Hornets surge past Suns in the 4th as CP3 takes over late

Published: March 26, 2011

Going into the 2007-2008 season, Steve Nash was unquestionably the top point guard in the NBA according to anybody and everybody who watched the game. That year, however, CP3 exploded onto the scene, raising his game to another level, carrying the Hornets to unexpected victory after unexpected victory. In the process, he replaced Steve Nash as the premier point guard in the league due to the fact that he could get anywhere he wanted on the court and he possessed a unique ability to dominate second halves and close out tight games.

The Hornets 106-100 victory on Friday night was a microcosm of that entire season in a lot of ways, as CP3 simply took over the final four minutes of the game and dominated his individual matchup with Steve Nash. CP3 went for 22, 7, and 5 while Steve Nash struggled with his shot, going just 1-9 from the field. In fact, Nash had more turnovers (5) than points (3) in this game, while CP3 controlled the pace of the game for all 37 minutes he was on the floor and only turned it over one time.

While Carl Landry (19 points) and Ariza (16 points) also chipped in, it was the Hornets bench that kept them in the game every time it appeared Phoenix was going to pull away. Willie Green poured in 15 points in just 19 minutes, while Jarrett Jack did his normal thing when getting 25+ minutes, as he had 17 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals off the bench. And while their stats were less glamorous, Aaron Gray, Q-Pon, and David Anderson each made an impact in their own way off the pine as well.

Everybody played their part, but in the end it was the CP3 show and it will have to stay that way if the Hornets want to secure a spot in the playoffs and have any shot of getting out of the first round.

Other Notes and Observations:

– Coaches dissect tape for hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours over the course of an NBA season. They have scouts and assistant coaches assigned to specific teams so that they can know their opponent, and therefore how to defeat them. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of every player and devise game plans accordingly. Grant Hill came into the game with just 34 three-pointers made (less than .5 per game), so the obvious game plan would be to leave him open from deep, as opposed to someone like Nash, Dudley, or Frye. Of course, Grant Hill goes 3-3 from deep early on. Hakim Warrick has been known throughout his career as a one-dimensional player who gets his points around the rim. The Hornets, therefore, played off him in the pick and pop. Of course, Warrick drained multiple lumpers from 18 feet out. And do I even have to mention Aaron Brooks- how he had been ice cold of late, but tonight he drains numerous off balance jumpers and 30 foot three-pointers?

Oh, this would have been a frustrating loss to take if not for CP3.

– I know Landry scored 19 points but Monty is going to be in his ear non stop if he keeps playing like this. He just doesn’t look like he knows where to be on the offensive end and he is so passive on the defensive glass. Two defensive rebounds tonight against a soft Suns team. Not going to cut it. The dunks are nice, but those won’t be there against good teams in the playoffs. Landry has a long way to go if he is looking to replace David West, and Monty and Chris won’t be shy in telling him exactly what they need him to do.

– I don’t want to be negative after a loss, but I can’t help but notice Ariza’s general lack of passion. I watched this guy a lot earlier in his career and he would have killed to get 20 minutes back in the day. Now he gets 40 and he really looks like he could care less. If 20 year old Ariza were to meet this version, he wouldn’t recognize him. I hope this changes.

– Great pass by Willie Green at the end of the game (wink). For those who didn’t watch, the Hornets were up 2 with 30 seconds left and Willie launched a deep shot that resulted in an air ball that Okafor caught and laid in. I am going to call it a pass.

– Don’t want to toot my own horn, but I predicted Hornets 108 Suns 102 in the pre-game. If you took the money line/over combo bet that I advised and put $100 on it, you would have won nearly $450. You’re welcome.

– Spurs had a 6 point lead with 85 seconds left, but couldn’t hold on against Portland. Thanks a lot San Antonio.

– Hornets sit in 7th as of right now, 2 games ahead of Memphis for 8th, .5 back of Portland for 6th, and 2 games back of Denver for 5th. Houston is the only team with a realistic chance of catching the Hornets, as they sit 3.5 back. Since the Hornets won the season series, let’s say 4 games back. Four wins in the last 9 will all but guarantee the Hornets a playoff spot. 3 wins would likely get them in, and 2 wins would be a 50/50 proposition.

– Next game is the Lakers. I’m happy we got these last two. Let’s put it that way.


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