West Hurt, But Okafor’s Miracle Shot Allows Hornets to Beat the Jazz

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Published: March 24, 2011

The Hornets beat the Jazz in one of the wildest games in Hornets history, but the story of the night is going to be David West. He went down hard after a crucial dunk late in the fourth quarter in excruciating pain. Immediately it looked like a serious injury, but what the heck do I know? Stay tuned right here for updates as soon as they become available.

Here’s a look at the injury if you missed it-

As for the game, it was crazy. After sitting nearly the entire fourth quarter, Emeka Okafor made arguably the biggest shot of his NBA life. Aaron Gray launched a full length…

Aw, just watch this-

Overtime


Jefferson was the go to guy for Utah in overtime, as they repeatedly let him go to work on Gray inside, but the Hornets point guards responded on the other end. The game was tied at 109 with just over 2:00 to go when Ariza knocked down a wide open three point dagger. After a couple of missed by both teams, Millsap got Okafor to bite on a pump fake and got to the line. He hit one.

1:00 to go

With the Hornets up 112-100, Paul slowly took the ball up the court. After he drove inside, the defense collapsed around Chris Paul, and he dished to Jarrett Jack who was qually covered. Jack tossed up an airball (which was called a pass), which Aaron Gray somehow found and banked in. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.

The Hornets led 114-110 at that point, and Paul committed a dumb foul on Watson, who made one free throw. Down three with 31 seconds left, the Jazz decided to put Gray on the line.

Bad move.

The big man hit four of four in the closing seconds, and Chris Paul did his part as well, as the Hornets survived by making just enough free throws.

Exhale…

Stuff that happened before that, but really doesn’t matter all that much considering everything else that happened-

Chris Paul and Jarret Jack

Chris Paul produced two field goals in the first half, meaning that in the last 6 quarters of play, he had only two made field goals total. His first half line of 8 points and 4 assists did not instill confidence that he would come to play in the second half, but he did., eventually.

He went for 7 points and 3 assists in the third quarter, and started the fourth alongside Jarrett Jack, who decided that he wanted to run the show. Jack scored nine points in the first five minutes, and really kept he offense rolling. Paul tried to take over from there, but just didn’t look lime himself. He was slumping, and it was obviously in his head.

Paul’s tip to Okafor for the game winner totally redeemed everything he did wrong before that, and his overtime free throw shooting wasn’t half bad.

CP3 actually wound up with 24 points and 12 boards, but this really wasn’t one of his more impressive games.

David West vs Paul Millsap

The Hornets fed West early and often, and he responded with a huge first half against Paul Millsap offensively, scoring 20 points on 9-16 shooting. Unfortunately he couldn’t do anything on defense, and Millsap countered with 14 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with 6 boards.

D-West took a shot at the end of the first half after a Chris Paul miss, and despite what seemed like a foul, wound up just shooting what could be called an air ball. Sometimes I feel like the refs just don’t call anything in the last two seconds of a half no matter what. One day, I will probably eat those words.

In the third quarter both teams kept feeding their power forwards, with Utah having more success than New Orleans. Gil was talking about working harder, and wanting it more, and tonight it just seemed like Millsap wanted it more. Millsap was diving for loose balls, battling for rebounds, and bringing energy to his squad all over the floor.

This matchup was a big reason why the Hornets gave up so many second chance points, and got so few. West didn’t grab a rebound the entire third quarter, and had only 3 thrugh three quarters compared to 10 for Millsap. At that point the Jazz led the Hornets 19-9 on second chance points.

Millsap took over even more in the fourth quarter, scoring a dozen points, and just making the Hornets pay every time he even got half a look. West’s slam with 20 seconds left tied the game, but left him lying on the floor screaming in agony.

By the time Millsap fouled out, he scored 33 points on only 20 shots, to go with 11 rebounds, 5 offensive.

Aaron Gray
Gray came in with 2:45 to go in the third quarter and made an instant impact, stepping up off a screen to alter a shot, leading to a shot clock violation. Later he hung tight in the post instead of coming up high on an unknown Jazz player (Low-def TV struggles) who was faking the jumper from just outside the free throw line.

A diving steal with 9:30 to go in the fourth led to a Chris Paul breakaway, but Paul couldn’t finish. He was grabbing boards, making easy shots, and one time I swear I saw him fly through the air like an angel. It was glorious and took place with 4:05 left in the fourth quarter if you want to watch.

Gray played really well overall, and it’s no surprise that he’s appeared in 10 straight games. He took the place of Emeka Okafor for almost the entire fourth quarter, and really turned the things around inside. The Hornet had been unable to slow down the Jazz big men previously, but with Gray in there they really forced a lot of tough shots. Most of them went in, but on most days it won’t be like that.

