Game On: Hornets @ Suns

By:
Published: March 25, 2011

New Orleans Hornets (41-31, 7th in West) at Phoenix Suns (36-34, 10th)


What a bittersweet night it was for the Hornets last night. They turned a certain loss into a tie, and then eventually into a win as Emeka Okafor’s miracle shot looked like a play that was stolen straight from an NCAA tournament game. Even the reaction of the team was March Madness-like. But just two plays earlier was a scene that made every Hornets fan sick to their stomach, as David West was taken off the court in a wheelchair, still writhing in pain from what the Hornets staff would later call “left knee trauma.” [update: Torn ACL 🙁    ]

Now the Hornets have to play Phoenix less than 24 hours after spending so much emotional and physical energy in that dramatic win in Utah.  Ariza and Paul both played big minutes last night. Carl Landry will be thrust into the starting lineup, replacing an All-Star caliber player, just weeks after being acquired from the Kings. Monty will have to formulate a new rotation, deciding on how to divide West’s 40 minutes. Bottom line, this is not a recipe for success, especially when you combine it with the fact that Phoenix has been playing good ball this week as they push for a playoff spot.

What does give the Hornets hope, however, is that they beat this very same Phoenix team just nine days ago in a game that they controlled for the most part. Chris Paul was dynamic in that game, thoroughly outplaying Steve Nash in every way, and Emeka Okafor had stretches of dominance on both ends of the floor. The Hornets also got production from their bench that night. Carl Landry, who will start in this game, was very physical in his 17 minutes of play, going 4-7 and scoring 8 points. Phoenix doesn’t have an answer for Landry on the defensive end and for the Hornets to win tonight, they are going to have to exploit that matchup.

Even without David West, the Hornets will be able to score points against a Phoenix team that gives up nearly 106 PPG. Where this game is going to be won or lost for the Hornets is on the defensive end of the court. In the first meeting between the two teams, the Hornets were exploited on the interior after losing Emeka to an injury. In the second meeting, Emeka locked down the paint, but Phoenix exploited the Hornets poor perimeter rotations by knocking down 14 three-pointers.

In all likelihood, the Hornets will have locking down the paint as their first priority, with the idea that they want Phoenix to have to live or die by their ability to make contested jump shots. Two things scare me about that strategy. The first thing is that Phoenix has been shooting extremely well as of late from behind the arc. They are averaging over 12 made treys per game in their last five games, shooting 41% from deep in that stretch.

The second thing that worries me is that, even if Phoenix were to miss those contested three’s, I am not so sure that the Hornets will be able to grab those long rebounds. While Carl Landry exhibited quality play on the offensive end in the last game against Phoenix, he was a no-show on the defensive glass, as he did not grab a single defensive board in his 17 minutes. On several occasions, Phoenix’s big men simply reached over the undersized Landry for offensive rebounds that kept possessions alive for the Suns. On the flip side, West had 8 defensive rebounds in only 31 minutes. So, either Landry is going to have to play more like D West or the Hornets are going to need major contributions on the glass by their wing players.

Other News and Notes:

– In the last meeting, the Hornets outscored Phoenix 46-22 in the paint, which was one of the most lopsided victories in this category for the Hornets this season. Even without West, I still expect the Hornets to easily win the battle in the paint, as long as Okafor stays out of foul trouble.

– Hornets fans are in a strange position to root for the Spurs tonight, as they square off with Portland. A Hornets win and a Blazers loss means the Hornets vault into sixth and that means a matchup with the Mavs (as opposed to the Lakers). Spurs face the Blazers two times in the next four days. Then, the Hornets get Portland on Wednesday. Luckily for Portland, they somehow get to avoid Duncan twice and David West in what looked like the toughest part of their remaining schedule when I glanced at it a week ago.

– I haven’t looked at the 29 other teams’ schedules, but there is no way that anybody had an odder schedule than we have had this season. We play the most games in the NBA through the All-Star break and even up through mid March, and then we get five days off, only to be followed by 3 games in 4 nights. What? Thankfully, after this road trip it gets normal, as we only have one back-to-back and no long five day off stretches to make the guys rusty.

