Hornets Lose a Whacky One to the Celtics

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Published: March 19, 2011

The Hornets lost to the Celtics 89-85 in a high energy affair that saw the previously red-hot Chris Paul miss every shot. David West and Marco Belinelli combined for 55 of the Hornets 85 points, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a third quarter collapse and some interesting calls.

Marco Belinelli took three of the first four Hornets shots, including a three pointer that provided the first explosion of the night from a crowd comprised of way too much Celtic Green. The team was clearly trying to get him involved early, and even though he was a bit careless with the rock, it was a good strategy. He hit three more three pointers before the first buzzer sounded, one which was obviously just a heat check, and looked like a man who knew his role in the offense. In the first quarter alone he wound up with 14 points on only 6 shots, to go with 2 steals. We can forgive the lone turnover.

Defensively he was all over Ray Allen early, and kept the struggling Celtic from getting any sort of rhythm. Allen was frustrated, and with the team unable to get him any open shots, they struggled to find any sort of offense in the first quarter.

At the end of one it was 28-14, and the Hornets were in control. Predictably, Paul sat out to start the second quarter, and the Celtics took advantage. Jack was struggling to get ball movement on the offensive end and the Hornets were forced to hoist the majority of their shots as the shot clock was winding down.

I like seeing the Jack-led unit play at a slow pace, since it obviously reduced the number of possessions the opposing team will get against them, but not when they pass open shots early on in favor of a forced shot late. That’s what happened in the first six minutes of the second quarter tonight. Two of them fell, fortunately, as the shot clock expired, but it was a real possibility that the Hornets could have scored only 4 points in the 6 minutes Paul sat the pine. As it was they were outscored 13-9.

Hornets led 51-40 at the half, and seemed in control.

The second half started off much like the first, with Marco hitting a three pointer that got the fans back on their feet. The Hornets led by 15 only two minutes into the quarter, but that would be the best things got for Hornets fans that quarter. For much of the next six minutes the standing fans were of the Celtic variety. The Hornets struggled to create on offense and the Celtics began to find their range on jumpers. Like that the lead was down to only 5.

That’s when Kevin Garnett committed his fourth foul of the game, away from the ball. Rivers elected to leave him in, and Chris Paul seemingly made him pay. He ran into Garnett, who was moving at the top of the key, but there was no whistle to be heard. Oh wait, that’s not true. Okafor was called for reasons that remain unclear right afterward. Like that, momentum remained with the Celtics. It should could have been so much different.

It was a one point game seconds later, and before you knew it, the Celtics had the lead.

Pause.

The Hornets fans got owned by the Celtic Pride in the third quarter. Owned. I give full credit to the Hornets fans when they do well, and I generally take it easy when things aren’t great, but this was a key moment in the game for the fans to make an impact. The green crowd was erupting after every Celtics possession, and it’s the job of the fans to make sure the home team knows where they are. A simple “Let’s go Hornets!” chant for a few minute would have overwhelmed the undermanned Celtic fan base, and given the Hornets a better chance of maintaining their lead.

It was one of those games that I really, really regretted my decision to switch to media. I wanted to be cheering and heckling the Celtics so bad, I could practically taste the beer in my mouth. Instead, I sat by cringing as the lead shrunk, and then ultimately disappeared.

A few more timeouts by Monty wouldn’t have hurt to slow things down.

In the fourth, when the Celtics chant was nearly as audible as the dueling Hornets one, it was another time where everyone needed to channel their inner Mikey and get loud.

Resume

Jack, Green, Landry, West, and Ariza started the fourth quarter, and after Jack was blocked immediately, Delonte West converted a three point play that put the Celtics lead at 6, and capped an 18-2 Celtic run.

A David West jumper and a sweet defensive possession by the Hornets got things back on track, but they still struggled to create without Paul on the floor. The defense was also noticeably worse when Paul rode the pine. He checked back in with 8:33 to go, and the Hornets down 74-71. CP3 assisted Ariza for a trey a minute later to tie the game at 74.