He also knocked down four huge free throws late in overtime to seal the deal. With an effort like that, It’s no surprise that he was seeing time ahead of Landry. Aaron deserves to see some time in the playoffs, and the Hornets will be better off for it if he plays like he did tonight.

Game Notes

  • The Hornets bench responded to Monty Williams pleading with them to be more consistent. by scoring only 4 first half points.
  • Until Landry made two free throws with 3:00 to go in the third quarter, only one Hornet reserve had scored.
  • Jarrett Jack to Emeka in the postgame interview- “He shoots that shot all the time in practice.”
37 comments
Kevin
Kevin

Torn ACL, according to Jimmy Smith.

tyler
tyler

now this is where the trade comes into place. would marcus thornton be able to fill in for west?

42
42

How great was Emeka's emotion after the shot? I've never seen him so giddy. Color me charmed. Dude wants the playoffs...

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Im with you on that one, and i love aaron trying to catch up to him and grab him. SO news feed guy wheres the news on David?, im stressing here

coach44
coach44

Great banner! Gray deserves it after last night.

Oc
Oc

1) how I loved hearing "the hornets have pushed Utah below 500 2) loved seeing our bench cheering the guys on, everytime I see a reaction from the bench it seems to be led by one guy, his name is Quincy for those wondering (I'm lookin at you Monty Jks) 3) if Dw is out, all you Landry naysayers can cram it, and think about tube prospect of marcus playin the 4

Hornets fan from KC
Hornets fan from KC

Get well soon D. West you have become the heart of this team. If this doesn't make CP look for his shot more he is offically tanking it. Someone stated earlier it was just the same as the win over the Kings when Monty subbed in Marcus and the Hornets rallied around him to get a big win. Same thing tonight with Aaron Gray. I know people are always crying about a back up center but we have a very good one. Our moron coach just can't recognize talent and has no idea how to run rotations and who should be in the game at what time. For the season Gray is +43. Monty's two personal friends Jack and Green have the worst +/- on the team. Jack -111 and Green -43. The D. West injury if serious could be the start of terrible downward spiral for the Hornets franchise. 1. West out for season 2. Hornets don't resign West 3. Paul leaves 4. Hornets are oldest team in the league thanks to trading away all young talent. 5. Biggest reason Monty is our head coach. The Hornets defense has improved but it is not as good as everyone makes it out to be. I constantly hear during the games the other teams announcers talk about how great the defense is. They always bring up that they are allowing 94 points a game this year. A big reason for them holding opponents to that is an offense that never fast breaks and 50% of the time shoots with under 5 seconds on the shot clock. I can't stand it when the teams I root for have a terrible coach leading their team. No reason to debate it. Time will tell. I am right on this one.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

It is calls like that foul giving to paul millsap at the end of regulation that foreshadow a very dark future for the NBA. This stuff is just happening to often these days and its a travesty, that call was absolutely criminal. Watch it 10-10 times where is the foul? Sickening, we won but clearly we werent supposed to. And Aaron Gray played like a beast, i saw on one play he was trying to strip a dude with CP and I'm loving it. Hope to God Dwest comes back but if not we have Gray and Landry which are the best backups we've ever had the option to turn to.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

I didnt notice Gray was our cover man last night. Wew he prolly long on 247 and was like "tonights my night"

Juncti
Juncti

Curious, how was that not a foul on West's dunk or the CP3 tip? Looked like a lot of contact on both. Also, if West's dunk had been an And1, what happens when the player can't return to the floor to shoot the free throw? Also curious why the Hornets were docked timeouts for West's injury when they didn't tend to him until a stoppage in play and even played 4 on 5 for a set. It all worked out, just curious.

coach44
coach44

In this instance, the opposing coach would pick a player from our bench to attempt the free throw. In the case of an unsportsmanlike act by the opposing player, Monty would get to chose who shoots.

TheMackBee
TheMackBee

Where Amazing Happens......beli,ariza,okafor,gray all stepped up last night

TheMackBee
TheMackBee

Um Chris Paul had 12 assist not 12 boards

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

By the way, Okafor's shot at the end was no luckier than Watson's three from the corner when he 'double-clutched-it' at the buzzer or Milsap's desperation-heave thrown backwards in the middle of the lane when he tripped. The Hornets were supposed to win this game anyway ... but, the way they had to win it might have some mystical meaning to it ... a silver lining of sorts ... if you believe in spirituality. Maybe the Hornets will be better on the boards with Gray and Okafor starting and West resting? L_REAZY

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

Snapshot of the 'Knee Trauma' suffered by David West: http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2011/0324/nba_a_west_b1_286.jpg L_REAZY

42
42

Nice find. I don't have half of those muscles, so it's hard to say... The twisting can easily explain the pain, but it opens up the whole range of possible injuries. Negative x-rays are circumstantial evidence supporting that it's not the worst, at least.

