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Hornets Beat the Suns Behind Retro Chris Paul

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Published: March 16, 2011

Chris Paul is unconscious right now. I’m not a doctor, but apparently concussions aren’t all bad. He went for 26 points on 9-16 shooting, to go with 9 assists versus 1 turnovers, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals, to lead the Hornets to a 100-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns. This guy is indistinguishable from the one who was the true MVP in 2007-2008. His second half was less than stellar, but when he needed to he controlled the tempo and led his squad to a much needed W against a formidable opponent.

Since the concussion, Paul has gone 31-53 shooting (58.4%) for 86 points, to go with 34 assists versus 5 turnovers, 17 rebounds, and 15 steals. That. Is. Insane. Can we get this man some rest before the playoffs, PLEASE?

Let’s throw this out there right away. With Paul playing like this, there is nobody except the Lakers who shouldn’t be scared of facing the Hornets in round one. Their biggest weakness, depth, essentially goes out the window once rotations are shortened for the playoffs. I was on the Daily Dime Chat most of the night, and I was called a homer, an idiot and worse, but anyone who has watched the Hornets lately knows this team is capable of doing some serious damage this year.

Be afraid Western Conference foes, Be very afraid.

Paul closed out the last 29 seconds of the second quarter on a personal 7-0 run that included a steal and a three pointer with .5 seconds to play. The run turned a 24-29 deficit into a 31-29 lead, and for the first time of the night the momentum was clearly in the Hornets favor.

The energy continued into the second quarter, as the Hornets eventually extended the lead to 10 points by the end of the first half. Chris Paul was why.

With about 30 seconds to go in the first half, Chris Paul got a finger or two on a pass, sending the ball slowly rolling across the floor on the defensive end of the floor. Carl Landry laid out to get it, and immediately passed to Paul. Four seconds later Paul took a three pointer that everyone in the place just knew was going in the basket. After that kind of effort by his teammate on defense, how could he miss?

Speaking of power forwards, David West was absent tonight for the most part. It didn’t matter in the end, but perhaps he needs to shave his head for Saturday. Landry was nice to watch on offense and defense, yet again, but his rebounding is really bad. I wanted to wait until I saw him a couple of times in person to reserve judgement, but he’s just not producing results when boxing-out. He needs to locate his man much earlier and lock him down.

The Hornets led by 12 entering the fourth quarter, and decided that since they were winning, they could just let Phoenix take as many wide open three pointers as they wanted. Bad idea. The worst part is that most of them were wide open. Did nobody read the scouting report on these guys, or did they truly just decide to ignore it throughout the first 8 minutes of the fourth quarter?

As a result of the non-Chris Paul led team struggling, CP3 had to come back in and close this one out. Fortunately he was game, because they Suns were completely willing to let just about anyone else take shots. With less than three minutes left down a half dozen, they dared Okafor to shoot from outside of 5 feet, and he rewarded them once with a poor hook shot before settling down and realizing that his job is not to create out of ISO, but to set screens, rebound and play defense. He had a big offensive bat-out that led to a rebound with 50 seconds left which led to a West score. That essentially sealed the game, something that should could have happened 10 minutes earlier.

Other notes

  • There’s a great Marcus Thornton story hopefully on the way. Thornton’s Thunder (who I sat with for years) got another chance to talk to Marcus yet again before the Sacramento game. I’m not going to spoil the fun for them to tell it, but hopefully this will be just enough peer pressure for us to get the story straight from the source. Spoiler alert- Marcus Thornton is a great guy, but I’m sure most of you already knew that.
  • Mad props to the Bee-Zanies. Starting with the countdown from the Purple Hornet, they brought energy to the Arena, and a couple of times they really led the crowd in cheers. I can’t wait to see them this Saturday, when my lady friend and one of her friends will be taking their first go-round as members of the exclusive krewe.
  • I haven’t said anything about this, but the speedboat races were way better than the seafood races.
  • Aaron Gray put in some nice minutes. He’s never going to blow anyone away, but if he can play like he did tonight, he will find some minutes in the playoffs. I truly believe that they can be successful ones, too.
  • Jarrett Jack was off yet again. He’s looking more and more like a guy who is confused/unhappy in his role. If the team is going to make a splash in the playoffs, they need him to lead when Paul is on the bench. It won’t be for too many minutes, but they will all be huge.
  • Quincy won sub of the game somehow. He played well, but Landry and Gray both played better.
  • Jared Dudley nearly destroyed the Hornets.
  • Thanks to late fouling in a desperate attempt to overcome a big deficit, the Hornets finished with 100 points and the fans all got free chicken!
78 comments
AgentZiko
AgentZiko