Hornets 247 Bracket is tight, with a lot of people still having a shot to win. What a crazy tournament- I just hope the games are as good in the Final Four as they have been up to this point.

Vegas Zone: Suns are 3.5  point favorites in this game, and nearly all of the money so far has been going on Phoenix. Because of that, I expect the line to get up to at least 5 or 6 by the time the game starts. The over/under is 196 and I feel safe in taking the over in this game. For some reason, I think the Hornets play more small ball and try to outscore Phoenix tonight. And surprisingly, I think they do it as CP3 has a monster game for his fallen soldier. Hornets 108 Suns 102.

– As sad as I have been since D West went down, I knew there was only one thing that might be able to cheer me up, and that is reading all of your comments as you… Cap….That….Pic

90 Comments

  1. Chung

    March 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Bad News Bees fans. Torn ACL for David West.

    http://twitter.com/JimmySmithtp

  2. lancebrou68

    March 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    chris paul just put “damn!!!!” on his twitter account (gulp)

    • Hornet Seantonio

      March 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      torn acl

  3. Uptown Sammy

    March 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    D West tore is ACL, done for the year

    http://twitter.com/JimmySmithtp/status/51378712423305217#

    what caption won last game?

  4. Hornet Seantonio

    March 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    caption “who says i look like and uglier version of Tom Petty?”

    • 42

      March 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      wow!

  5. lancebrou68

    March 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    damnnnn

  6. Hornet Seantonio

    March 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    this gonna make it 10 times more hardcore when we win the championship without David West

  7. James Online

    March 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Matt Harpring does color for Utah and was very clear in his view of the Hornets. He doesn’t think they are a playoff team. I’m not sure I agree with all of Matt’s assessments, but he is a bright guy, not a mindless homer, and played in the league recently. He’s faced nearly everyone on the Hornets personally.

    For those who didn’t watch the Utah coverage of the game (via NBA League Pass), his criticism focused on the following points:

    1. Chris Paul has checked out. Not the same player, not interested. Likely gone to NY after the season. Lacks the competitive spirit he used to have.

    2. David West is selfish to the point he kills any semblance of team play. Good for him going into free agency, bad for the Hornets. That critique, of course, gets modified by David’s terrible fall. Harping repeatedly said the Hornets cannot succeed with the offensive strategy they use.

    3. Trevor Ariza is “all over the place” and not an effective offensive player, especially from deep.

    4. Monty Williams ultimately comes across like a rookie coach and is not managing rotations well. Hornets are “sinking fast.”

    Of course the Bees then went out and (miraculously) beat Utah. But that doesn’t invalidate Harpring’s remarks. There is some truth to all of them. Of course there is much more to say, and not all negative. A few additional points of my own.

    I watched Trevor very, very closely on both ends of the floor last night and saw him repeatedly give up uncontested 2s and 3s. He looked bored. His defensive presence is more myth than reality, I fear.

    While things worked out well in the end, it was quite odd that Gray got so much time as he did on the floor late. I kept calling for Mek to get back in the mix. Had Mek not made that last second shot, and no OT heroics from Aaron, there would have been a lot of criticism of Monty’s decision to stay with Gray for so long. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated what Gray did, and I’d like to see him out there more, but still that decision was very questionable.

    Marco was superb offensively, and not just with the shooting. His back to back feeds of Ariza for threes late were crucial. His fouling was a sign of increased toughening. His floor game was exceptional.

    Marco in March: Floor 49%. Threes 51%. Anybody paying attention? Today is Marco’s 25th Birthday. Let’s get him the ball more often during the game as a present.

    • QueenBee

      March 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      F Matt Harpring. There. 🙂

      • Hornet Seantonio

        March 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

        +1 (to queenbee)

      • QueenBee

        March 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

        He needs to talk about how Deron Williams checked out and how his Jazz have just lost 4 in a damn row. Screw Harpring.

      • QueenBee

        March 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm

        LOL!

      • James Online

        March 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

        Brilliant.