Dontae
Dontae

I really don't know how the rest of the season is gonna look. We'll be in the playoffs I think I just don't know where.

Diane
Diane

Love Aaron Gray! Reminds me of me. I'm not his size - but am a clutz - although sometime times pretty damn effective.

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Gr8 win for us 2nite...plz keep my big fella @29Dwest in ur prayers...he's a fighter so we know he's gonna be ok!!! FROM CP3 twitter... This was a great win, but a bad loss, as we all say, PREPARE FOR THE WORST, HOPE FOR THE BEST...

Rocco
Rocco

Eventful to say the least. The Hornets lose West to that horrible injury. They play four on five at the defensive end for what seemed like an eternity until the ball went out of bounds with seven seconds left. Mek's shot. I swear my wife and I were the only once cheering (sreaming) in Energy Solutions arena when the shot went in... everybody was in shock. Gray hits some huge foul shots. I'm glad we made it out of there (wearing our hornets gear) alive. Man is that place LOUD. Tough win on the road for NOLA. West was an absolute beast on offense. But I have to say that's the most trouble our front court has had defensively I can remeber even against the likes of the Lakers or Thunder. Milsap and Jefferson really had their way . Anway, good to get the W.

Buzz
Buzz

How good does that Landry-Thornton trade look now... Get well DX.

Zwie
Zwie

u r very right about that sir... VERY!

MaxALM
MaxALM

I didn't watch the game. Does anyone know why Landry played 14 mins? 3 shot attempts? Does the team know that Landry is wearing a Hornets jersey?

TheGravyTrain
TheGravyTrain

The Gravy Train showed up to play today, choo choo!

Mark
Mark

Aaron Gray's a f'ing boss. Get well DX.

James Grayson
James Grayson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFWmFD2AQIs This is Gray's clutch free-throws...Jazz commentator's eat their own words.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

I couldn't tell by their voices if they were more embarassed for being completely wrong or if they were just depressed that the game was slipping away fast. You know they were waiting for Gray to miss so they could be like "i told you, this is ludicrous, 50% free throw shooter what were they thinking" instead a silent depressed "makes'em both....."

RobertM320
RobertM320

Not only did he hit both free throws, they were nothing but net! ... And to think he did it again a few seconds later. How many times have we seen that happen to us? A poor FT shooter goes to the line at crunch time and calmly sinks both shots.

42
42

You can hear the air being let out of those windbags . . .

Oc
Oc

Just showed my brother the knee surgeon the vid of Dw didn't really help. He said from the vid it looked like maybe a dislocation or less, sorta thing that you could play on in 2 weeks (with limits) or a torn ligament at worst, which could be 6 months. I kno I hope it isn't over for Dw as a hornet, but in the meantime let's get Landry the ball, Thankyou mr demps

QueenBee
QueenBee

Oh and let me give a shout out to Big Aaron Gray! Shout out man!

QueenBee
QueenBee

I was not watching the game down the stretch but I saw on a few peoples twitter that West was hurt. Then I had to go in my room and rewind my DVR to see what happened. I'm sad. Happy for the win but sad for West. :(

Duckathon
Duckathon

This does not look good for West.

Eric Ingis
Eric Ingis

that was terrible to watch seeing david west scream in pain like that...i can only hoep that he was just scared and feared the worst similar to when we all thought tyson was done for the season in that 07-08 season but only hyperextended his knee

BrickCity
BrickCity

I've been praying for Monty to play Gray, to go BIG when other teams go small -- instead of hat he's been doing all season, looking for any excuse to sub someone shorter for Okafor. I pleaded during the 2nd half of the Celtics game to play Gray & force the 6'6" Big Baby to try to guard him in the low post. Coach W is stubborn, if nothing else -- seemed to turn to Gray tonight in the same spirit he used to turn to Thornton: "I got us in this mess, now you see if you can get us out of it!" I only hope Gray's future is brighter, that he gets consistent playing time, even with Mek @ the 4 some, with D-West out. I know we're all hoping for the best w/ West's knee . . . but let's play this season out, and with the Big Fella banging away!

JCS
JCS

Great win. What's the word on West?