I want to credit CP's resurgence to the Nikko-Ziko connection, which sent love left and right to CP, refusing to believe he had fallen as a superstar and phonies like Felton had passed him up as a PG. Shame on all you doubters. CP is going to go down as the best point guard to ever play this game.

paul
paul

you need to drink less coolaid.

RobertM320
RobertM320

I guess I'll age myself here, because I remember the incident. Actually, it took place in Guyana, which is on the northern coast of South America, just east of Venezuela. He poisoned the entire cult with cyanide mixed in Kool-Aid, after his guards had murdered Congressman Leo Ryan of CA, who was there with a news team investigating the cult. It's kind of a shame that the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" has become part of our culture, and yet most people who use it don't really know the story behind it. Enough of a history lesson....I'm just glad the MVP version of CP3 has resurfaced.

42
42

Good call on South America. Maybe I has thinking Ghana, not Guyana. Always appreciate the course correction, especially polite ones. Thanks.

Justinho
Justinho

It's really a reference to kool-aid that would be used in cults, inducing group-think. The stuff you're thinking about can be found in Jamarcus Russel's re-po'd fridge.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

people on forums love talking about koolaid as a refernce to a dude being i guess anebriated or intoxicated. it just alwasy makes me want some koolaid

42
42

It's a real shame, actually. I think the reference originated with the Jim Jones cult incident. It was a mass suicide thing, where the poison was distributed via Kool-Aid. Some were just murdered, of course, including a Congressman. As it was in Africa and were part of a commune, I think it was probably not actual Kool-Aid, but some knockoff. Sad, sad, sad.

ThePurpleHornet
ThePurpleHornet

Thanks for the shoutout Joe, we're having a blast in the Bee-Zanies section. Our voices are suffering a bit, but it's totally worth it. Come swing by and visit sometime.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

I think I've given up on Monty's rotations, especially at SG. Beli should be getting 30+ with Marcus gone every night. This team goes as Chris Paul goes, and tonight Chris Paul went far enough. I really wish we could see a lineup with Landry at the 3. We have to find a way to get him more minutes before playoff time. He's our 4th best basketball player and 2nd/3rd best scorer. One time Monty. Impose your will in your lineups instead of playing to the other teams. Okafor showing up was just as important as CP3 showing up imo. I'M IN!

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

hmm, it is a big problem, one that i hope will be remedied in the off season. His rotations are matchup based, which i think should not be the case. In most cases, we should make teams play our style, not theirs. Hopefully, we get a better Belly next season and a better gelled group.

James Online
James Online

Big impression in NOLA: When driving the freeway past the Arena, the big mural has four starters featured: Paul, West, Okafur, Ariza. Same inside the Arena. Supposedly Monty promised Marco full support and a commitment as the fifth starter. In pre-season, Marco was playing lots of minutes, scoring, playmaking, and defending well. Imagine how he felt/feels when he sees that mural of everbody but him being marketed (especially given Ariza's poor play this year)? I understand it from a marketing standpoint, but if you're going to commit to a player, then do it. I'm returning to NOLA for the Portland and Memphis games. Really enjoy the city. The zoo is fantastic (especially for a naturalist like me). Hope Marco logs more than nine minutes those games....

