Game On: Nuggets @ Hornets

By:
Published: March 14, 2011

A win on Saturday night moved the Hornets into sixth place out West; a win tonight will put New Orleans in a tie for 5th. Denver comes into the night one game ahead of the Hornets (2 up in the loss column), meaning that a win will create a virtual tie and it will also give the Hornets the season sweep of Denver, which gives the Hornets the higher seed if both finish with the same record.

Denver will be without two key pieces, as both Danilo Gallinari and Aaron Afflalo will be out, but Denver has been one of the hottest and most explosive teams in the NBA since the trade deadline. They are 7-2 without Melo and five of those wins have been by double digits, one of which was by 30 points and another that was by 40. This team can push the pace and can score in bunches, so it will be a contrast of styles to say the least.

When the Hornets have the ball:

David West had a nightmare game last week against Joakim Noah, who stiffled West in the paint and pushed him further and further out on the perimeter. Prior to Noah, only one guy had given West those kind of problems on a regular basis, and that guy is Kenyon Martin. Martin has the quickness to stay in front of West when he drives to the bucket, the strength to keep him from backing him down in the post, and the length to contest perimeter shots. Not many guys in the league can do all three, but Martin can when he is healthy.

In the Hornets previous two games against Denver, West did not have to contend with Martin, but tonight he will and it will likely prove to be the most important matchup of the game. If West can’t get going, then the Hornets will be forced to get the majority of their offense from their perimeter players, who have been streaky at best. Trevor Ariza is 2 for 18 since returning, Jack has been up and down, as has Willie Green. Marco Belinelli is a different story, however, as he has been exceptional since the All-Star break, averaging 13 PPG on nearly 53% shooting and 52% from deep.

We can speculate all day as to who might or might not have a good game, but the truth is that if CP3 truly is back, it might not matter who else shows up to join him. Although it was just one game against Sacramento, there is reason to believe that we have seen the return of our franchise player. If that is the case, then the offense will click simply because he is at the helm going against two below average defenders in Lawson and Felton.

When the Nuggets have the ball:

JR Smith had 31 points in his last game and he attributed his breakout game to the fact that he has stopped thinking so much on the court. Really? Does anybody believe that Smith was playing poorly because he was thinking too much? Well, that is what he will have you believe, as he is now focused on merely catching and shooting, a strategy that led him to go 9-16 from three against Detroit. Good news for the Hornets is that they have been defending the line very well as of late. Bad news is that all trends eventually come to an end.

The key to the game on the defensive end for the Hornets is to limit the two headed monster of Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson. Both guys can push the ball up the court and create nightmares for a defense. They play about half the game together in a small ball lineup that takes advantage of missed shots and turnovers, enabling Denver to go on large runs that could put the game out of reach. The Hornets have to make sure to limit turnovers and to take quality shots on the offensive end, because you want Denver to play as much half-court basketball as possible.

Afflalo and Gallinari are arguably Denver’s two best three-point shooters, so Denver won’t be able to stretch the floor as much as they would normally like in half court sets. With Lawson, Felton, and Gary Forbes all getting increased minutes due to the injuries, it is likely that Denver will rely more on dribble penetration from their guards and low post scoring from Nene if they can’t get into transition. Sounds simple, but it won’t be: Get back on defense and protect the paint and the Hornets win.

Other News and Notes:

– Thanks to Dariusz for the banner. It was his way of donating. He said, “Hey guys I don’t have any money to give, but could you use a Q-Pon?”

– Nene has been the biggest beneficiary of the Melo trade, as he is averaging a team high 16 PPG since the trade.

– Hornets favored by 3 tonight, over/under line set at 199.5. Hornets have covered in previous two games this year and the under won both times. Both trends continue: Hornets 97 Denver 91

– Be sure to sign up for our Hornets247 Bracket Challenge. Free to enter and winner gets CP3 Mardi Gras bobblehead and a jersey. Plus, site bragging rights for the next year. Always good to inflate that ego just a bit.

– Can’t wait to see you guys Cap…This…Pic!!

