New Orleans Hornets Beat the Rockets, Make the Playoffs

By:
Published: April 6, 2011

The Hornets beat the Rockets tonight to secure their spot in the playoffs, and effectively end Houston’s chances in the process. Chris Paul came to play, and with some help off the bench in the form of Jarret Jack and Jason Smith, he got it done.

YES!!!!! YESSSSSS!!!!!!!! YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GEAUX HORNETS!

After trailing by 16 following a Dragic jumper with 4:45 to go in the first half, the Hornets finally found their groove offensively, and remember how to play defense. They closed out the half on a 14-2 run, running the score to a much closer 55-51.

With 4:50 to go in the third quarter the Hornets took their first lead of the night, 66-63, on a wide open Marco Belinelli three pointer, and from them on they never fell behind my more than a few buckets. It was an eventful third quarter, and the small crowd was brought to it’s feet repeatedly in opposition of the referees’ decisions, and Jason Smith’s actions. At the conclusion, the Hornets led 74-71.

The final quarter was thrilling, as the Hornets and Rockets battled back and forth in front of a crowd that got to see a game worth every penny of what they paid.

The Point Gods (pronounced with a Boston accent)

Chris Paul

Maybe Chris Paul took exception to me even mentioning that he needed to hold his own against Lowry, maybe he just knew how badly the Hornets needed this game, or maybe he just decided to remind everyone how awesome he is. Whatever it was, he brought his A-game tonight, and Houston was powerless to stop him.

He was taking his outside jumper when he had it, and that caused Houston to pick him up higher. When they did, a quick move off of any sort of pick was all he needed to get inside, collapsing the defense. As we all know that’s CP3’s bread and butter. It’s good to see him feeling comfortable enough with the mid-range J to make it effective again.

His free-throw poaching was in full effect, as he ran into the opposition all over the floor, drawing calls that have seemed to escape him all year. It’s important that he gets those easy buckets in the playoffs. In previous years I would say he was the best in the league at it, but this year for whatever reason it hasn’t worked quite as well. His free throw rate has been down as a result.

Possibly most importantly, he was making plays that only CP3 can make. There was a long period of time when we were all asking, “what is wrong with CP3?” because from a fan’s perspective his play has been less exciting this year than in the past. Perhaps we are getting closer to seeing his at 100%. Tonight was straight CP3, vintage 2007.

He finished with 28 points on 10-20 shooting, to go with 10 assists vs 1 TO, 9 rebounds, and 1 steal. It was truly a performance that left jaws dropped, and should concern whoever the Hornets see in the first round. When Paul plays like this, the Hornets are a competent offensive team, even without David West. We already know what they are capable of on defense.

Jarrett Jack

Known as a second half, player Jack was HUGE off the bench tonight as CP3’s favorite dance partner. The duo methodically carved up whatever Houston threw at them, and showed a glimpse of what Hornets fans can expect to see a bunch of next year and in the playoffs. There has been a lot of debate about Jack’s value to the team, and his ability to play alongside Paul without seeing major minutes as the guy, but the guy can ball. He’s the most talented player the Hornets have had in the backcourt in years, and he’s showing that more and more often lately.

Jack wasn’t hesitating to take open shots, as he shouldn’t, and the result was a Hornets offense that wasn’t stagnant, didn’t use up every second of every shot clock, and genuinely looked, dare I say, explosive.

On defense he was equally excellent, both in man on man, and as a help defender. He was making great decisions about when to go up to challenge shots, and repeatedly his mark seemed hesitant to take jumpers. When you’re not committed to taking a shot, the result is more often than not a poor one.

As would be expected, he was on the floor the entire fourth quarter, and was a huge part of the victory. His two free throws with 11.5 seconds to go extended the lead to 4, and sent the Hornets to the playoffs as a result.

He finished with 19 points on 10 shots, to go with 5 assists vs 0 turnovers, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. Money. In. The Bank.