James Online
James Online

Dance, good take. Marco started several games his second year at Golden State and had a high shooting percentage. He was a real fan favorite here. We were stuck with a head case coach, Don Nelson. Marco was moved in the off season to Toronto, where he didn't fit in and didn't like the organization. His early NBA play and his outstanding play for the Italian national team intrigued Monty and Dell, who checked him out and decided to give him a real shot. I am VERY happy that happened. My problem centers on what you said. Marco is still developing his game with an upside that goes way beyond what Willie has shown. Commit to him and watch the offense benefit. They have to diversify beyond the Paul-West tag team with the occasional dump off to Mek.

sundance
sundance

James: Let's just say I'm happy Marco is a part of the Hornets rotation, from the way his NBA career has gone so far, much less a starter. I can't even fathom him alongside CP on a freeway mural. Monty uses Willie like a football coach utilizes a prevent defense. Once the offense puts the team ahead, the coach concentrates on using clock to win games. I think the mindset should be playing to win, not concentrate on preventing a loss. Willie can score points that's true, but I also think it's much easier for teams to defend against someone like Willie than it is against Marco, who can quickly decide at any given point whether to drive, pass or attempt a difficult shot.

QueenBee
QueenBee

With the murals, it's pretty much always been that way. The SG starter is hardly ever pictured because the SG position always seems to be the weakest link in the starting lineup. Most times it's by committee and is susceptible to change often. Goes back to the Byron Scott days. With Scott having a career as a pretty doggone good SG, one would think we'd have had a true, competent, legit SG starter all this time. But it doesn't seem like any of the guys they've had can make that everlasting impact.

paul
paul

damning Gray with faint praise. OK...so you did end it with the play-off carrot. The big kid did well. In fact he did better with Paul in the game. When a sub take over, the game becomes more one on one street ball and Gray is left to simply set picks or block out, hoping for rebounds. And he did have a blocked shot as well... I seem to have seen a different game as I saw West as so much more effective than here written. I saw him as a real trouble spot for Phoenix and their having to try severl players on him in an attempt to slow him up. And until his return in the desperate hours of the fourth, we were in trouble. I saw Okafor slowly getting his game back. I still think he might have been played to long in the third and was worried we were going to lose him from tired legs. They subbed Gray for a few minutes to give him breathing time, but this should have come at the end of the 3rd...NOT so far into the 4th qtr.

Edbballin504
Edbballin504

I was at the game and D West being absent for most of the game is an understatement. The guy looked uninterested and was a complete no-show until the 4th quarter. Any idea whats going on with him the past week? Also, why hasnt he shaved the head yet? Is it some kind of game he's playing with his self? Maybe he won't shave his head again until the Hornets lock up a playoff spot? IDK. Some friends around my season seats believe the hair is holding him down from being his old self. I am starting to wonder myself now...

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

man lay off of diddles swag lol. Dude neeeeds to rock a fro

Kibner
Kibner

I would be all for West sporting a Childress like fro. It could also be awesome if he tried to bring back the fade like when Jennings rocket it last season.

Hordan
Hordan

CP3 is back in his regular allstar state. This is what we need from him almost every game. Honestly, if he had played like this for most of the year, I think we'd be fighting for the 2-3 seed. But the fact that we're a 5-8 seed just makes the team that we play ripe for an upset.

42
42

Now THAT, my friends, is a good point. I do hope he holds up.

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

@Max..That was a Clear Path foul..And I can't wait until the playoffs..Dallas, Lakers, Spurs..Lets Go Oh and for the record..JJACK PULLED A KOBE POST MIAMI LOST..AND GOT SOME SHOTS UP AFTER THE GAME..DON'T WORRY ABOUT HIM COME PLAYOFF TIME..HE'LL GET IT DONE

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

I really hope Monty or Malone find a way to incorporate Landry fast. It usually takes people around 3 months to get acclimated to a team, and we are just 3~4 weeks removed from the trade deadline so be cool with Landry, he'll get there possibly with the help of Monty. What i'd like to see from Monty now is to be able to maintain the defensive intensity with a huge lead. Through out the course of the season, this team has proven that it can ride with the best of them using our defense. The problem is we haven't developed that discipline to maintain it even through the huge leads and to our benches. This won't be much of a problem in the playoffs, when rotations are shortened and teams go just 7 to 8 deep. But in the regular season, where we wanted Paul, West and Okafor to get lots of rest before the playoffs, it will be very important.

