Paul, Hornets Falter Late in Loss to Rockets

By:
Published: February 27, 2011

The Houston Rockets beat the Hornets 91-89 behind a stupidly efficient night by Kevin Martin (33 points on 15 shots), a not so efficient night from Chris Paul (6 points on 2-12 shooting), and an over-reliance on Willie Green in the fourth quarter. If those three things never come together during one game again, it will still be too soon for me.

Tonight’s game, following Mardi Gras parades earlier in the day, was supposed to be another reason for New Orleanians to celebrate. For much of the affair, it was. The Bees, who held a double digit lead for most of the game, entered the fourth quarter up 10. After a few minutes of decent basketball from a CP3-West-Landry-Jack-Belli, Paul took a breather. From 8:56 left in the fourth quarter (seconds before Paul went to the pine) up until the game was effectively over (.1 second left), the Hornets scored only 8 points.

At the time it was really depressing, especially considering that it appeared they were on the verge of pulling away for their third straight win throughout much of the first 39 minutes. Despite that, I get the feeling looking back that we shouldn’t stress this game too much.

A lot of stuff just went the Rockets way.

Lowry was draining deep threes that he had no business making, Kevin Martin was having one of the unstoppable nights that he has on occasion, there were at least three shots that went in that can only be described as lucky, Landry was remarkably out of position a couple of times on defense (which presumably won’t happen once he gets used to the guys), the Rockets grabbed 35% of available offensive rebounds, and Chris Paul wasn’t acting like Chris Paul late in the game.

Chris Paul

While he had an off night shooting and got no love from the refs, Paul still managed to put a pretty nice stat line together for a bad night. He had 6 points on 12 shots (only 2 trips to the line), 12 assists, zero turnovers, and three steals. Defensively he allowed Lowry to have an 18 point night, but it’s generally it’s a good thing when your opponent is taking shots from 25, 27, 28, and 29 feet out. That’s how far away Lowry was when he knocked down his four threes.

Most concerning was the continued apathy that Paul displays toward closing out games. It’s becoming clear that for the first time since he exploded onto the superstar scene in 2007-2008, Chris Paul is not acting like one.

So Chris, if you’re out there somewhere, I want you to think about something. Whether or not you are having a bad game, you’re still the best player on the team at every given moment on the floor. You’re the guy who can most easily get his own shot off during crunch time, the one most likely to get fouled while taking it, and the one most likely to make it. If the Hornets are down three points late in the fourth, you need to be the primary option on the play, not Willie Green. Not Trevor Ariza, either. Neither of those guys shoot even 32% from three over the course of their careers.

In the last seven minutes tonight you took one shot. The best player on the floor, by far I might add, took one single shot during crunch time of a home game with playoff implications. Willie Green took six.

It seems that Monty and everyone else on the team is happy to just let you play this passive end game, and truly I get why they do that. Who are they to tell you what to do? You’re Chris Paul. You do what you want on the basketball court.

My only question to you, Chris, is why aren’t you doing that?

Game Notes

  • David West had quite a game, going for 22 points on 14 shots, 9 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals, a block, and only three turnovers. One of the best all around efforts I’ve seen from him in a long time, and his +15 in the stat sheet was well deserved. He held Scola to 6 points on 13 shots, and teamed with Okafor and Landry to not allow a single Houston big man to score in double digits. The trio allowed only 30 points in the paint all game.
  • Carl Landry had 13 points on 11 shots and three boards. I can dig that since he’s only going to get better. Defensively he had a few lapses, but not for lack of effort. Overall it’s just too clear that he’s the most underrated acquisition of the deadline. The hole he filled was so large, and he is such a strong player to begin with.
  • Okafor gathered 14 boards, but it just wasn’t enough. I get the feeling that he felt that way too. It could have easily been 17 or 18, but I guess that’s just how the ball bounces.
  • Marco Belinelli had 14 points 6-8 shooting and was undeniably red hot. It would have been nice to see him on the floor for more of the fourth quarter.
  • The Hornets fell to 1-11 when an opponent hits 10 or more 3-pointers
  • In the first three quarter the Rockets made only 14 field goals from inside the arc.
  • Jason Smith came out with his name spelled SMIHT on his Mardi Gras Jersey.
  • Hornets don’t play at home again until March 9th.
60 comments
Mjacks79222
Mjacks79222