Last, but not least. We appreciate all of the donations so far and encourage all of you to give if you have a chance. Only 4 more days of us mentioning it and it is gone for a year. We are looking forward to making a big push towards beefing up this site and every little bit helps. Thank you again from all of us!


99 Comments

  1. pinoyballah

    March 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    CAPTION: “this is what happens when you mix man with bird”

    • pinoyballah

      March 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      “CAAAAAA CAAAAA”

      • Michael McNamara

        March 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm

        LOL

      • JCS

        March 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

        hahaha

  2. Dontae

    March 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    CP3 is going to abuse Lawson and Felton. Another big game from our MVP and it’s gonna be close but we come out with the win.

  3. Hornet Seantonio

    March 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Caption “meth is a hell of drug”

  4. yEAH Right

    March 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Remember that time the Nuggets beat the Hornets by 50 in the playoffs…Could be the same. They’re the real deal.

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      58. I was there the whole time.

      Jealous? I know you are.

      No one drops 60 on us in our house!

      • Cloud520

        March 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm

        That’s right! That game was painful to watch but I stayed the whole time. I remember when a ref called a foul with like 50 seconds left and someone screamed out “Just let it end! We wanna go home!”

  5. NolaHog

    March 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Everyone might want to get to the game early, because they’re going to have X-games BMX bikers doing a show for Buzz-Fest. It’s rare I make it to a game before tip-off, but today may be the day.

    I fully expect Landry to abuse Denver tonight. The guy is shady nasty.

  6. coach44

    March 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    “By day, he is a meek, mild mannered basketball player, but by night he transforms into the inked avenger know as Birdman!”. Hope he has a crappy game tonight.

  7. 42

    March 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Caption: “Chris Andersen: Before and After Metallica”

    • Oc

      March 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Before and after coke?

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

        I was implying he improved. You seem to be intimating the opposite.

  8. James Online

    March 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Watch Monty pull Marco out before anyone else in the first quarter no matter how well he is doing.

  9. lancebrou68

    March 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Caption: The bird told him to do it!!!

  10. Edbballin504

    March 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Caption: “Scientists from the University of Colorado come upon a startling discovery that evolution does exist. Above, Chris Anderson, once a human has shown signs of evolving into a bird. Dr. Karl, professor at the University of Colorado believes the change may have potentially occured from extended interactions with hornets native of Lousiana.”

  11. Zolinho

    March 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Why ya all say Anderson? Chris Anderson, David Anderson… They write it with e 😮

    Or ur just makin fun of ’em?

    • Hornet Seantonio

      March 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Only stunner spell it with an O

  12. Stefan

    March 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Caption:

    On the left, we have the NBA’s rising star Chris Anderson. On the right, we have Chris Anderson after becoming best friends with JR Smith. Those two are currently working on a petition to change their team name to the Denver Thuggets.

    • Cloud520

      March 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      This is fantastic

    • Thornton's Thunder

      March 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      Thuggets!!!! Lmao!!!!!

  13. Cloud520

    March 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    CAPTION: “Devner, where tattoos are cheaper the longer you’ve been here.”

  14. Mark

    March 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Geez, I couldn’t even tell that was him on the left.

  15. cameronismyname

    March 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Caption: “Am I Kenyon Martin yet?”

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      Oh my god! Oh my god!! Oh my god!!!

  16. sergio_alj

    March 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Big game tonight.

    Hornets must WIN and try to “put depression” on Nuggets. Next Nuggets games: @Atlanta,@ Orlando and @Miami. if they lose 3 games, we have a chance to reach the 5th place.

    GO Hornets!!

  17. andy

    March 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I predict struggling from CP3. Think he’s not in the best shape cause of the injuries for the past year and plays immensely better with rest. Plus SAC is the worst defensive team in the league. Felton will get up for playing a wounded CP3, back to their ACC rivalry.

  18. JCS

    March 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Caption: Charity Events + Donny Osmond [Left] Black Tar Heroin + Ozzy Osbourne [Right]

  19. paul

    March 14, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I HATE when we are favored!

  20. whodat504

    March 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Caption: “Who said meth is a bad thing!”