  8. paul

    March 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    As I wrote on atthehive…this was a wasted season.
    Why?
    Because our rookie coach made rookie mistakes.
    His worst was his bench play and rotation.
    I get blasted because I am a die hard Gray fan.
    But I understand the dark side of probasketball.
    You can thrill yourselve all you want with the glory guys, but like the NFL…give me big strong fron lines and to hell with the beauty queens.
    And I will win the game.

    Gray did his best to show everybody he was needed.
    But after a good game…he gets sat.
    Montyball, or whatever it is.

    The LAST two Phoeanix games are my example…

    We lost in January because MBenga was our back up enter.
    Gray was inactive.
    We won in March with Gray getting MY minimum playing time of 10 minutes.
    In under 10 minutes he had 3 offensive and 4 defensive rebounds.

    And now we go into the season ending with our star forward out.

    What a wasted season for me.
    I am pissed.

  9. Kyle

    March 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    In the past I did think that Emeka was more of a large PF than a small (relatively) center. That thought has subsided this year, but I do think he could possibly succeed at PF if we absolutely needed it. I am curious to see him play next to Gray some. It seems like they did that some in the Utah game (unfortunately I was unable to watch it). I’ve torn both of my ACLs and have three brothers who have torn one each, so I know it’s a pain to come back from. I hope West rehabs well and doesn’t rush it so he can come back strong. In my mind two there are two paths ahead of the Hornets- they can pack it up and quit, or guys can step up and they just become a new beast to tangle with. Other than Jason Smith, our backup bigs play a significantly different type of game compared to West (or at least that’s the way I see it), so maybe we can catch some games with guys unprepared.

  10. Hornet Seantonio

    March 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I definitely think we can still make it out of the 1st round. We have great backups.

    On a more depressing note talking about this stuff on the internet its almost like its not real, some guy in my office just asked me what was up with Dwest and I said he was out for the season and saying it out loud i felt like i was gonna cry. Diddles is my boy.

  11. HoumaHornet

    March 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Anyone think the DWest injury is a blessing in disguise? Chance that he may decide not to opt out of his contract now due to his injury he may come back next year to prove to the rest of the league he is healthy and go after his big contract after that.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      March 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      Blessing in disguise? Hell no. It’s not even 80% certain that he will come back from his injury the same player. Also, this cost DW and his family a TON of money more than likely. Nothing blessed about this. He doesn’t deserve it one bit.

  12. Dontae

    March 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Start Aaron Gray! But we could probably beat them with Emeka at center.

    • paul

      March 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      NO…starting Aaron is not the ideal with Okafor not injured.
      I really know we will miss West.
      We might get a whole lot of heart and rare career play from guys for awhile, but the truth will show its ugly head sooner or later.
      The Landry trade is really looking big right now.
      Who knows, MAYBE this is his time to shine and we get lucky.
      Lucky is really, really a good thing.

      • Dontae

        March 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

        I only think it’s good if wins result out of it.

  13. thechosenuno

    March 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    A son turns to his father and asks “Dad, why couldn’t I wear my Halloween costume to the game? Nash is wearing his zombie costume!”

  14. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Are those boogers in Steve Nash’s nose?

  15. JCS

    March 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Wow. Happy trails D. West. You played like a stud this season, like you always do, and for that Hornet fans are very grateful. If you would, please coach Landry like CP coached Collision, as he sat on the sideline. Everyone would be more than happy if you could help Landry’s stats go up, but more importantly, if they translate to a win.

  16. cl0verstreet

    March 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Looks like we signed Patrick Ewing Jr. to a 10-day contract. Anyone know if he is any good? He has decent stats in the D-league, but that’s the D-league…

    http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/212549/Hornets_Sign_Patrick_Ewing_Jr_To_10_Day_Contract

  17. cameronismyname

    March 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    “Steve Nash is known to become overzealous when trying out a nifty kaleidoscope.”

  18. Duckathon

    March 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Sad face.