Jack is the only back up PG on the roster. Might not like him, but he averages around 10 a game and is the best back up point guard we have had in a while. You moan and groan about this team. I love this team, but let's face it. We are not an elite squad besides west, Paul, and okafor. Our shooting guards would ride any teams bench and we aren't that far removed from that 33 win season. The improvement is there, be patient

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

i seriously thought we were going to win this game, until the start of the 4th quarter even being up by 10 if you were watching the game you could sense that Martin was giving that cocky smile as if he knew that the hornets would choke. SMH hopefully we win tuesday and wednesday ill be at the Garden in NYC prolly the only guy wearing a Hornets Jersey ahaha

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Test

42
42

The italics are fixed. The issue was that the slash was on the wrong side of the i in the tag. I fixed it. I think nesting issue prevented fixes in other comments from working.

Bug Marley
Bug Marley

removing italics Please remove if it does not work. Lol

James Online
James Online

Jack has been "ballin'?" 39% floor, 24% on threes for the season. That's ballin' at the YMCA maybe but not here. Plus he shoots too much, esp with those statistics.

Dontae
Dontae

I think Chris Paul had a bad game because he's trying to get used to playing without the brace. Maybe he didn't wanna go too hard. I'm only guessing this. He did play well besides that. 12 assists with 0 turnovers. At least he can still pass it. But I blame the loss on the head coach. First time I'm really frustrated with him. I just didn't like his job of subbing players. Come on Monty..

Diane
Diane

I think Chris Paul has been with The Hornets since 2005. There is something definitely wrong with the guy. Even if he is tired he can shoot the ball. I don't know what it is but its scary.

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

Of Course Marco Shouldve been playing..But JJack has been Ballin Don't blame for getting Playing time..And CP just Took off the Brace..Let's Give him More Time to Strengthen his Knee..He Just not 100%..And The Carl Landry and DX combo was Beautiful..But this was A Bad Loss while Chasing Okc

CarnbY
CarnbY

Excuse me, but JJ has not been "ballin"! He's the best option off the bench when CP3 is resting, but playing him next to CP is just plain retarded. He can't play defense, and offensively there's nothing he can do that Willie or Marco can't do better. I wish someone who actually gets to ask Monty questions face to face would press him on this...

Jerry M
Jerry M

Its so frustrating when the Hornets lose to a team they should beat. I'm now worried about this road trip.

James Online
James Online

In many ways, Monty has been very good in his first year. He's bright, demanding, defense-minded, mature. He's got great experience as an assistant with good coaches and good teams. This team is a legitimate playoff contender. Many observers (like Hubie Brown the other night) think the team is developing nicely. And Monty has had to do all this in a very uncertain situation--Paul and West likely to leave, team may be contracted, NBA ownership, shakey fan support early in the season). But, as the comments in this thread reveal, his allocation of minutes is very questionable. Everybody knows I'm a Marco fan, so I react rather strongly to how coach handles him, but when Marco was starting Monty would pull Marco out halfway through the first quarter NO MATTER how he was playing. Willie Green would come in. It didn't matter is Marco was hitting shots, playing great team defense, balancing the floor well, not turning the ball over. He'd be out after five or six minutes. Now with Willie starting (and by the way, I like Willie Green a lot on this team), Willie plays most the first quarter, no matter what, and frikkin' Jared Jack comes off the bench first at the two! This is an insult to Marco who was the starter for most the season. He deserves to be the first off the bench at his position. I credit Marco a lot for his excellent team attitude. Watch how he supports his teammates, including JJ. And since the All Star break he's 13 for 20 floor, 67%. He's had one turnover in the last seven games (yesterday, and that was not a bad pass). He's boarding better, getting out on the break, initiating the offense, working hard and smartly on defense. Kevin Martin beat Marco once yesterday along the baseline and hit one three over a good "hand up." Martin was routinely beating Jack and Green. That seems to go unnoticed by Monty. Time to rethink the distribution of minutes and getting the kid from Bologna back out there for 20 plus.

Archie
Archie

Hey i'm from bologna so i know someone is gonna say i'm a homer a diehard fan and so on..bu what you say is just rigth. I'm the first to say Marco is playing better coming off the bench, but come on only 12 mins per game when JJ sucks...Maybe, like Monty'sdoghouse said, is CP that prefers JJ and Willie (2 friends) and Monty has no balls to say no.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Woah now. To say CP3 doesn't play defense is borderline ridiculous. Kyle Lowry hit about 3 threes last night from 28+ feet out that under normal nights he would not have made. CP3 actually semi-shutdown Kevin Martin too for stretches at a time when he was asked to guard him.