Other Player Notes

  • Okafor did his part on defensively and although he didn’t grab many boards, he was locating his mark and boxing out every time. He was literally the reason that the Hornets weren’t a total mess inside defensively. Guy is a baller, even if Hollinger doesn’t think he’s one of the best defensive centers (debate!)
  • There was stretch in in the third quarter when Jason Smith made his presence felt. First he tried to drive and dish, an…interesting decision. He followed that up by missing what should have been a thunderous dunk on the trailer on the next possession. He was hacked on the play, a flagrant-1, and had to go to the locker room temporarily for medical attention. On his way off the floor he pumped his fist and screamed passionately. The energy brought their crowd to their feet, and when he checked out a minute later (after sinking both free throws), he received a roaring ovation. He’s going to be the best Mark Madsen ever for the playoffs (and will play, too!). I love the energy.
  • Landry wasn’t there offensively (5 points on 10 shots), but his rebounding was huge. The Hornets needed all 9 of them.
  • Ariza had a really good game. He limited the number of jumpers he took, played fantastic defense, both one on one and in the passing lanes, and was a transition monster. (edit- It’s been mentioned that I understated Ariza’s performance. You’re all very right. He was as important to the team as anyone not named Chris Paul tonight. Excellent game, Trevor.)

Game Notes

  • Those military guys sure know how to do pushups…
  • Attendance was 12,728… Those in attendance were great!
84 comments
James Online
James Online

I'll bet the Hornets don't sell out their playoffs games, just like Atlanta and other small markets in years past. Hope I'm wrong.

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

F*$% the attendance now, it will go up NOW because of the excitement, the main things, the guys MADE it, without the 2nd best player, DWest, they fought, they need to fight now for the 6th seed to play Dallas, give them a support and cut the crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO NOLA!!!!!!!!

NolaHog
NolaHog

Okafor, Belinelli, Jack-Jack. . . welcome to the show, fellas! Shit's about to get REAL!! Hornets!

Diane
Diane

@Paul - you join the great philosophers of all times. About the knee - the space inside the knee is very small - and if they did take off 45cc - that's a lot and should be of concern about continuing the same trend.

Gec
Gec

i hope we are going to lose ALL the games from now on. Expecially if the Thunder get the 3rd seed. San Antonio here we come!!

James Online
James Online

Honestly, there are no excuses for the attendance. The game that was needed to clinch a playoff spot and so few fans show up? No prospective owner would buy into this market. Imagine if the team WASN'T in the playoffs? By contrast I attended the Warriors-Lakers game last night in front of a packed house of 20,000+ cheering like crazy for a team that's nowhere near playoff land. That's why a move to San Jose must look so enticing to Larry Ellison or whoever.

Brazilian Hornet
Brazilian Hornet

PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!

Ian H.
Ian H.

This was a game in which Monty was spot on with his rotations, I was amazed to see him ride the Jack/Paul combo and he had a very short leash on Willie Green. He used Willie to quickly spell Ariza but maybe gave him 10 mins the entire game. It's like Jack is a completely different player with extended minutes. I know he is used to starting but every game he gets 25 or more minutes he usually plays a highly efficient and productive game. The Jason Smith sub was predicated on foul trouble but he quickly noticed his energy and went back to him in the second half, the arena woulda went even crazier than it did if J Smith woulda hammered that 2nd dunk down. Either way he got the crowd pumped and even though there were a ton of empty seats, we were loud as hell after that sequence. They said 12,000 paid attendance but I bet it was closer to 8'500 actually there in person. Great win, disappointing crowd.

Hornetsky
Hornetsky

Congrats New Orleans Hornets. I hope the bugs continue to play better and keep momentum up to the playoffs. Doesn't matter who we face, just keep the fire and the chemistry going we'll be fine.

paul
paul

Just to make JCS reason for existing a little more ...gonna mention Gray I know..just minor on the stat sheet. However, he came in early with Okafor out with early foul trouble and he held down his center spot. In fact, he did so really well. He was part of that very first tourniquet that stopped the bleeding and helped in the first 11 to 2 run. He was a part of two important long playing periods and only his third time out was subpar...if even then. Now, don't go to religious talk as that was/is my specialty...or at least was when I gave a damn. Being a religious Studies/Philosophy major really has put a damper on my outlook.