  19. pinoyballah

    March 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    caption “the seed of chucky is all grown up now”

  20. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    “After last season’s trade from Hou to Sac,Carl Landry played starters’ min and avg 18ppg/6.5rpg/52%fg/37.6mpg in 28 gms…more…
    31 minutes ago via web”

    This is the Carl Landry the Hornets will need for the rest of this season.

    🙁

  21. James Grayson

    March 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Depressed is a nice word for how I am feeling at the moment…

  22. Bywas2001hornets4ever225

    March 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Ummm…. Damn… David west my dogf. I hate wen our players go down wit these kind of injuries. Especially david. He tries so hard and produces results. But has anyone noticed that the ball moves better wen west is injured? Probably cause we dont just force all our offense on one man. Also our interior passing seems to get a lot better.. We will see tho. I have no doubt landry will do good. In his career at any point wen he has to step up he has always responded positively. Often against our beloved hornets and my second team lakers.

  23. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    West tweeted…

    CP stopped by made me laugh. Need a lot of that right now
    3 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

    Tough way to go out. Thanks to all for well wishes!!
    4 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

    Jamal Mashburn….

    Sorry to hear about David West ACL injury. Wish him well in recovery
    about 1 hour ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

    Mash played with West when West was a rookie.

  24. Joe P

    March 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Sup H27 fam, Does anybody know the low down on Jarel? I was close to the Hornets bench at the Mavs thriller, and I was like, who is that dude? and I see him on the broadcast tonight and he’s listed on the Horns site; while looking I noticed Ewing Jr. Interesting. But who is Jarel?

    • QueenBee

      March 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      McNeal had signed a 10 day contract with the Hornets when CP went out with that concussion but the Hornets didn’t give him a 2nd 10-day.

  25. cp3pdx

    March 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    The Blazers announcers just declared the Hornets dead on their pregame show. More fuel for the fire.

    And this: “f***** Robert Horry”

    • QueenBee

      March 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Blazers announcers can kiss my ***. LOL.

  26. whodat504

    March 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Caption: “See, this is what happens when you meet Aaron Gray in the lane.”

  27. CP3nBrees

    March 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I thought you guys said we’ll have live chat on every road game….
    —————–
    I guarantee you guys we will lose this one if Green plays more than 15 minutes, mark my word

  28. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Hornets need to learn to defend the 3 ball better. Gotta get out on em faster.

  29. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Aaron Gray needs a tech for slamming that ball like that. If it were a Hornet they’d give him a tech I’d bet.

  30. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Note to Hornets:Gortat can hit a J. In case you haven’t noticed.

    • CP3nBrees

      March 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      He hit 2 by the way…

      • QueenBee

        March 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

        I know. Maybe I should have said Gortat can hit J’s then.

  31. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Somebody stick Warrick please.

  32. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Gortat got away with a foul on Meka but they called him for the foul on Big Gray.

  33. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Hornets need to grab rebounds like CRAZY!

  34. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Hornets gonna get killed by the 3 ball.

    Headed out to grab a bite to eat. I’ll see what happened with this crap later.

  35. MaxJD_Nola2NYC

    March 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    great way to finish the half by cp… hes gotta be more aggressive if we wanna have a shot

  36. blackmagic896

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Its gonna be interesting to see wat happens this summer wit the Hornets. A Lots of questions surrounding us. Wat do u guys think happens with D West?

  37. Uptown Sammy

    March 25, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    did steve Nash’s skull just break Gortat’s nose….damn nash is tough

    • CP3nBrees

      March 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

      I know right?! Suns reporter said he had a broken nose, return is doubtful.

  38. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Derrick Stafford is a joke.

  39. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    That was a piss poor foul Derrick Stafford called on Willie just now. SMH.

    • CP3nBrees

      March 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      Wow CP just got called a foul too… I did not see any illegal contact at all.

  40. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Caption: I got these cheeseburgers, man . . .

  41. Hornet Seantonio

    March 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    I had to come here just to say these refs are out of control. talk about whistle happy, i think its glued to his lip and hes just breathin now

    • QueenBee

      March 25, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      LMAO!!

  42. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    We can win this game. Quit with the horseshit, guys!