The score stood 81-76 Celtics when the David West and Nenad Krstic got tangled up and received matching technicals as a result. That little moment, which got the crowd roaring, might have been just what the Hornets needed to get back on track.

Okafor won a tip off after a controversial jump ball call (that could have easily been a foul) with 1:45 to go. The Hornets turned it over, but forced a Celtics turnover on the other end. Except not. Even though the ball clearly went off Paul Piece, RIGHT in front of an official, the Celtics maintained possession. A floater off the glass put the score at 85-81 Celtics, with 57 seconds to go.

Those strange calls wouldn’t be the last, as Paul and Ariza seemed to both tie up the ball with Paul Pierce at half court with 20 seconds left. The shot clock was at 17 at the time, so he was expecting a foul call, but since the Hornets didn’t foul he just fell down, calling timeout after landing. The problem was, the refs had called a jump ball a few possessions earlier which was nowhere near as clear. The people next to me stood up and left, proclaiming things which can’t be fully inserted here.

Glen Davis made two foul shots after the Hornets intentionally fouled him with 15 seconds left, and just like that the Celtics led by four. It took the Hornets 10 seconds to get a shot off, and 5 of them were just Chris Paul standing in place at the top of the arc.

Game over.

Okafor

On a pick and roll early in the first quarter Okafor came out on Rondo leaving Garnett open inside. There is no reason whatsoever for Mek to be coming out to cover Rondo. The guy can’t can’t shoot. If he wants to take a jumper off the dribble from 15 feet, then let him do it. All day, all night. Always and forever. Rondo made a bunch of them, but that’s going to happen sometimes.

Coming too high on the pick and roll would be one of his only mistakes on defense, as he stood toe to toe with whoever tried to get into his lane, and said NO SOUP FOR YOU! It was excellent watching him block shots, but the sheer number in which he altered was more than enough by itself. As the Celtics failed over and over to get easy buckets outside, they began to settle for outside jumpers.

It was a beautiful thing to watch the Hornets play half court defense in the first half, something that happens with increased frequency late in the regular season and the postseason. Okafor has never been the playoffs before in the pros, so I fully expect that he wants to be there for as long as possible. He works as hard as anyone, and this year he claims to be working even harder. Bravo.

His stat line was underwhelming, but he was irreplaceable inside. Offensively he really didn’t bring too much. He needed more smashes if the Hornets were going to win this one.

David West

Kevin Garnett was furious most of the night, and considering his usual demeanor is less than friendly, that’s saying something.

The reason why? David West, of course.

D-West was tuned in offensively, and there was little anyone could do to stop him. Even on the rare occasion that he couldn’t get the shot he wanted off, he delivered nice kick outs. Sometimes he struggles to find someone to pass to when he’s covered down low, but tonight wasn’t one of those nights.

West literally willed the Hornets to score early in the fourth quarter. Without him doing that, there was no way they were going to be able to get points on the board during those crucial minutes. He stopped the Celtics run, and with it, kept the Hornets in the game.

His 32 point-8 rebound effort would prove to not be enough.

Player Notes

  • Chris Paul must absolutely hate Rondo. He was attacking at 140% tonight, and even though his shooting was way way off, the way he went right at Rondo time and time again, the cross overs, the ankle breakers, and the slick no look passes that you knew were really taunts, all told us how much beating the little leprechaun matters to him. Rondo could have grabbed a number of those passes, but he was always looking the wrong way. I think that’s just how Paul intended it.
  • Chris Paul also didn’t make a shot. He threw up a floater with 2:00 to go in the fourth that was 100% essential. I was already forumulating how to write about how he made that shot as he took it. Then he air-balled it. What in the world happened to the man on fire?
  • The end of the Hornets bench was coming to their feet after every point scored, pumping their fists and playing the role of cheerleaders, something sure to be their role more often than not in the playoffs. If Mark Madsen taught me anything about basketball, it’s that the bench makes the best fans.
  • This year, our Mark Madsen will be Jason Smith. I bet he sees a few minutes, but spends most of his time being the most enthusiastic dude around. We saw him do it all game tonight.
  • Quincy will probably find himself on that bench with increasing frequency as the playoffs start. He has some nice skills, and before too long he’s might start to challenge Ariza for some small forward minutes, but right now he’s just too inexperienced, and too raw. He looked timid tonight, and what little time Monty gave him was probably too much.
  • Willie Green was lost tonight. Apparently there was too much green on the floor already. Bad jokes are the best, am I right?
  • Jack was way off all night. He needs to be better than that in games of this magnitude.
  • Rondo was OK. 9 points on 8 shots to go with 4 assists. I’ll take Paul’s O-fer  with 15 dimes over that any day. Rondo was -12.
  • Delonte West was the guy making things hard for the Hornets. He was a team high +16, and every time he stepped on the floor things seemed to go downhill.