James Online
James Online

Great to have you on the board. I think the posters that say Monty is deferring to CP3's wishes have a point. Paul has basically run the show for all three of his coaches, and all of them know that without him, they're toast. Paul's problems have not just been on offense. His defense, except for the steals and drawing fouls on opponents setting picks, is not strong. Turnovers have been flowing too. This is guy whose body is in NOLA but head is in NYC imo, especially since Mello got there.

strave
strave

Could you possibly post the box scores to your recaps please? I would like this site to be my only stop for Hornets news. Thanks!

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We would like that too. Other suggestions? Anyone? Anyone?

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

JARRETT JACK IS THE WORST DEFENDER ON THIS TEAM BY A MILE! At least when Thornton was going off, he got playing time. I guess Monty was smart enough to know lack of Thornton-Going-Off playing time would mean fuming hot fans. I'm really disheartened by this loss. Besides the stupid pass Beli made, he played a nearly flawless game. He was up in his man's face on the perimeter, playing the angles in the passing game, distributing and creating shots for others, and nailing almost every shot he took. So what does that get him? 2-3 second half minutes? HUH? WHAT? I don't mind if you are inserting your "starter" Willie Green back in even though Monty *should* ride the hot hand. I do mind seeing Jarrett Jack come in and play like steaming hot dog-doo in the first half, not even attempting to play defense, and being rewarded with 2nd half playing time over Beli. It's one thing to not play someone because they're stinking up the floor or one person is hot, but to not play someone when they are hot and the other person is stinking up the floor?? Ugh. JJ is not Kobe Bryant. Minutes are not his god-given right. The kicker? Jack goes against everything MW preaches. He doesn't play defense. At all. Yet gets rewarded with PT. If this isn't concerning to how things are running behind the scenes, I don't know what could possibly get you concerned.

Hornets fan in KC
Hornets fan in KC

Agreed. He plays guys because of his personal relationship with them. Jack and Green are both guys he has a close relationship with. He gets Dell to trade for them and then he makes sure they get their minutes. That was the reason Marcus lost his minutes. It had very little to do with defense. Monty used it as an excuse. He is a hypocrit. The writing is on the wall. People get upset when you complain about a new coach and want you to give him time. I am all about bringing in a new up an coming asistant and giving him a shot as opposed to bringing in a old retread. If it doesn't work don't wait three seasons to do something about it. He is making terrible mistakes. He looks like a deer in headlights. He is putting personal relationships ahead of the team period.

jib
jib

Speaking of Bayless, I'd take him back, at least we'd have someone who can play defense...

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Maybe. Don't forget Bayless. Care to put some minute comparisons together? Also, can you address the difference between 'using what you know' and 'cronyism' is this case?

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

well you said "period." so its gotta be true. He started belly for over half the year and it was a well known fact he liked willie alot he finally switched to willie after belly continued to suck it up. And its proven to be a great move since they both work better in their new roles but id hardly call that picking favorites. The only instance we have of him playing who he likes is with not playing marcus. Marcus is gone, our only back up pg is jack hes going to get his minutes. Im not saying monty is a hall of fame coach or anything i just think yall bein a lil ruff on the rook

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

You keep saying "he" but you could very well have the wrong "he" in this instance. We could all be dead wrong about Monty and this issue. This issue could be coming down to one man and one man only, Chris Paul.

bgalella
bgalella

Tough to believe New Orleans folded down the stretch like it did. Tough to win games with 34 second half points, especially giving up 29 in the fourth.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Ive been thinking about it but i think its time i finally write my journal "is chris paul a superstar?"

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

In my opinion, Monty "Les Miles'ed" this game. Monty's particular version of this coaching disease is one of inability to remember who is the hot guy on his team when crunch time comes. How many games have we seen the lineup not change in the last 3-5 minutes when we are in a tight game? Marco is a streaky player... This is understood, but he was crazy hot from anywhere he shot the ball tonight. You are down 3 with 14 seconds left, ON OFFENSE, and you no only leave in a 2 guard who was 4-10 at the time but you call a play for his OFF-ensive ass? I know Monty is not daft, it just seems like he gets so caught up in the game that he forgets that it is HIS JOB to make strategic calls. To be honest, the only thing that is shocking in this whole situation is that he did it to Marco. So for all of those who thought that the in game amnesia of Marcus' presence HAD to be a slight against Marcus or a sign that Monty disliked him, here is your evidence that he can just be "The Absent-minded Coach." Does not bode well for when he goes up against guys who Pay-The-F-Attention to their guys and what they are doing in a given game during the playoffs.

