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

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-


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.


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.”


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