  21. Kevin

    March 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Hey, let’s watch it with the Bird dogging. That’s my guy.

  22. beesgeez

    March 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    caption: ta-ta-ta-ta-tattoo, tattoo’s the word. ta-ta-ta-ta-tattoo, tattoo’s the word. have you heard about tattoo’s? everybody knows that tattoo is the word!

  23. f.g. di bene

    March 14, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    we need belli out there to make some space to our offense…

  24. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    CP3… assists, rebounds, and steals are cool and all, but I’d love at least 1 point.

  25. Gec

    March 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    “Now i know why Coach Karl didn’t want his son to play for his team”

  26. Gec

    March 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Put a body on the birdman!!!!!

    • mbdtf

      March 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      I can’t stand him. At all.

  27. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Emeka is beginning to foul at a higher rate than Gray.

    • JCS

      March 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      In other words, he’s carrying a hacksaw.

  28. Schmide234

    March 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    ARIZA HAS LOST US THE BALL LIKE 4 TIMES ALREADY

  29. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Our defense is no where to be found.

  30. Gec

    March 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    feed landry. If he’s in the game look for his offense since DWest isn’t that effective in this half

  31. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Belly forgot how to stand..

  32. JCS

    March 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    UNC is beating Wake Forest now…

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      We are discussing an NBA game here.

      One team is from Denver. The other is based in New Orleans.

      The various players played at different schools. It’s quite interesting.

      As you know, google will tell you who played where. It’s quite nice.

  33. Go Blue

    March 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Wow I don’t think the offensive could get any worse……I hope they wake up for the 2nd half. Wow just wow.

  34. Bywas2001hornets4ever225

    March 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Im glad they r playin so hard, no way they keep those good internal passes up in the second half. Crush them hornets. We just need 1 person to do a hard foul to show denver we don’t play that shit

  35. JCS

    March 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    To echo andy’s ACC Rivalry comment:

    George Karl, Ty Lawson, and Raymond Felton (UNC)

    Chris Paul (Wake Forest)

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      Sounds like a victory for google.

      And I still see NBA teams…

      • andy

        March 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm

        stop downplaying the Felton-Paul rivalry. Its real and dates back before you were a fan of CP3.

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

        I’m not downplaying it.

        The colleges are irrelevant; the players are not.

        Williams is the one who should be a little upset regarding Felton.

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

        Also, a good friend of mine got a degree from UNC and is a researcher at Duke. My uncle went to State. Two good friends are Hokies. I keep up with ACC and SEC. Outside of that, it’s final four folks.

      • andy

        March 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm

        Chris should dislike williams too, the Illini were the first team to beat wake and they beat them by 20 when wake was #1 in the country. But chris and d-will are close.

        Chris wanted to go to UNC his whole life, and he never even got recruited by them cause they had Felton. Felton won the title but has been in Chris’s shadow for 7 years now. The rivalry there is from both sides.

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm

        All interesting, andy. It does certainly sound like you think college issues don’t translate into a rivalry in the pros perforce, as Williams and Paul are friends. I agree. Good man.

        Again, this game, whatever it says about people, says nothing about the schools’ rivalry, which is what I was actually saying in my conversation with the always entertaining JCS.

      • QueenBee

        March 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm

        Nobody gives a sh*t about a Felton/Paul rivalry. Are you serious? So Felton finally decides to play well in his 6th season and now it’s a rivalry? LMAO.

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

        Agreed, Queen. Agreed.

        I was talking to Ed about his hair. Shave it off, D.

      • andy

        March 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        Is there some troll of the year contest I’m not aware of going on?

      • 42

        March 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

        Not that I know of.

        Why do you ask?

    • QueenBee

      March 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Anyone here ever failed an ACT or SAT? Or do you know anyone that did?

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 11:05 pm

        You can’t fail. You get a score.

        Some colleges or whatever may not like the score and react according, but there is no fail.

        I did quite well, so my understanding of the matter is, perhaps, limited.

        I did teach at a major university, so I had that angle on it, too.