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

It is worse than I thought. The man is either daft, or maybe he was having one of those migraines that that female reporter at the Grammy's had, or an abscess in his brain... Something! WTF is this man talking about! Good lord, this is almost as bad as Bower saying running plays is not really important in the NBA. @bradhand My main question: Why wasn't Belinelli in the lineup in the final 18 seconds? Monty said the team still needed a defensive focus. Say what? The above is from the Twitter of one of WWL sports writers.

jib
jib

I'm feeling sorry for Marco, he got sent to the benched and is playing better, but playing less. Starting to think Monty for sure has his own little doghouse after all, I'm sure Marcus can relate.

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

YOU HAD 14 SECONDS LEFT, (FINAL POSSESSION) AND YOU WERE ON OFFENSE! WTF DO YOU NEED DEFENSIVE FOCUS FOR AT THAT TIME? ........I want to dig the Hornet loving part of my heart out with a rusty spork!

Hornets fan in KC
Hornets fan in KC

I will continue to state that Monty Williams is not an NBA head coach. He might be a fine assistant but needs to figure out how to run rotations. I wish at the end of games Chris would not run some of those plays that our coach draws up for his boy Willie. I didn't see anyone mention Gray. I thought he played very well in Emekas absence. I would have like to see him get Smith's minutes. At this point Smith should be DNP unless we have an injury. Gray should play when Emeka and West are both out. Willie is having a nice season but is still a back up wether he starts or not and should not get any plays run for him in the last three minutes. Jack is absolutly brutal. A back up that thinks he deserves starters minutes. Tired of that whiny pouty face. Since his time here he has become a very below average NBA point guard.

TopherPrice
TopherPrice

Don't get me wrong, I do not think that Monty is not Head Coach material. I just think he is making mistakes. I don't think he needs to be written off because he doesn't know it all 3/4 of the way through his first season. I would just like for him to acknowledge that he had a pretty big part in not putting the guys in the best position to win this game. Instead we hear him talk about the guys just rested on the first half success and didn't execute. Willie "executed" in the fourth just as well as he executed in the first half, shooting about 30%. He and the rest of the team played well on D also in the second half, The Rockets just went bananas with the 3 ball on majority of bad shots. So in those times defense is not going to win the game, some freaking offense is what it is going to take. And, the offense was clicking until that fourth quarter... Man Landry looks nice. He looked like the best parts of Mek and David melded into one player. As annoying as this loss was, God I am heartened by how nice that 3 headed monster of Mek/West/Landry looked. I can't wait to see them against the Lakers to see how the 6'10' bunch fair against that length, but at least we have the depth and variety in our frontcourt to keep guys fresh while being potent the entire game.

Archie
Archie

Monty makes some mistakes for sure but everything goes on CP. Without CP (or with this CP) thisi is an average team at best no matter how good other players do

Brazilian Hornet
Brazilian Hornet

Chris Paul scored just six points in 40 minutes (has not scored in the second half!) For example, Marco Belinelli scored 14 points in just 15 minutes! CP3, you kidding me? Forget the New York Knicks for just a moment. The offseason begins only after June. Horrible defeat ... lost a great chance of slopes at Thunder ... "Thanks, CP" ...

NOLAnuffsaid
NOLAnuffsaid

our guys played the first 3 minutes of the 4th quarter at a sluggish pace. they looked drained to me. after the timeout Monty called they played a little uptempo for a minute or two then right back to the lethargic play that allowed the Rockets to get back in the game. for 2 and a half quarters i loved what i saw, but the rest of the game had me pissed. going forward if we dont: -have a healthy CP3 for the playoffs i expect us to win one game at most in the first round. -get more consistent second half D we are gonna continuously get beat by weaker opponents. -box out better that will also contribute to use getting beat by weaker opponents -on offense, play without the ball better we wont get good shots like we did in the first half. guys are standing around too much on the offensive side of the ball. it all comes down to effort and a healthy CP3. we get both of those we could make a run. until then lets hope we can put together solid efforts night in and night out.

