Hornets post furious comeback and topple Mavericks

Published: March 9, 2011


If the Hornets end up facing Dallas in a first round series, it could be one of the most entertaining series in the history of basketball.  The Mavs and Hornets have met three times this season, and the Hornets have won two of them, but none of the games were decided by more than 3 points.

Tonight, they overcame a 10-point 4th quarter deficit and gutted out a one-point win, 93-92. (Box Score) They did it via a balanced attack that saw individual players carry the offensive load for stretches at a time.  Landry dominated the second quarter scoring.  Jack ripped off five in a row and three huge free throws in the fourth.  West kept the Hornets in striking distance the Mavericks when the defensive stops grew scarce down the stretch of the fourth, and Belinelli tossed in a bucket here and there all through the game.

Oh and the defense?  It came to play.  That game was physical on both sides, and the Hornets ran a playoff rotation out there – going only 8 deep and only giving 8 minutes to Aaron Gray.

Jarrett Jack

Michael and I have been adamant for weeks that Jarrett Jack is a huge upgrade over any former back up point guard we’ve had.  He proved it tonight.  No, he couldn’t check Barea.  Yes, he started the game ice cold.  But – like I said in the podcast – when he gets big minutes, his numbers become impressive.  21 points on 19 shots, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and three cold-blooded free throws to finish a game Tyson Chandler had failed to put away just moments before.  I love how Dallas called a 20-second time-out afte the second free throw to try and get him out of rhythm, and it didn’t bother him one bit.

Marco Belinelli

Mama Mia looks like he did to start the season, shooting with confidence and being aggressive.  He’s had the skills all season long, but his confidence wasn’t always there.  I think the Thornton trade may have helped him more than anyone else on this roster, letting him play freely and know he’s going to get enough minutes to contribute.  He also hit a pair of insaneshots tonight:  A half-court heave at the half-time buzzer, and a leaning three pointer to put the Hornets within 4 with 50 seconds left in the game.  Crazy shot.

Other Observations

  • It wasn’t all tea and crumpets, however.  The offense looked downright ugly.  During the third, I wrote down “Jumpshot, jumpshot, jumpshot, jumpshot, jumpshot”.  That was, essentially their third quarter offense, and they sputtered.  Luckily, they were getting lots of foul shots off offensive rebounds or turnovers and that kept it from being a total disaster.
  • Monty’s chest bump of West at the end was priceless.  He’s not far removed from being just one of the guys.
  • Landry is a beast in the post.  He started off abusing Nowitzki, and then they moved Chandler onto him, and he took Chandler to the hole twice for scores.  As he settles ito this team, he’ll be a wonderful fit.
  • Okay, that said about Landry – he was hopeless guarding Nowitzki.  Okafor and West gave the German some trouble.  Landry only had one good defensive posession against him out of like seven tries, and that one, I believe, Nowitzki was trying to flop and get a call.
  • Trevor Ariza was grimacing all game.  The broadcast caught it in the third, but he was doing it from the first quarter.  0-10 for the game, and every jumper but one that he took was an airball.  Happily, he also battled Marion on the boards, and vacuumed in 9.  Good for him to contribute how he could . . . but please stop shooting so much, Ariza.
  • Gray has his good games and his bad games.  This was a bad one.
  • Willie started, but got pulled quickly in the first after several ineffective minutes.  Belinelli got 40 minutes.  Honestly, I don’t care which of these two starts.  Monty will figure out which one is playing better, and let them finish – and that’s the way it should be.
  • Beaubois = Thornton
  • I frequently end up thanking Kidd for wrecking the Mavs chances.  Tonight, we can thank him again.  0-7 from the field, 1 rebound, 7 assists, and one rock-stupid foul on a Jarrett Jack pumpfake that cost the Mavs the game.  Thanks, Kidd.
  • Tyson was a beast tonight.  Yeah, I can mock him for missing those two free throws to make the game a two-posession game, but 16-13 in 25 minutes?  He and Barea were huge for the Mavs when their starters were struggling to score.
  • Bob and Gil were talking like the Hornets had lost the game when they entered the fourth down 10.  My thinking was following the same paths.

Hey!  I got to recap another win!  Two in a row for me, baby!



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