Mjacks79222
Mjacks79222

As bad as attendance was, is it just me, did anyone feel like 5 mins to game time their was only 6000 people here tonight? It looked like another Detroit game. I was upset with that. But, on other news I'm pumped for the playoffs. One of the first times I've seen ariza get his emotions into the game and play balls to the wall. Monty should call the bench out everynight because these guys have bought into the system and will respond like they have the last few games

Brandon
Brandon

Good win. Like cp3 said, yu can't get too excited, yet. We need Trevor to play in the playoofs like he's been playing the last two game. We need Marco and Chris to be more aggressive and keep shooting. We Jack and green to both be consistent, we need Jason smiths energy. And Arron grays big boduy. This team has a lot of potential, the sky si the limit.

Hollis21
Hollis21

So excited. The Hornets in the playoffs, means I don't have to rely on a shady wireless connection to watch them and I can actually sit on my couch, turn on the big HDTV and enjoy the Hornets the right way. Didn't get to watch last night's game as I have a huge exam today I was studying for last night, but when I woke up to the text alert, I was so pumped! I hope we can keep that 6 seed and do work against Dallas. It would feel so good to knock them out. And I think Portland is by far the most capable of any of the three potential opponents for the Lakers. Exciting game. Judging from the highlights I have watched, whoever was at the game was rowdy and I love it. You guys are blessed to have a playoff team so close to home. I expect to see you guys rocking the house in the playoffs! Good day to be a Hornet fan!

Just A Fan
Just A Fan

Great win for the Hornets. The guys played hard and Mek deserves alot more credit than he recieves. His value is very underrated around the league. He is very consistent for a guy that is not the focal point of our offense. I wish we would incorporate him into the offensive scheme more.

Dontae
Dontae

Huge win!! 6th seed?

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

I hope CP3 stays healthy, we get Dallas, and you know what, give them a but kicking in the playoffs!!!!!!!!!! As I predicted NOLA WON, I watched the whole game, even though in Croatia was 2 AM, it was really worth it, I got my sleep after and I'm all excited, FAN UP NOLA!!!!!!!! Also NOLA needs that win vs Suns on Friday and @ Memphis on Sunday, to be able to play against Dallas inthe 1st round

berlin-hornets
berlin-hornets

Man I am loving it. Just watched the replay and felt like throwing up after the first quarter. Luckily there was more to come. I just hope CPs knee wont have to be drained again. Otherwise, draining a knee usually helps for next couple of days and then gets worse again. I assume they'll have to drain his knee again. But I am no doctor, so its all conjecture. To be honest, I was surprised by the low attendance. ON the other hand, I blame the long homestand a little for this. Many people, especially if it is out of financial reason, may decide to go to only one or two games when they have the choice of so many games in a row.

JayRey
JayRey

Wooot Playoffs!!!! Hard fought battle by the Bees!! This is definitely a win that should give them momentum going forward. When Ariza is playing with confidence this team is much more dangerous. Whoever is hot between Jack, Belinelli, or Green, I hope thats who Monty rides with. If two of them are hot it's even better.

otherMark
otherMark

I've noticed this before, but I REALLY noticed it tonight...Emeka has amazing lateral quickness for a center, which lets him play effective defense far from the post. Also, when he is forced into switching onto a guard, it isn't quite the mismatch it would be for a lot of other bigs. He's Very good at doubling the ballhandler on screens - and holding it for an extra second - and can almost always race back and find his man before the ball can. Also, Landry has good quick feet too, so ditto for him but slightly less then Emeka.