Just A Fan
Just A Fan

Blame it on the lack of coaching. I mean why not have Belli in at the end and why play JJ so much. Dude does not know "how" to win. We will stay a mediocre team as long as Monty is the coach.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

Absolutely, Just A Fan, I understand where you're coming from! Rookie coaches make Rookie mistakes, but what bothers me is that it's contributing to losses in quite a few cases (unacceptable)!! I'm particularly bothered when Monty has no problem blasting players when their play is sub-par (well, then again, it depends on the player)! Sometimes we have to recognize our own weaknesses in order to begin to resolve them!!!!

Archie
Archie

Maybe i'm a homer and Marco is my hometown boy, but since he starts off the bench he's playing great and Monty geives him 10/15 mins a game playing JJ instead and loosing games, don't know...

NolaHog
NolaHog

Rockets got lucky and we choked. Landry is a beast, despite some of his missed assignments tonight. He is a straight up nasty upgrade on the offensive end, and I'm sure the defense will improve as he learns our system.

James Online
James Online

Monty calls his approach "trust." Looks more like "stubborn" to me. He locks into a rotation mind set and sticks with it no matter what. Note to Marco: Go get yourself a DUI and let the team know you're not happy with your minutes. It will play nicely into Monty's "redemption" fueled belief system and make you look aggressive, gaining you "first off the bench" status at the two guard and prolonged playing time, even if you don't hit your shots, fail to contain your man, and turn the ball over.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

James, while your comment may not be liked by too many, I cannot agree with you more! Sometimes I don't think Monty has a clue..if certain players were to make the type of poor decisions he does, they'd find themselves on the bench; unless, of course, you happen to be one of 'his' boys!!

jib
jib

I strongly agree as well. Jack is one of the slowest NBA guards I've ever seen. I'll give him credit since his scoring has improved as of late, but still... he's always lost defensively, and his height and length are disadvantages already on defense at sg let alone he doesn't have a lot of quickness to even guard most of them...

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

I'm not panicking. I'll judge CP3 when we arrive in the playoffs. If he's unable to carry us then for stretches, i'll finally say that CP3 is not a clutch SCORER. i'll never doubt his clutchness, he ultimately makes the right decision. i mean 12 assists with 0 turnovers? awesome. Until then? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt behind 4 years of CP3 clutch scoring. Remember, this is real life and not NBA 2k11 where a player returning from injury automatically becomes 100%. My doubts will ultimately turn to reality next year, when it's all said and done. I believe an previously injured player needs 1 year to get to ultimate game speed. I saw why Monty wanted to run with small ball. there centers were Hayes and Hill. 6'6 and 6'

Stefan
Stefan

This is what I get when my friend who's a huge Rockets fan comes over to watch the game!? Smh. What happened to Paul's hesitation pull up jumper at the free throw line? He used to constantly take those at the end of games.

Bug Marley
Bug Marley

So we're using italics for the Italian?

Mark
Mark

I don't know what's with this italicized stuff, but I guess that's part of the revamping with the site. Another fourth quarter failure, yeah, but I'm actually not too disconcerted. Sure we need to win against inferior teams (admittedly, Houston is a good team with a bad record), but I'm actually looking forward to watching these players because it seems like we have a good core group. Sure we have problems here and there, but if all the cylinders click and everybody plays their role, I'm going to have fun watching, win or lose. Biggest question is what's up with CP's health. I hope his knee is healing properly, because a major injury can rob players of either physical capabilities or just their confidence. He always plays well, but it always feels like the topic is 'why isn't CP playing at x level?'

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

Losing this game is no fun just seemed like a mental lapse, nobody really fought to win this game. Who won "Best Cap That Pic?"....going on the Oscar theme

JCS
JCS

This game was not lost because of Monty nor was it because Marco was on the bench. This game was lost because the most efficient guard in the NBA didn't do squat and Willie of whom was playing very well in the 4th, does not have the ability to close games like Captain CP3 does. Or should I say, did...

sundance
sundance

"This game was not lost because of Monty nor was it because Marco was on the bench." I disagree on both points. Nobody stopped Martin from scoring. But maybe Monty could have tempered that, without Battier around, by forcing Martin to actually defend another hot wing.