Hornets Can’t Rebound, Lose to Grizzlies

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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.

19 comments
Dontae
Dontae

Emeka had a huge 1st quarter.

Brandon
Brandon

Wonder if the kings would give a sign and trade with marcus Thornton over the offseason. SMH. I didn't see the game, but I understand how bad it was. If trams are shuttig down Chris pauls drive, marco should drive to. He's faster than a lot of two guards in this league. Monty Williams does not do anything to help our offense. I love the guy for his defensive mind though. Jason smith could be developed into one of the best offensive threats off the bench, but he needs to be shooting 400 jumpshots a day in practice. If Monty wants ariza shooting the three, he needs to be shooting 200 threes a day and 200 mid range shots. It's all about repition on offense. I saw this article sbout how the hornets almos got Andre igoudala in November but the trade fell apart. I bet in demps and montys meeting with cp3 in July, igoudalas name came up. All i'm saying is with the offense Monty ha the hornets running, we are not getting out the first round of the playoffs nor is Chris paul going to be here for the long run.

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

Monty needs to seriously work on defining Ariza's role in the offense , we just can't go into the post-season like this , Ariza's ineptitude has gone on too long... here is a bold suggestion . More slashing , less hanging out on the 3 ( we are all tired of having to cover are eyes every time Paul draws 3 defenders just to kick it out to Ariza for the open 3 ). More back door cuts , more down screens , in short all of Trevor's off ball action should result with him at the rim. Nights like this put a bad taste in my mouth heading into the post season. Just seems we are gonna have to depend on variables to win a series ( paul plays up to his potential again , Ariza picks up his defense to the level it was at for the Lakers championship run , the refs begin to understand Gray is a big big man)

bgalella
bgalella

The Grizzlies have been among the biggest surprises in the NBA, even without Rudy Gay they will be one of the most dangerous opponents in the opening round of the playoffs. 19 bench points isn't going to cut it for the Hornets, they need productivity from everywhere, especially with David West sidelined.

Stefano from Italy
Stefano from Italy

Sorry to say, but i find extremely difficult to foresee a plaoyff series win for the hornets. No big man bench, Paul playing high and low (too many lows...), Ariza incosnistent shooter. With West there was some possibility, not now :-(

kempleton
kempleton

This was the second worst loss I have watched in the arena this season. The first one was our blow-out loss to Spurs back in November. Hope we will get our grip together and win the remaining home games. I unfortunately don't see that offensive spark when the team needs it. It is sad that CP3 cannot provide it anymore. He used to! So, I am not sure what we will do in the playoffs when defenses are really though? Any ideas? I also wonder why coach does not try Beli and Willie together on the floor when Ariza is dead cold.

NolaHog
NolaHog

We got outplayed and outcoached, big time. For once, I'd like to hear Monty admit in a post game press conference when his game plan was a dud. We could get absolutely NOTHING going on offense, and we didn't change up our schemes when we were getting shut down. Paul has GOT to start taking some outside shots off of the high screens. The defenses know he won't shoot it, so they sag into the lane and force us to take outside shots with Ariza. Paul can't drive past anybody because they play off of him, knowing he's not a shooting threat. We don't have enough scorers for Paul to be solely a passer. We're not the Boston Celtics. And on defense. . . come on. How many backdoor screens in the paint did they run on us? We all know they're not a quality outside shooting team (although they made a few in this game), so why didn't we just plop Gray and Okafor down in the lane and just have them stay home? Everyone keeps talking about our effort in this game, but I think it was just a case of us getting outcoached. . . soundly.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

We walk a fine line. Exposing Monty as a sub-par coach does nothing positive for the Hornets and everyone associated with the team, especially with crappy fan support and no owner. But putting no heat on Monty to be better leaves us with the same ass crap we've been seeing for 75 games this season.