Mark
Mark

CHICKEN!

sweetjazz3
sweetjazz3

GREAT game at the Hive tonight ... disappointing that the crowd was so small, but at least those who came were really into the game. Overall the intensity level and execution in the last 44 minutes was really impressive. Contributions from just about everybody, and so many players on this team are in the playoffs for the first time in their career. Let's go Hornets!!!

bywas2001hornets4ever225
bywas2001hornets4ever225

playoffs baby! loved the game, especially since i came in wen it was 22-8 rockets, love wen we come back.. rockets were putting up some ridiculous shots that made me extremely pissed off when that crap went in, to keep myself sane i just kept telling myself that if they keep throwing these shots up they will eventually start missing them. look wat happened they did! but trevor was a monster tonight, are we seeing playoff ariza? i hope we see more of this guy, night

SadHornetsFan
SadHornetsFan

CP3 had 45 cc's drained out of his knee before the game according to monty...hell of a game from him. hopefully he can keep it up in the playoffs.

James Grayson
James Grayson

I want to know where those bandwagon fans are, we need them to fill the Arena.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Attendance was 12,728… Lowest total around the entire league tonight. SMH.

42
42

Atlanta is not a small market. What if we draw the Lakers? Does that 'count' if we sell those out? Spurs? Playoff games since Katrina had at least 17,000. That's a good sign, but is far from what I'd call a strong predictor of future performace. I also don't see how the playoff attendance really matters. Season ticket sales matter.

Gec
Gec

misstyped... This blog needs a cancel button or an edit button

42
42

Is anyone making excuses? Has anyone said the attendance was awesome? I don't think so. By the way, Chouest was there clapping. He seems happy. We already know that he won't buy the team 'at any cost', so if he buys it, we know he is ok with the attendance. Also, we are averaging 14758 this season, higher than then 14735 we averaged over the 3 pre-katrina seasons. That attendance was just fine for the NBA . . . Twice in the last 10 years. It won't be ok forever, no. Hence the season ticket drive: I'm in. This is focused on next season, not this season. None of is this ideal or even good, agreed, but it's no cause for getting upset with anyone.

42
42

Yeah, Jack seems like it takes him a bit to get into the flow offensively, to really figure out how poke the defense and watch it jiggle.

504ever
504ever

I don't want to get too far ahead of the next game but, if the Hornets win their next three games, they will likely earn the 6th seed and have a 'rest' game to end the season. That would be amazing, especially considering where expectations were after a winless Hornets preseason: (with a nod to the sound bit machine, ex-Saints Coach Jim Mora) "PLAYOFFS??? PLAYOFFS??????". Yeah, playoffs!!!!!!!

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

Oh, and we can hope that Portland looses to Utah tonight lol...

SadHornetsFan
SadHornetsFan

i agree...about emeka. he really is a great defender. he holds his own against bigger guys, is a great shot blocker, and is very good guarding guards off picks. he has to be one of the best all around defenders in the league.

42
42

Yeah, I'm going tomorrow.

42
42

That's about 1.5 ounces, not alot. It's a hell of alot more than none, which is how much the other knees on the team had drained. To tell you the truth, I feel good knowing that his knee accoutrement was for that and not the lingering issue. Also, it's good to know that procedures such as that can help to the degree that he can play like he did before, which is not the case for Roy, for example.

JCS
JCS

Don't worry. Be happy.

Stew
Stew

It may have been low attendance, but those who there were off the hook. Great crowd in that respect.

kempleton
kempleton

I think that's because of our low season ticket holder base this season. 3K increase in season ticket holders will make these kind of games 15000 attendance games next season. Hopefully...

James Online
James Online

So the Bees didn't sell out all playoff games post-Katrina. That's what I thought. Atlanta is not a small population market, but it is a small revenue producing NBA market. A dead town for hoops, much like NOLA unfortunately. If the fans turn out for the Lakers, that's hardly a healthy sign. Anyone know how many season tickets have been sold for next year? Compared to this year?