  36. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    We look awful. No defense at allllllll

  37. Gec

    March 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    you gotta be kidding me. Where is the passion? Where is the intensity? Where is the effort? Where is the speed? This game’s too important for the 5th seed and this is the attitude? Embarassing. CP3 talks and gives effort against Pooh Jeter but can’t do anything against denver’s PG? Pff

  38. Gec

    March 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    keep collapsing in the middle Hornets, they aren’t hot from long distance.

  39. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    This team will play as well as their defense does, and tonight it is awful.

  40. JCS

    March 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Chris Anderson looks like he’d sell drugs to kids, in an Ozzy Osbourne tee.

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      Sounds like judging a book by it’s cover and not thr content or its characters.

      Or history: he’s got money, and he’s got a history of using.

      So, he looks like someone who has bought drugs and used them . . .

      . . . who can jam.

      And I assume you mean t, as in t-shirt, not a golf tee. He couldn’t fit in one of those, big guy like that . . .

      You are welcome, young man.

      • paul

        March 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm

        really…
        long live self expression!

  41. Bywas2001hornets4ever225

    March 14, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Come on team lets show some fire in the 4

  42. seb

    March 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Hornets D sucks tonight. 95 pts in 3 qtrs. that is awful. why is this team so inconsistent. CP3 playing bad. while everyone is doing well. Now CP3 playing great, but the rest of the team is non existent. Just wish we could play consistently!!!

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      What you are describing is a championship team.

      I wish we could do that too.

      We may be onthe road there, but we aren’t there yet.

      Don’t put too much in to this game, the last one, or any other single game.

      • paul

        March 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

        42…look, you and i agree on a lot, but tonight I do not agree with Monty even if you might.
        I think he is playing, again, into the opposition hands and their game.
        Gray should have played more than 4 minutes.
        He was getting us rebounds and second chances.
        This whole team was not working tonight and to sit your seven foot center and then watch your team fall down by 20…this is very, very stupid coaching.

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm

        He got burned a couple of times, but I tend to agree that you have to have something in the middle against Chris “someone said i look like i sell drugs to kids behind my back but wouldn’t say it to my face” Andersen and Mr. Martin. The defense on the guard isn’t helping either.

        Maybe Gray isn’t fast enough? I don’t know. I’ve got it on the radio, so I’m a blind here.

      • paul

        March 14, 2011 at 9:02 pm

        supposing and probably wrong that you agree with Monty tonight.
        there is the possibility you are as unhappy as I am…..

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm

        Suppose all you want, my friend. Humans assume, and that’s how we ended up where we are. We can envision things that don’t exist, even with imperfect information.

        We can talk through our criss-crossings, and that’s what make it’s all work.

        Me and you, Paul.

      • Gec

        March 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm

        this game was so iportant for the fifth seed. Playing at home. There is some games that are a little more than just another RS game, this was one and we played with no effort for 3 quarters

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

        I suppose I fail to see the importance of the 5th seed.

      • paul

        March 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

        Gray got burned 42?
        See I saw hi guarding another and his teammate got burned.
        He had more rounds than he had minutes.

        And IF this team benched those getting burned tonight…who the hell is still in the game?

        See, to me Monty’s play is really terrible.

      • paul

        March 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

        Paul…where we are is what confuses me!

        But I get you.
        I’m right there with you.

      • Gec

        March 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm

        42: 5th seed = you don’t get the Lakers untill the WCF.

      • 42

        March 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm

        Depending on where they are seeded.

        The way I see it, if you aren’t going to win the title, then you shouldn’t ‘care’ who have to go through to get it. If you have to bob and weave, that amounts to an asterisk by your title.

        No, we need to meet our foes head on, and dole out the licks, and take the licks back.

        If we lose, so be it.

  43. mbdtf

    March 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Loving J Smith!

  44. Hornet Seantonio

    March 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Why is it the same story every loss, poor officiating and teams making it rain from the perimeter? i dont know which is more aggrivating

    • seb

      March 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      yea it really is crap. it seems like the hornets always are playing a team on the night where they shoot lights out. 15 made 3 pointers. real BS considering the hornets made 9!!!

