CP3 leads Hornets to big win over Memphis

Published: March 4, 2011

That’s right, I said CP3. Christopher didn’t make the flight to Memphis; instead CP3 took the floor and led a beat up bunch to a huge 98-91 victory over the red hot Grizzlies. 23 points, 14 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals, but in this game the numbers were only half the story. It is great to see the stats, but what is more promising is the fact that CP3 played with an aggression that Hornets fans haven’t seen in over a month. He never got all the way to the bucket, but he poked and proded the Memphis defense from multiple spots on the floor and the result was open looks for his teammates.

Monty decided to shake things up by starting Belinelli over Green tonight and he was forced to start Q-Pon due to Trevor Ariza’a injury. If that wasn’t enough, David West went down with an ankle sprain 3 minutes into the game and never returned. For Christopher Paul, it would have been Game, Set, Match- but as I said in the preview, CP3 can go to battle with any four players and be victorious.

CP3’s supporting cast took turns playing the complimentary role once West went out with injury. In the first half, Marco and Jack played huge and helped keep the Hornets in it. In the third quarter, Landry and Emeka stepped up. And the fourth quarter was Willie Green time. (Seriously, how many accidents do you think fans will get into tonight leaving the FedEx Forum because they will simultaneously be trying to figure out how Willie Green beat them while they are driving?)

Willie was the difference in the fourth quarter as the Hornets were desperately looking for offense. He scored 11 points in a span of 4 minutes that saw the Hornets take the lead for good, hitting jumpers like he was Samuel L. Jackson. CP3 himself said after the game that Willie deserved the game ball, and with the way Zach Randolph was playing late, it would be hard to envision a way that the Hornets would have won without him.

Notes and Observations:

– I know people are worried about Ariza, West, and Landry, but let’s just try to enjoy the victory for now. News of the injuries will come soon enough.

– The Hornets bench trio combined for 48 points tonight. I know the numbers are skewed because all three of them got starters minutes or close to it, but it is still nice to know that you have that kind of firepower of the bench. Even if you take Green out and replace him with Belly, who only got 17 minutes, you still have 47 points from the Landry/Jack/Belly combo.

– The Mantras have worked. The Knee IS fine. We DO have a bench. Monty took a chance tonight and it worked, getting 29 points from his SG position on 66% shooting. He went with a hunch and changed the lineup and it worked. And we continue to see Jack gelling in with this time. All that is left is for Mr. Chouest to rid on in on that white horse.

– Carl Landry, 14 points, 10 rebounds, and some great defense most of the night on Memphis’s bigs. David West is the superior player, but it feels so good to know that he can go down or get into foul trouble and the dropoff will be minimal.

– Mixed bag for Aaron Gray. The good: 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in just 18 minutes. The bad: 4 turnovers and 3 fouls, including one at the end of the game that nearly allowed Memphis to tie it up. Thank you Marc Gasol.

– You look at Q-Pon’s stat line and nothing pops out, but the guy gave 29 very solid minutes of relatively mistake free basketball. He played solid defense and crasjed the boards, while making nearly all of the right reads on his rotations. If he would have knocked down his threes, that would have been gravy. Still, I like what I saw.

– Surprised Memphis didn’t play Battier more considering Sam Young is just a horrible outside shooter. Battier was +10 in his limited minutes. Young was -20.

– Carl Landry and Emeka Okafor combined for seven steals, primarily because of how active they were on the interior. Memphis has a lot of plays designed to get high-low offense generated and those two guys did a great job of making that difficult for Memphis to do tonight.

– Weird stat: Carl Landry was 6 for 9 in the paint and from straight on. 0-5 from everywhere else. Some guys just have their spots.

– Enjoy this win Hornets fans. Cleveland and Chicago coming up, and then the Hornets come back home. Here’s hoping they are healthy when they do.


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