Gaiking
Gaiking

I'm hoping to attend the two sure home playoff games, I will be flying in from Dallas. If we manage to draw the Mavs I'd be able to go to all of them! And then plan ahead for the next set of games when we do reach the second round ;)

James Online
James Online

42: That's what I mean by "excuses are given." S/he has a point though: poor attendance at any single game can be blamed in part on the fact that the single game draw/walk up cannot compensate for the low number of season ticket holders. The market just won't produce enough uncommitted ticket buyers. That's not a tautology as you claim because season ticket holders are not the same as the others. Any effort to boost the number of season ticket holders through a blog is sheer lunacy. As good as Joe, Mac, and Ryan are, this blog attracts very few readers/posters and will have minimal impact on season ticket sales. That phenomenon is in another stratasphere completely. Sad but true.

paul
paul

http://www.stationindex.com/tv/tv-markets Why move to Fresno when they are below NO in terms of TV market power? However, season ticket holders do make up a ton of a team's seat filling. Looking at the above, I seriuosly wonder why St Louis doesn't have an NBA team.

paul
paul

How exactly is attendance measured? By the SOLD or the turnstyle count? I presume the turnstyle as the other would be simply a "sold" stat. And it is true in large markets the season (businessman) holders make a ton of volume. They design whole stadiums around them. I am not so sure the market in NO is large enough for that.

James Online
James Online

One poster above said the low attendance is because of the low number of season ticket holders. Lots of posters in past threads have offered excuses for the low attendance. The Hornets' attendance last night was 2,000 less than New Jersey at Detroit. These are the brutal facts.

Ian H.
Ian H.

When he is hitting his mid range jumper when he comes off a pick and roll he becomes a difficult cover for most opposing PGs. He isn't afraid of contact, gets to the rim and is an above average FT shooter. He is more savvy then talented but once a couple jumpers go down he can dictate to the defense whatever he wants. I wouldn't call him a pure shooter like Marco but when he catches or pulls up in rhythm he may arguably be the best shooter on the roster.

SadHornetsFan
SadHornetsFan

ya, that's true...and 45 cc's sounds a lot worse than 1.5 ounces. haha.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

I totally agree. When I got home I edited that into the attendance figure in the article.

42
42

Ding!

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hopefully you'll be right kempleton.

42
42

A sell out is a little over 17k, I don't remember exactly... 17250? I'd say they were all sellouts. That isn't what you thought. Please note: a sellout isn't the same as every ticket possible being distributed. My rep said the renewal rate si far has been about 80%, higher than last year all totaled. Over the past 2 years the base dropped 50%. We were over 10K STH after the 08 season and carried 98% attendance average 08-09. It's not just possible, it's a recent memory. By your Atlanta reasoning, LA is a small football market. Tell Goodell that.

42
42

So what? Are we no to try? Are we not to fight? Must we be afraid to try and lose? Should we just sit around and hope someone else delivers us the win? Not me, James. Not me. And your point about uncommited ticket buyers is right, but that wasn't the point made. The quote was "I think that’s because of our low season ticket holder base this season. 3K increase in season ticket holders will make these kind of games 15000 attendance games next season. Hopefully…" They said adding 3J STH would make a 12xxx game a 15xxx game. The world can whistle all the negativity they want my way... I'll fiddle while Rome burns, mad as a hatter, before I turn my back on what I love, and my failure in this case won't be a reflection on me. My effort will be. And the goal, the one I set (thank you), is 50 season tickets added by our readers. So far, I count 14. 4 by the blog, 2 by thechosenuno, 4 by Chris Trew, and 4 by me. I may be adding 2 more from the work group tomorrow. That's about 30% of the goal and we haven't really polled people, and that's counting additions, not the folks already there. 1% isn't much now, and may not ever be, but at least we're trying. You have a better idea? I'm all ears.

42
42

Tickets distributed. Sold, given, etc.

42
42

That statement is a tautology and carries no information: people didn't buy tickets because people didn't buy tickets. (Attendance is tickets distributed). That's not an excuse. It's a brutal fact, I think. Pistons have a huge arena (Palace) and a metro area 5 times that of New Orleans'. They average about 16,500 which is about 75% capacity. We are averaging about 14750 at 86%, one of the largest totals among the small markets on a percentage basis, midpack among small markets in absolute terms. None of that may matter in the final analysis, but the Hornets are far from the worst performing franchise in that regard.

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