? I believe so. And these are probably the last days of Sasha as a Hornet

Stefan
Stefan

Honestly, I didn't even set this game to record on the DVR just to avoid watching a blowout loss. When I saw the score at the half, I rushed home from the gym exceeding every speed limit possible to watch the second half. What a game! I wish I saw the 61 points in the first half.

GecGreek
GecGreek

it's david andersEn.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

shhhh, i want the myth to keep going on that its anderson (my last name) been tellin people hes my cousin. taught him his stroke

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Sean Anderson. Now everyone knows your name.

berlin-hornets
berlin-hornets

Just awesome.Nevertheless, the last two games hurt the more now, because we see these were winnable by this squad. Nice thing is that the Hornets have the easiest after-All-Star-break-schedule of all the teams in the league. I think they can make a real push with a healthy team and their minds set on the playoffs. Anderson really surprised today. Although, I probably shouldnt be surprised, I remember him torching us when he was with Houston. He can be good givin the time and rythmn- I am just curious what the trade-deadline holds for us.

Will Bennett
Will Bennett

go you good thing. The hornets are going to dismantle the Bulls mark my words.

GecGreek
GecGreek

what did we learn tonight? Willie Green's nickname is the Green Hornet.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

remember that time i said willie green should be the starter for this team? =)

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

21.5 ppg in the last two. Pretty solid. I still like dreaming of Iggy though. God we'd be SOOO good.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

@ Michael- thanks for the caption shout out and agree if willie can keep up his solid play i think he should keep this starting spot and bench minutes get split with belly and marcus with marcus getting the majority... i dont think sasha will be on the team for much longer, did we 10 day him or sign him for the rest of the year?

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

That comment was HILARIOUS dude. I laughed sooo hard when I read it. LoL.

mbdtf
mbdtf

10 day. However, I don't know if we're gonna let him go just yet. He has shown some up-side on defense, and if he can get than shot to start dropping, he could definitely help the team. We'll see.

Hornet
Hornet

Boooo. Replace Arenas with Gray.

DownUnder
DownUnder

9-1 against the South East, that has got to be one of the better records going against that division, surely. And it was a good win, I wont take to much much good from this game cause its the same guys the lost the previous 4 + Ariza. David Anderson probably is now our 3rd best big as he should be, at least until this quality play stops, he'd be a good 4th big next to the right back up C.

Ron
Ron

Why did Orlando play only 8 people? Why didn't MT5 play? Abysmal shooting?

42
42

I was asking myself about the Magic,their vaunted roster, and the short rotation. What the hell?

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

They USUALLY have a very tight rotation in close games. Thats a Van Gundy thing.

JCS
JCS

Glad the Hornets won. Chris Paul is my favorite non white player in the league.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

That's funny. I don't see it in these terms at all 42, but I have to admit that's funny.

42
42

I can't believe anyone would really sees basketball in these terms . . . or anything else.

Go Blue
Go Blue

lol @ "Chris Paul is my favorite non white player in the league."

Schmide234
Schmide234

oh and DAAAVVVIIIIDDD ANDDEERRRSSSOOONNNN. my favorite white player in teh leeaaaggue

Schmide234
Schmide234

far ahead

Schmide234
Schmide234

im not sure why but i never really liked marks. the guy never seemed to make a big difference. this anderson guy is killin if he had 20min a night he could average 10-12pts or so for us

Icebird
Icebird

I'm deeply, deeply saddened by that comment. Even if Anderson probably is a better basketball player.

cp3pdx
cp3pdx

ahead of sean marks?????

Schmide234
Schmide234

didnt get to watch the game but am very excited bye the results. if we start doing better on offense and once we get Emeka back i am also feeling a 10 game win streak!