    • Gec

      March 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      don’t forget 6 or 7 dunks we allowed in the second quarter, offensive rebound allowed and a lot of unforced TO

  45. Monty'sDoghouse

    March 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I just got back from the arena.

    Man, I very, very rarely leave early. But tonight, oh man. When it’s going bad, it’s going bad. But when you look like you don’t care. I don’t care. No transition defense. Lots of sitting around in the paint leaving wide open 3 point shooters. It’s one thing when you are losing 70-55 after 3. It’s another when they’re on pace to drop 120+ on you and you can’t even hustle to the ball until 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

  46. cmac81

    March 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Landry has taken 3 shots…wtf

  47. Monty'sDoghouse

    March 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Oh, the officiating was god awful tonight too.

    Chris, thanks for caring once the game got out of hand.

    This team has no mental toughness. When the other team craps on their faces. They take it laying down. The toughest person on our team, in my opinion? Marco fricking Belinelli. And he can’t even get playing time after shooting over 50% from the field and deep lately.

    • JCS

      March 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      craps on their faces? oh my

  48. seb

    March 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    just dont think we showed up tonight. really did look like they didnt care. sucks having a team that doesnt give a crap!!! denver did play well, but we played god awful!!!!!!!

  49. JCS

    March 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Well, looks like UNC won the ACC rivalry.

  50. NOLAnuffsaid

    March 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    why is it David West kept passing the ball? Saturday he would shoot no matter who was in his face.

  51. Kenny

    March 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Belli and Smith need more PT. Green and Ariza need more bench time. Coach can’t seem to get the right personnel on the floor. Probably why Thornton got scraps for minutes.

  52. QueenBee

    March 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Hornets were outrebounded and died by the 3 point shot. Would’ve been nice to have more from West and Mek. Mek has been having wayyy too much foul trouble lately. West, cut your hair. It’s weighing you down man. LOL.

  53. Holy Cow

    March 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    So much for Monty’s motto of making the other team play our game. After 4 solid minutes to start the game we got into a street ball game with Denver and we don’t have the fire power to play that game. When you go through stretches where you get 6 points in 15 possessions and the other team is knocking down 17 3’s at a 58% clip, it’s a miracle we didn’t lose by 60 tonight. Denver played us the way they played us in the 2009 playoffs, they got physical with us. They harrassed CP3 at mid court and pushed West all over the place. We just stood around on offense and were terribly slow in transition defense. At one point they had 38 rebounds to our 19. I don’t understand this kind of effort when we are essentially in playoff mode right now. Then again, what a disappointing crowd. It looked like a Monday night in November in the arena.

    • 42

      March 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

      Under 12,000.

  54. Thornton's Thunder

    March 14, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Man oh man! It felt weird in the hive tonight! I agree, there was no excitement whatsoever! We needed a spark and just couldn’t get one:( I am with you so I’d hope you’d be with me too? I know it’s a long freakn season, bit this looked like a different team from a couple of days ago!! I suppose these guys (or at least a few) had a purpose to play extra hard on Saturday, but just couldn’t get inspired tonight! Get some rest guys…we’ll be waiting for u on Wednesday!! I’m in…hope you are too!!!!!!

  55. kempleton

    March 15, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Unfortunately, this game reminded me that horrible playoff loss from 2009 🙁 I was in that game too? The big difference between that game and this one is : Back then I feel like we kinda missed the “passion and purpose”. We only had the “pride”. Today we had the passion-purpose and pride (never gave up until the last minute!) however we simply could not respond. I kept telling my brother that the magic number was 9! They kept sinking 3’s and never let us make it a 9-pt game, i.e. single digit deficit. That’s what kept the Nuggets strong and intact. If J-Smith did not travelled in that 3rd possession of the 4th quarter, it was going to be 3 strait stops followed by 3 strait scores. It might look like a minor detail but there a mental fight in these kind of games and the smallest mistake matters a lot!

    Anyway, we are 3-0 against the old Nuggets and 0-1 against the new Nuggets. 🙂

    Hope to win on Wednesday against the Nash-less Suns.

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