Gordon
Gordon

CP3 is baaccck. The core of this team has potential, but some of the guys tend to be inconsistent. What Dell/Monty do over the summer will be extremely important. It'll be tough but we need to find the right players to fit CP and maybe DWest (if he comes back) and not give them Posey-ish contracts. The system the coaching staff has put in allows our below average players to excel but it would of course be ideal to get better players. We definitely don't want another Bower like summer.

lancebrou68
lancebrou68

yea i actually used to love playin with subzero and the guy saying "finish him" or "prove yourself"

Jordan
Jordan

Hi. New York resident Hornets fan here. I don't get to see the games too much... anyone know why Marco played just 9 minutes? Thanks in advance!

James Online
James Online

Jordan, read comments above. It really wasn't just the fouls and TOs. Coach feels more comfortable with Green, an ordinary player, out there. Very poor player management.

buzz
buzz

foul trouble and turnovers, I'm pretty sure there is no injury. SG position was a bit of a let down tonight.

SJ
SJ

This game had so many positives as well as so many negatives I don't know how to feel. I am super excited to see CP3 back in form, it's about damn time he came out his coma. Also really like the bigs looking for Okafor on offense, West and Landry made a few pretty passes. Great minutes from Qpon and Gray. Speaking of Mek, he looked INCREDIBLE. His stats weren't jaw dropping or unusual, but his presence inside on defensive, his presence boxing out, his rebounding, and his play at the rim was incredibly refreshing today. Now on to the negatives....Carl Landry is not as "consistent" as billed. He has surpassed expectations with 20 point games, but these lackluster games where he is hardly involved in the offense are starting to upset me. I see him crushed on defense far too often to be only putting up 7 shots and getting 8 points. This has happened numerous times. His offensive game is too good for him not to be the number one option off the bench. We could get his production the last two games (and more in rebounding) from Jason Smith. Monty is going to make me have a freaking heart attack if he keeps riding Willie Green and JJ. 3-15 for 11 points? Those are Ariza numbers. Everyone was all over both of their nuts when they were playing well, but I maintained that Willie Green was on a hot streak, and apparently, JJ was too because he was getting the starter minutes he was accustomed too. Bellinelli has been on fire since he was benched, and there is no reason to sit him in the 3rd and never bring him back on the floor. Yes he had the 2 early fouls, but 3 fouls in the 3rd doesn't warrant being pulled from the game. Come playoffs JJ should be completely relegated to backup PG unless he is "on." Green doesn't bother me as much because he is infinitely better on d than JJ, but he should be getting 20-25 not 35 minutes. David West needs to find his mean streak again. Other than the Sac game, his offensive has left much to be desired. The SUNS have no answer for him defensively. I know he was getting doubled often, but for every nice pass he made out he also had multiple TOs and a tie-up. And my final tid-bit, I'm not so confident about our chances for playoff success as most. The only teams I see us possibly winning a series against are Dallas, Spurs, and Grizzlies. Dallas: We always seem to have their number especially at home, why would this change? Surprisingly, I'd say Chandler and Pejas are the x-factor in this series. Spurs: I see us outplaying them at ever position minus SG. If we can contain Manu, we can contain this team. Grizzlies: We are a better version of this team in every way. Portland: I see this as an even series for us if we somehow end up playing them. Lakers: Odom has West's number more often than not, and while CP3 will look spactacular, no one else on this team will as Bynum will control Odom, and Gasol will match West on offense when in the game. Denver: Way too deep and physical for us to handle. Last team I want to see in the playoffs. OKC: Prior to getting Perkins and dealing Green advantage Hornets, afterwards, big advantage OKC.

Eric Ingis
Eric Ingis

belli playing so few minutes was interesting but i am so much more confident in this team come playoff time with the way chris paul is playing

buzz
buzz

Belli had foul trouble early and never really got into the game, couple of bad turnovers.

Buzz
Buzz

We won the game!! who cares who got what minutes?!! If monty thinks that Marco should only play 8 minutes and we win, doesn't that justify the decision.