Game Notes

  • There were 3-three second violations. Surprised?
  • A new McDonalds promotion involved dropping empty (edit- bead/coupon filled) Fillet of Fish boxes with parachutes attached to them. It would have been much more hilarious if they had been filled with fish.
  • It was Hugo’s birthday, and with it we saw a number of his friends. The fake Kings mascot took a jersey from a presumably planted Celtics fan and wiped his butt with it while dancing off the court during the first commercial break. I chuckled.
  • Why was there a Celtics mascot throwing out Hornets gear? I kept expecting Hugo to take him out, but he just never did. C’mon, Hugo!
  • When people cheat during the on court competitions, it’s always beneficial for them. Today there was just another example of it, when one guy taking part in a race decided that it would be easier to carry the ball three quarters of the way down the court instead of dribbling it. He wound up winning, of course. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- If you ever find yourself in an on-court competition, cheat. Cheat hard.

Here’s some footage of the pre-game party. There’s a guy on stilts dancing. Hopefully that’s enough to turn that frown upside down.

No? Me neither…

45 comments
James Online
James Online

Woops, birthday party is Friday, not Thursday, my bad.

James Online
James Online

In the previous game, Marco Belinelli played nine minutes. Against Boston, with Marco already delivering double figures in the first quarter, Monty once again had called Willie Green to sub for Marco. As always, regardless of how Marco plays, Monty takes him out for Willie. Fortuntately there was no break in the action, Marco stayed in and scored again. Then he was out. First again. When Willie finally did get out there he threw up two air balls and ended up w/o a field goal. Willie is fine as a bench player for the Hornets. But, I repeat, he is an ordinary player with limited range and minimal creativity. Marco’s upside is far greater and still developing IF he is allowed to stay on the floor for consistent (30+ mins per) time. Marco played the fewest minutes of any regular last night but had the best +/-. Even in his nine minutes v. Phoenix he was +9. Forced to watch the game on League Pass where Tommy Heinsohn makes a fool of himself every minute. The ultimate arrogant homer. But he did have a point. NOLA does not run any plays for Marco. That isn't quite true. The opening double pick jumper is often the way the Hornets open the game (regardless of who is starting at the two). Imagine what Marco could produce if they actually ran plays for him, or if Paul looked for him over Ariza in the corner for threes. Thursday is Marco’s 25th birthday. Give it up for the clever Italian. And Monty, give him the minutes he deserves.

sundance
sundance

If Monty is looking to blame somebody, he needs to look in the mirror. I didn't have a problem with the players (excluding the bench obviously). Boston is very physical on defense and the fact that West was able to score and Oak got offensive rebounds and putbacks was impressive. But why did Beli disappear in the 4Q? Where were some of the screen plays that have been called in previous games? I mean, WTF why is the offense late in the game reduced to Marco twice trying to iso Ray Allen with the rest of the team cleared out??

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

I thought the officiating would suck, and for the first half I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed relatively even. I'm so glad to see somebody write what I felt about the 2nd half. That foul by Garnett was so obvious and so pivotal that I was thinking about it all game and all night. Here's some others: The 3-second call on West at the end of the 2nd created a 3 to 5 point swing because it cost us the rest of the game clock. The ball out-of-bounds off Pierce could have been reviewed since it was under 2 minutes, but they just gave it to Boston with no review. I hope the team spends the next 4 days shooting free throws, in case they ever decide to give us any. Those big misses by West, Ariza, and Okafor were also a big part of the reason we were just out of contention at the end. Straight-up choke job there. Belinelli was flat-out awesome. Green was not. Belly should have been more involved. What happended to Landry being fed the ball and allowed to create in the post? We are wasting his talents. Pondexter is the only point guard who found him all night. Jack does not get the ball into West, Gray, or Landry even 1/4 as much as he should. Why not?