JCS
JCS

James Online, you love Bellynelly don't you? You're the guy who was talking about having a beautiful Italian wife, right? Anyway, I must say this loss was a thorough disappointment. The box score alone makes me sick to my stomach, and Aaron Gray's numbers are the foremost reason. I mean, does the guy walk around with a hacksaw or what? It's like Jason Voorhees is playing for the Hornets, sans the mask. IMO Aaron Gray is the most deplorable seven footer in all of sports, and anyone who voted for him in the "most like to see" poll is delirious.

James Online
James Online

Joe, the crowd cheers loudly for Marco's threes because they are generally quite spectacular, his shooting touch is smooth, and that's his role on this team (unfortunately, he's got much more game than that as we saw during his second year at Golden State. Marco was going great that year until a badly sprained ankle essentially ended his season). The Bees offense is set up so that the PG controls the game to such an extent, ball movement is always forced. That's the down side of playing on a CP3-led team. Nearly the entire set offense was set up on the Paul-West tag team duo, so West goes down, Paul becomes unreliable, and the ship sinks. Or at least take on too much water.

James Online
James Online

I sat midcourt five rows up tonight, treating myself to good seats as I have to fly in from California to watch the Hornets at home. The guy next to me, a season ticket holder, said that Monty Williams is in over his head as a head coach. I never really thought that, even though I have been mightily discouraged by the rotations. The man next to me said Monty has his scheme for the game and doesn't do well reacting to what's happening on the floor. He just sticks with the plan. There's some truth to that. Pulling Marco out after hitting three straight threes Wednesday, and yanking him out again early tonight is, of course, my biggest complaint. But I was also wondering what Pondexter was doing out there tonight, Anderson too. And why didn't Marco go back in with five/six minutes left at the same time he put Paul and Ariza back in. Green stayed on the floor, even though Marco was hot again and providing more offense than Paul, Green, Jack, or Ariza. The poster above who mentioned Ariza has it right. Trevor has some game, but the way Paul looks for him for threes is just wrong. That's on Monty too. I got a tee shirt from one of the Honeybees and thought that was pretty cool until I got back to the hotel and opened it up: commerical hype for Comcast, who I understand provides very poor service here. Oh well, let's see what happens for the rest of the year. The Hornets don't look ready for playoff basketball, but who knows what might happen. Hope springs eternal.

Dontae
Dontae

OKC will beat Portland. CP3 had a bad game but really had good assists. This loss hurt but just have to look to the next game. GO HORNETS!

mbdtf
mbdtf

OKC didn't help...

Holy Cow
Holy Cow

Actual attendance tonight could not have been 12,000, regardless of what the ticket distribution was quoted as. It is becoming painfully obvious that 12,000 - 14,000 is going to be your fannies in the seats count for virtually any game that isn't against the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, etc. This was essentially a playoff game and the fans and the team acted as if it were a Wednesday night in early November.

Eric
Eric

houston has a legitimate shot of winning out if they beat us...and that scares me to death

Holy Cow
Holy Cow

Watching crap efforts like this makes me really question my decision to be "in". It's hard to stomach blowing $120 and 2 1/2 hours for this stuff. I really question if this team and our all star point guard are in. Our offense looks like 5 guys playing a pick up game. There is no ball movement and virtually no one looks like they can finish in the paint. Why on God's green earth are we swinging the ball to Ariza at the 3 point line or top of the key with 10 seconds on the shot clock. I think we all know how that story ends 95% of the time. I have no idea what Monty is doing with his rotations. Defensively, I don't understand our penchant for immediately switching a big onto a guard 7 seconds into the shot clock. We're switching and getting stuck in no mans land that winds up yielding easy points in the paint and uncontested 3s. I really question whether I want this team to make the playoffs, get unceremoniously dumped in the first round and cost me another couple hundred bucks.

CP3nBrees
CP3nBrees

I can't believe the veteran Spurs team didn't foul them intentionally until 7 seconds on the clock.. ---------------- Zack Randolph hits several ridiculous shots... Hopefully OKC can beat Portland for us