James Online
James Online

Marco made two fouls in the first minute or two, so Monty pulls him out like he would West or Okafur. Ridiculous. Marco is highly unlikely to foul out (maybe once this year or none, don't recall). By pulling him out and sitting him for the rest of the game (while Willie Green goes 3 for 11, 1 for 6 on threes, and fails to close out on defensive threes), Marco is disrespected by the coach. Check the box scores today. Not one starter on any other team plays 9 minutes or less). So after Marco plays at a very high level with Paul out, getting 40 plus minutes on a couple of occasions, now he gets nine minutes, even as the lead was fast slipping away? Marco was a plus 9 in nine minutes. He wasn't hurting the team while he was out there. Even the fouls were picked up because of aggressive play. He was praised for that last week. As for the TOs, everyone else gets some leeway, why not Marco? He generally does not turn the ball over. Let the man play! If he's treated like this, I'm sure Marco and his agent will be looking to move on over the summer.

Kibner
Kibner

It may have partially been because the Suns were going to post up Hill on Belli every possession and the refs seemed determined to make it impossible for Belli to play defense on Hill.

f.g. di bene
f.g. di bene

beli playing only 8 minutes is unjustifiable. he played very well all-around basket in the last matches with paul injured, now monty's cutting his minutes and his confidence. with him on the floor in the third quarter we made a big run, and then you bench him for the rest of the match in favour of willie "ishooteveryballitouch" green for a 3/11 and -11 +/-? that's ridicoulous.

MaxALM
MaxALM

OH YEAH, and WHAT THE F was going on with that technical foul on Chris Paul?????????????????? Are you kidding me?????? He fouled someone to prevent a layup, and then hit the padding around the basket in *slight* frustration as in "damn, we gave one up." And that d-bag ref T'd him up. So you can't show ANY emotions in an emotional game?? The refs this year are ridiculous and pathetic. They are exercising way too much power this season. They T you if you have ANY type of reaction to their calls. And I've seen lots of reactions across the league this year, but Chris Paul is getting by far the worst "star treatment" in that regard. Howard and Stoudemire have lots of techs, and for good reason. But not CP. No way.

Kibner
Kibner

Dwayne Wade got a tech for the exact same reason tonight. Hitting that stanchion is an automatic tech. No judgment call about it.

NuNu318
NuNu318

Yeah DWade got a tech too...but if you watch that game closely he didn't give him the tech for slapping the stanchion. After he punched it OKC were running and Harding hit a wide open 3. Ref didn't call the tech until miami got the ball back because Wade came back at the ref cussin him out about the play before. But he should have gotten it way earlier than that for punching the stanchion. And in my opinion CP3's was harmless compared to Wade's tantrum. If the stanchion wasn't padded as much he would have broke his hand he hit it so hard. CP3's was more of a passive "dangit" kinda slap.

peronas
peronas

Those Popeye's wraps sure sound considerably better than the Taco Bell Chalupas they give you up here when the team hits a 100... It was great seeing CP3 back in MVP form over the last couple of games, I just really hope Jack's not having issues with his back up role and can get his game straight and lead the second unit better. While the win was nice it's frustrating that this one wasn't put away sooner and that the starters had to come back in to close it out.

Mark
Mark

Oh they are, but the chalupas were YEARS ago, probably early 2000s. I'd like to say Cuban was one of the forerunners for getting that sponsorship (cross 100 points, free food), but I dunno.

42
42

They are. If you make it down this way, you'll be amazed by the food. Portland's fare is better than most would expect, in my opinion, but it's on another level here.

JNR
JNR

I definitely second the officiating comments. I'm as biased as anyone here for the Bees, and at one point in the game I turned to my friend and said, "I guess the refs finally got the memo that the NBA owns the Hornets." Tonight there were a lot of bad calls against the Hornets, but SO MANY more for them. I actually felt uncomfortable seeing so many calls go the Hornets' way, if only because I didn't want there to be any dispute about the outcome. But I was happy to see CP3 back in true form, and it was nice to see Gray and Q do something with their minutes. Still a little concerned about Jack's production being inversely proportional to CP3's since he came back. It's good to have Chris going nuts on everyone, but it would be better if Jack kept up the pressure off the bench.