Holy Cow
Holy Cow

I almost lost my mind when West got the defensive 3 second call at the end of the half. We should have gotten the ball with about 7 seconds left and had a real opportunity to score to close the half. I turned to my friends at the game as they were walking off the court at halftime and said that 3-5 point swing is going to come back and bite us in the ass. I was also frustrated watching JJack run the point in the 2nd. Landry was our main scoring threat on the court at the time and we go the first 5-6 possessions without even getting him a touch. I could go on and on about the Celtics fans and the horrbile calls, but, I'll just say ditto to all of the previous comments regarding those subjects. I walked out of the arena as angry as I have been in a long time because of the shit we had to take from the faux Celtics fans.

paul
paul

where was gray?????????????/ rather tired and weiry of Monty always playing to the other team's plan. THEY got THEIR centers into the game. THEY played the guys and relieved players. Not us. Blame it on the refs. OK, they did their part. But MOnty did his again as well.

DownUnder
DownUnder

I'm not defending JJ's performance tonight but for those of you who think his done very lil for this team are quite mistaken. When JJ played in that Dallas game he gave one of the most inspired performances i have seen from ANY Hornet all of this season, his had many other good games also. I love the dude when his playing his best ball, this inconsistancy is worrying but all bench players have there on and off nights. I think that they need to work on a new playbook for the bench that doesnt always end in a Willie or Jarrett mid range shot and until they do this guy is going to be seen as the one to blame when the bench struggles. On the same note, where has all this talk about JJ not being happy with his playing time come from? Ive never seen or heard anything on the subject. Please provide a link or explain.

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

the real problem with consistency in the JJ play is: if the shot is going in, he's good, if it doesn't going in, he don't contribute with anything else. A bench point guard who give cp1.5 a little rest needs to distribute the ball, to find his teammates for good shots, to keep them in rhytm. He can't do anything like that, he's looking for his own shot or for his buddy willie green, and nothing more. Yesterday I was frustrated when, with landry and west on the floor he DID NOT PASSED THE BALL ONCE to our best offensive players out there. when marco is in with him he works hard to NOT pass the ball even for an open shot, if landry is scoring with ease, he finds any possible reason to NOT feed him. I already told many times, JJ isn't the solution for uor problems, he's not a good substitute to cp1.5 even if he scores 20 points.

D. Highmore
D. Highmore

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, and I didn't see last night's game, but it seems like a lot of calls we should have got this year have gone the other way. It's almost like the refs don't want to be seen to be doing the league's team any favours...

Stefan
Stefan

I feel bad for everyone who had to watch this game on League Pass today. The Celtics' announcers were horrible! They were barking the entire time about how the Hornets were getting every call. It was ridiculously annoying. CST, PLEASE work out some deal with NBA League Pass, so we don't have to deal with this anymore!

CP3nBrees
CP3nBrees

Exactly!!! can't believe the dude said Monty Williams brought the refs to the game.....

DownUnder
DownUnder

Actually my League Pass had Gil and Bob, internationl broadband is the one i use so maybe that had something to do with it.

Justinho
Justinho

Actually, I watched on LPBB from Mississippi (on work) and it was the CST feed. Maybe it's a regional thing by IP address? I really have no clue.

JAson
JAson

you hornet fans sure do blame the refs a lot. for everything.

kempleton
kempleton

I do blame the refs whenever I feel like the refs steal the game from us with their cheap calls! that's when they have to be blamed. That is a waste of my teams effort, that is robbery!!! I do blame them especially when it starts to build up and when it looks like all the important/suspicious calls are in favor of the "visiting" team!

Dontae
Dontae

There's a good side to this game. With Chris Paul missing every single shot we only lost by 4. That shows me that the rest of the team is ok. This won't happen again with CP3 missing everything.