  43. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Is Ariza just on, is does having West out give him more ‘authority’ to take the ball to the rim?

  44. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Son of a mother!

  45. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    The three-Jack!

  46. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Big ass stop here . . . Bigger ass score!!!

  47. DownUnder

    March 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    So would anyone have preferred david west to take the shot on that possession? It wasnt really a good shot off balance only 2 feet over the three line

  48. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Check this out guys…

    CP telling official he missed foul call and out of bounds call… official told him “I saw it.” And that ended the conversation.
    less than 20 seconds ago via web

    What kind of **** is that???!!!!! If you saw it then call it mofo.

    • 42

      March 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm

      Refs don’t speak english. “I saw it” is probably a recipe for a smoothie.

  49. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I think Chris just showed us how to make an entire team your puppy-dog-bitch . . .

    Wow!

    What a sight to see!

  50. CP3nBrees

    March 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks for the airball Willie 🙂

  51. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Chris got the steal, ran the clock, got the MEAN assist . . . then participated in la chest-bump-fiesta . . . loving Chris tonight . . .

    You are making me happy, little man . . .

    • CP3nBrees

      March 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      Yes! but in my opinion for the last 2 games he has settled for too many Js.
      Now he’s hitting them, so its not a problem yet.

      • QueenBee

        March 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

        So we say we want Chris to shoot more when he doesn’t shoot and now that he’s shooting we say he’s settling for too many J’s? Wow. If he has the J available to him, why not shoot them. Driving to the rim is not always safe/the right thing to do.

    • cp3pdx

      March 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      CP3 in crunch time = $

    • QueenBee

      March 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm

      Chris Paul wasn’t credited with an assist though. 🙁

      • QueenBee

        March 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm

        I meant Chris Paul wasn’t credited with a steal.

  52. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Woooooo!!!!!!!!

  53. DownUnder

    March 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I hd to cheeck that play 3 times just to make sure the Suns didnt have 6 players on the court, how the heck were two people chasing CP and he couldnt find someone open?

    But we won!!!! Why couldnt CP be this Clunch for all the year, we would probably have at least another 5 wins, at least!

  54. QueenBee

    March 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    San Antonio’s dumb asses couldn’t pull it off heh? SMH. Damn.

    • CP3nBrees

      March 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      They should waive Steve Novak immediately.

    • Uptown Sammy

      March 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      hey we need the lake show out of the 2 spot…..

  55. Hornet Seantonio

    March 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Monty chest bumpin, i think brooks had him pissed off he wanted to suit up. They say we warriors! we are victorious!!

  56. 42

    March 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    That Chris interview, to me, says EXACTLY what many of us all believed to be true: Chris has an investment in this team, his team, and his guys, like D. He spins alot of good words about Mr. James, etc., but he was legitimately emotional about West.

    It’s odd for Chris to not be total command of what he puts out there.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      March 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Yeah. He almost broke down there for a second. Made my GF a little sad.

      • Hornet Seantonio

        March 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm

        Ya i couldnt tell if he was about to cry or just exhausted cuz his voice was cracking

    • Go Blue

      March 25, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      Lame, they didn’t show the interview on NBATV, or maybe I missed it.

  57. Duckathon

    March 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Great game by the Hornets.

  58. rmorales07

    March 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    besides the win the thing that i loves was the fact that carl landry stood up and replaced West perfectly. Couldnt ask more. Great team effort to.

    • rmorales07

      March 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      loved

  59. clutch19

    March 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    don’t know about you all but I was extremely proud to be a Hornet fan during tonights game. Our team fought throughout the game and NEVER gave up. Gotta love it… Let’s Geaux Bees……..

  60. Go Blue

    March 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Great game!!! Carl really stepped up, 8-16 shooting, 6 rebs and 3 steals. The bench did pretty well too. Nothing better than a team effort win. Oh and Mek with the put back after Willie’s airball was great. He was in the right place at the right time once again!!

    Go Hornets!!!

  61. JCS

    March 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    This game is what called playing above the refs. Didn’t matter how many bad calls the refs made, CP and them pulled it through.

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