Hornets Can’t Rebound, Lose to Grizzlies

Published: April 1, 2011

The Hornets lost to the Grizzlies handily for the first time this season, never getting closer than 6 points in the second half. They trailed by double digits for much of the game, and never threatened in front of an obviously disappointed crowd who booed the Hornets effort on more than one occasion. Considering the team’s effort on the glass (Okafor and Paul excluded), they probably deserved it.

The Grizzlies had two fewer rebounds in the first half (24) than the Hornets had in the entire game (26). Okafor had 10 of the Hornets boards, meaning the rest of the squad managed only 16 total. Take away Paul’s 5 and the remainder is 11 boards split between 9 players who played 170 minutes. You can’t win games like that, especially when your best player continues to play hide and seek with his shot.

It’s a light recap tonight since losing is the worst, and I had some computer problems which wiped out a good chunk of my time.

Missed the first half? No worries. It can be summarized by the following bullets-

  • Hornets not named Carl Landry shot 7 of 26 (27%).
  • New Orleans players not named Chris Paul or Emeka Okafor grabbed 5 total rebounds, as the team was outrebounded 24-15.
  • Chris Paul did not score until there were two seconds left, making his second free throw after a non-shooting foul by Memphis. Marc Gasol followed that with a turnaround three-point bank shot after a full court pass, barely beating the buzzer.
  • Memphis led 51-38.

The second half started differently, as Chris Paul finally hit a jumper, and Ariza and Belinelli knocked down matching threes. It looked like the Hornets would crawl back into things as we have seen so many times, but their struggles on the glass persisted. Memphis was simply too big inside for Landry and Okafor, and the Grizzlies big men continued to grab more than their share of offensive rebounds. Who knew that being tall was such an advantage in basketball?

A Belinelli three got the crowd roaring with about 6:00 to go, and cut the lead to 6, but that was close the Hornets would get. A few… inopportune whistles, and less than stellar defense stopped the would-be comeback in it’s tracks.

Carl Landry, aka “The Offense”, took a break with about 4:30 to go in the third, down 10, after picking up his fourth foul. It was fortunate, and I mean that in every sense of the word, that they were able to score 7 points the rest of the quarter, keeping the lead at only 10. Without Landry out there, the Hornets don’t really have anyone over 6’4 who can create their own shot.

One minute into the fourth Monty Williams had Willie Green, Jarret Jack, Q-Pon, Aaron Gray and David Anderson on the floor together, and they actually had it going on offensively. Too bad the defense was exactly what you would expect–piss poor.

The lead remained around 10 for much of the quarter, but the energy on the floor was less than stellar from the Bees. What had started as a lack of hight on the boards had turned into general apathy all around. The crowd let it’s frustration be known after a missed Hornets jumper hit the floor twice before a Memphis defender casually picked it up. You can’t win games without David West if you aren’t going to give it your all, and that’s something that Monty Williams will certainly continue to impress upon his team.

Monty left CP3 out until 5:00 to go in the game, with the team already down 13 and Carl Landry on the bench with 5 fouls. Gray, Okafor, Ariza, Green, and Paul scored a quick 4 points to cut the deficit to 9, but that would be that. Zach Randolph hit a jumper to bring it back to 11, and after Okafor air-balled while searching for a foul, Gasol followed with a J of his own.

Down 14 after a technical on Monty, with only 2:25 to go might seem insurmountable to some, and they would be right. While I understand it’s a must win game, at that point it’s more like a can’t-win game. Sitting Paul to start the fourth is understandable, and so is putting him back in with 5 to go, but it was pretty clear at at that point that the Hornets weren’t going to come back. To be fair, Monty did take him out a minute later.

At least Patrick Ewing junior got in the game…

Postgame Notes

  • The Hornets scored 12 points in the first quarter on
  • In the last 48 minutes of first half Hornets action, Chris Paul has exactly one field goal and five points.
  • The crowd reacts substantially more when Belinelli hits a three than anyone else (except perhaps CP3, but I forgot what it’s like when he makes the long ball). I can’t help but wonder if it’s because he’s European and the fans are essentially conditioned to cheer extra loud for that from when Peja was in town.
  • Aaron Gray has fouls called on him like it’s his job. I watch better known players do the same stuff he does with complete impunity. Twice tonight I was left with my jaw to the floor after watching him battle for position away from the ball, much like Gray’s was.
  • There were countless (I guess you could count them) shot clock violations resulting from a stagnant Hornets offense that seemed to have little interest taking open shots if they weren’t late in the shot clock. This strange strategy has been persisting for a while now, despite the obvious complications that arise from it regarding the buzzing of the shot clock.
  • Landry won MVP of the game despite grabbing 2 rebounds in 31 minutes. His 19 points on 13 shots were essential in staying within striking distance, but his inability to match up against Gasol or Randolph was simply too much for the Hornets to overcome.
  • Paul finished 2-8 for 5 points, 15 boards vs 2 turnovers, five boards, and a lone steal. Guy has to find his shot or the Hornets can’t win a series. It’s science.
  • Attendance was 16,561, hardly what one would expect for a game with such playoff significance. That includes 766 tickets bought on Groupon at a substantial discount.
  • Belinelli had a decent night, going 5-9 for 14 points, but was absent in most aspects of the game.
  • Even when Ariza goes 4-10 from the floor (2-4 from beyond the arc), I still feel like he threw up a house worth of bricks. Not a bad game overall, but he needs to focus on defensive rebounding a little more.

Notes From Monty’s Press Conference

  • He first talked about the Hornets lack of effort, and how the team can’t come out with anything less than A, or 1A effort. I’m not sure how his effort scale goes, but I imagine that is high up.
  • He expressed disappointment that the team didn’t play to the level they are capable of.
  • “We’ve had a lot of emotional high’s and lows the last week.”
  • “We did not shoot the ball well tonight.”- True story.
  • “We should have been in the paint”- referring to the team giving up layup after layup
  • “This is a game that [Memphis] had been circling, from what I heard.”
  • “We haven’t accomplished anything.”

I think I like that last one the best. That’s really the mentality that he has to impress upon the team going forward, because even the snowy road to enter Playofftown isn’t quite clear yet.

In other NBA news, Houston beat San Antonio to move only three games back of the Hornets. The Rockets have seven games left, and the Hornets have six. The two teams meet on April 6th, in New Orleans for yet another must-win game for both.


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