Stefan
Stefan

Exactly. Even with questionable officiating and a field goal-less Chris Paul, we still played 48 minutes of great basketball against an elite contender.

Jeff
Jeff

the question is whether beli can maintain this consistent play the rest of the season.

Duckathon
Duckathon

Tsk. Oh well, at least the Hornets stayed with the Celtics.

mbdtf
mbdtf

I couldn't stand the cheers that came from the Boston fans. I just don't understand how there can be so many of them in New Orleans. D West rarely tweets, but even he seems to be surprised by cheers from the green... http://twitter.com/29DWest/status/49326727696093184

Hordan
Hordan

I love Mr. West, even though there are so many reasons for me not to. Just an example: My elementary school got to be the guys who gave the players high fives as they were introduced a few years back. I remember Tyson was joking with us and all, he seemed like a great guy. Anyway, here goes the announcer "DAVID WEST!" and he comes through hands at his sides and doesnt tough one of our hands. Hahahaha. He makes up for it with his play, though.

ThePurpleHornet
ThePurpleHornet

Joe, Got to meet your lady friend and her friend tonight, they were actually directly behind me. Thought you would have come up to visit, but alas, no Joe. lol. Maybe next game :)

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Next time for sure. I was trying to get a picture to post with the recap, but considering that the Celtics fans were arguably the story of the night, it didn't seem like the right time. You guys were great though. I want to be a Bee-Zanie so bad.

kempleton
kempleton

Jumpball! Out-of-bounds! Time-out! Maybe the refs should start wearing green next season! For the first time ever, I left the Arena as angry as I can be!

Brazilian Hornet
Brazilian Hornet

Stupid team! Another game given to the opponent! We already know what will happen: Lakers in the playoffs and 4-0 ... a sweep! And Chris Paul scored less than Rondo? Sessions, hit his head again, please ...

Stew
Stew

By the way, the filet o fish boxs are filled with Mardi Gras beads and a card for a free fish sandwich from Mc D's.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Just got back from the game and all I can do is SMH. I couldnt stand anymore and left after Pierce got granted a timeout call at the end which was clearly a jump ball, then travel, then back-court. Its one thing when we have to beat the NBA's poster child (BOS), but its another to have to beat the refs. Just unfortunate to have refs take away from such a good game but I guess it is what it is right?

Stew
Stew

Great post game wrap up. This was an very fun and interesting night with all of the wannabe Celtic fans at The Hive, free bobbleheads, great weather, etc. but the ref calls and non calls really put a bad taste in my mouth. That out of bounds call was just unexplainable and over-the-top. I'd like to believe that NBA games are not fixed these days, but damn if i didn't say "this sh*t is rigged*" to myself for the remaining minutes of the game after that point. IT WAS HORNETS BALL. PERIOD. Would have resulted in an immediate momentum shift that could/would have tied the game if I remember correctly. Not very happy with the situation (even though I was one of the lucky folks who caught a flying fish filet).

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

I had a long comment ready and then hit a random key that brought me back to the homepage. Suffice to say I'll summarize this time. Boston fans suck hard and have no class, WAY worse than any Lakers' fans I've run into at the arena. Jarrett Jack sucks...still. I still contend that the Raptors straight jobbed us in that trade for him. We shouldn't have had to give up Bayless along with Peja. And if we did, they should have given us at least a 2nd rd. pick. Guy is a locker room CANCER and a flat footed, uninspired defender. I hate watching him play more than any other Hornet previously. At least the crappy Hornets before didn't have talent. Jack just looks like he either doesn't care or doesn't get it. Carl Landry. 9 minutes. Awesome. I'm starting to believe the only thing that Monty knew how to get right was to get our team to care about defense. Every other coaching decision he makes is a fricking train wreck. Feel free to point out ONE thing that has improved on the offensive side of the ball. I'm only asking for ONE. He's new at this and I'm willing to give it time. But what are all the veteran coaches around him doing? He's either really stubborn or they really suck. Belinelli and West. BALLIN. Thanks for caring enough to make this interesting and occasionally shut up those classless Boston fans. Can we please stop proclaiming that Chris Paul is BACK? It seems every time we do, he slides back into Crappy Paul mode. At least this version of Crappy Paul was not as bad as some of the previous ones. He just couldn't seem to get open at the rim tonight and was not aggressive in his jump shooting. All in all. Between the officiating and the Celts fans, I'm just a very grumpy, pissed-off person tonight. I already had my "Another game 7 chokejob!" locked and loaded for our comeback, shouting from the rafters all the way out the door.