JCS
JCS

"Since the concussion, Paul has gone 31-53 shooting (58.4%) for 86 points, to go with 34 assists versus 5 turnovers, 17 rebounds, and 15 steals." ---------------------------------------------------- Hallelujah!!!

MaxALM
MaxALM

Maybe it was me, but the referees were plain AWFUL tonight for both teams. Certain tough calls were the right calls, but way too many non-calls on loose ball fouls, shooting fouls, and more. Frustrating. I'm just glad we came out with a Win despite poor officiating, for once. Most of us can think about more than a few games lost by the zebras.... Also, what the %*$& is wrong with our perimeter defense? It's like we are trusting teams like Phoenix and Denver to NOT shoot 3s. Way too many wide open looks lately. They do a good job of packing the paint, but with Mek back (and looking good tonight) do they need to crowd the middle so much?

Dave
Dave

Defense is a state of mind, duh. Boxing out, playing the passing lanes, drawing charges, diving on the floor, blocking shots, moving your feet but there's ariza why he's open.

Holy Cow
Holy Cow

My big takeaway from tonight was the way defensive intensity fueled the runs to open the lead in the second (especially with the subs in the game) and extend it early in the third. Unfortunately, that intensity waned and a few slow rotations on defense and our obligatory cold spell on offense allowed the Suns to make the game a little uncomfortable down the stretch. It was nice of West to show up for about 6 minutes in the 4th. I was beginning to think he was headed for another game like Monday night. We'll take the win and look forward to a big one on Saturday night.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

Great Game, btw I acctually ate Popeyes for the first time here in NY before watching the game!!! Super werid co-inkiedink

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Popeyes pewns. As 42 said there red beans and rice are pretty damn legit, has this awesome smokey flavor. Plus the biscuits are top 10 greatest things ever

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Seriously, i mean i realize its just a turkey sandwhich but they were damn good. Just like you get after thanksgiving with the left overs but it was all season what the hell i wants my turkey samich

NolaHog
NolaHog

Oh, I miss that turkey carving station!

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

*half a shot of whiskey i do that quite frequently type have instead of half no idea why

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Zing Zang truly is the best for bloody marys. But id never buy a mixed drink from the hive or a sportin event for that matter. Got a jack and coke at one of the games earlier in the year its thouse like 5 inch tall cups full of ice and if im lucky theres have a shot of whiskey in there i looked at the guy and was like "really?" Give me my 9 dollar abitas and blue moons

42
42

I don't even drink. I just collect all the data I can, like big nerdy Unicron, as if multiple transformer references in a day weren't evidence of that . . .

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Arena food, its all about where im sitting. Normally im in the club level so i get the Andouille sausage with the peppers and onions on that french bread (LEGIT). When im on the floor i just get whatever the hell they are serving, alot of the times its acme though which is pretty bad ass. And if im in the regular Lowers i get the Shrimp Basket at that lousisiana seafood thing (ya shrimp at a sporting even know what your thinkign but its pretty damn good and comes with some pretty decent dippin sauce) also i get the Fowl line chicken basket seems to make me sick everytime though. They use to have this bad ass carving station that made fresh turkey sandwhiches where they straight up carved a turkey infront of you dont know what the hell happened.

42
42

I know a centerplate guy . . . I'll ask . . . I got the skinny on the Dome Bloody Mary's for a friend. I'm sure others have it, as there are lots of centerplate folks, just saying. It's Zing Zang.

42
42

The biscuits are the single best fast food item in the world . . . better than white castle. Ever had the biscuits at Copeland's? Those things are something else. Of course, that isn't fast food. I'm using my Dick and Jenny's coupon tonight . . . getting some shrimp and grits. Maybe I'll try something else if it sounds better. Ha! Yeah, right! Too funny . . . Why does the food blog get cluttered up with basketball talk? Oh, I know, the food at the Arena. I like the pasta. Spicy shrimp alfredo. Mmmm.... I hit that up when I have to get there early for a thing or for bobblehead night.