Stefan
Stefan

Yes, Chris Paul is back. So what if he couldn't find his shot tonight? Just compare his overall movement in this game to all of the games in January. He made Rondo look like a fool. He had an off night after 3 brilliant games. That's all. I expect 20-10 from CP3 next week.

Hordan
Hordan

Few things I want to say about this game. Firstly, it seemed like the refs were trying to give the Celtics the game, honestly. Secondly, Jarrett Jack had no chance when he was gaurding Delonte. He was Wayyy to quick. Thirdly, Ariza is no offensive threat whatsover. He can't shoot the trey, he doesn't had. Mid-range game, he has a hard time finishing at the basket, and need I say more. He has one move, head fake three drive. 9/10 times it ends badly or with no results. I honestly think Quincy will pass him in a few years. And for our sake I hope I'm right. But on a more positive note, I sat right next to the bee-zanies and they were fantastic. Great bunch of enthusiasts. I'm really depressed about this one, but hey you know?

Hordan
Hordan

doesn't have* need i say more?* Has one move, head on a three, and drive*

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

THIS GAME BLEW GOATS i was behind the Celtics bench and i was balls deep in clam chowder sucking bean town bitches. I was gettin my ears jeared off all damn game. I was sickened by how many of those turds were there, makes me think a little less of the state of Louisiana knowing we have that many turds here. The amount of lakers fans the day of the la game and now the celtics, people are a disgrace. Id like to blame the refs for this one but we should have never blown the lead in the third and the ball movement when jack is on the court is horrendous (i like the dude) but man when hes at point the ball is dead and so is our offense. Well im gonna drink a large glass of cone-yack im done. F Boston -tonio out

Blackcoat
Blackcoat

So, I've been watching the games on League Pass since leaving NOLA for D.C. last year. You could tell from here that there was *far* too much support for the Celtics to be acceptable. Similar to Joe, I wish that I could have been there cheering and heckling the away team. If I hadn't seen the logo on the court in the second half, I would have assumed it was a road game for the Hornets. Those Celtics cheers were entirely too loud... But seriously, this wouldn't happen at a Saints game. Even when the Steelers were in town on Halloween with their terrible towels, we put them in their place (I made it back for that one; BTW, Steelers fans' willingness to travel in force is impressive). I know that the setting and sport are different—as is the city's relationship with the Saints—but I find it disappointing that NOLA doesn't get up for Hornets games in the same way. Opposing teams should feel rattled by our fans at game time. Why can't we do that?

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Truly I think that we just aren't an experienced enough fan base.

CP3nBrees
CP3nBrees

Paul Pierce's foot was on the half court line before he called a timeout, really is on of the worst officiating that I have ever seen in a long time. Plus I had to listen to the C's commentator, really wish I was a deaf at the time lol...

42
42

I was sooo pissed about that. So pissed.

Stefan
Stefan

Was? I am still pissed about that.

42
42

Ha! Me, too. Thanks for the correction.

BIG ROB
BIG ROB

ur so right i thought i was the only one who saw that should have been a backcout and travel

cadillacjacques
cadillacjacques

All I can say is wow. Can't believe it. On another note it was good meeting u Joe.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Nice to meet you as well, but it's too bad how poorly things went after we met. Thanks again for the donation!

MaskedTalent
MaskedTalent

Yeah, I like cp3's aggression but not if he's going to miss them all. But it's okay. Cp3 missing all of his shots is a rare event im sure. Cp3 will redeem himself against Jazz. I just hope we can slide into the 6th spot to play the Mavs.