Bullets From the Hornets Preseason Win Over the Grizzlies

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Published: December 21, 2011

Hornets beat the Grizzlies 95-80. Here’s what you need to know.

Player Notes

  • Chris Kaman can put the ball in the bucket. I underestimated just how good he actually is down low. He also has a sweet Chewbacca noise that plays after he scores. Nice. It’s my new favorite sound. Also, he’s a really good passer. Glad to have him on the team.
  • Eric Gordon can also put the ball in the bucket. I correctly estimated how good he was at that, though. Watching him shoot threes is a thing of beauty. Such a nice soft touch. You can imagine that he just gets all the rolls in the world. He’s also the menace we thought he would be when he gets inside.
  • Farouq is RAW. Very, very raw. I’d say Q-Pon is remarkably more polished already. Monty Williams is the reason why. Can’t wait to see what he does if Aminu is as dedicated to improving as Pondexter seems to be. He played some time at the 4, which he will probably occasionally when the Hornets decide to go small. He had quite a few fouls. No biggie.
  • Sometime in the past 8 months or so Jason Smith turned a corner and become a two-way player. Last year I wasn’t the most optimistic about him or his future, but all of a sudden he’s really looking like a positive force out there. Defensively it’s clear something clicked during the extended offseason. He was all over the place both in man-defense and as a helper. I’ll do a story on him after the game with some more details.
  • Quincy Pondexter looks a lot better than last year. He worked with Monty for two weeks this offseason, one-on-one, and it’s looking like it’s going to pay off. He looks like he knows where he needs on both ends of the floor to be this year, even if he isn’t always there. Last year he appeared confused at times about what his role was. This year he looks dialed in. I really, really, REALLY, don’t want to see him traded. I can’t imagine Monty does either.
  • Squeaky Johnson looked good in limited time. He made a few dumb mistakes, but otherwise he looked perfectly capable of being the third point guard. Guy is fast. Like, really fast. I think it’s the hair. IMO you have to keep a New Orleans player for PR purposes (if you’re not going to compete for a title), and he’s the only one currently on the roster.
  • Trey Johnson had a few nice minutes. Pretty quiet overall.

Other Stuff

  • The new Hornets House band is fantastic. Last year I talked about “Homegrown Night”, and it clear that the Hornets felt somewhat similarly about how to localize their presentation. Love. It. Not only are they talented, but they rock the house in true New Orleans style. I’m jazzed!
  • There was no prayer before the game. Personally I didn’t really care all that much, but I can see how it would make some people feel uncomfortable. Plus it was completely unnecessary. This is actually also something I wrote about last year. As someone pointed out last year, from a PR standpoint it was probably easier for the NBA to simply not continue doing it, rather than to stop doing it in the middle of last season.
  • The Bee-Zanies had some new cheers. I dug it. Props to them for energizing the crowd.

 

Eric Gordon going up for a shot

Jerome Dyson

Quincy Pondexter

Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson

Jarrett Jack driving to the lane

Chris Kaman

 

 

 

 

Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson driving to the lane

Al Farouq Aminu Dunks off an Alley Oop

Quincy Pondexter inbounding the ball

 

Eric Gordon goes up for a layup


71 comments
Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

So the last few posts in all this have not even a thin veil of basketball talk, much less Hornets talk. Take a break for a day, wipe the slate clean, and see if you guys agree on things that ACTUALLY HAPPEN Monday during the season opener. Cool?

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

So I guess since there is a lack of character these post are going to continue and will get more and more insulting. Here comes more down play or disrespectful references after a false claim of never trying to not disrespect someone. but hypocrisy is aimed at me. Wow that shows brilliance and actually how a simpleton would act. But your better then that right. Yet for someone who is tying to relate me there nephews, each post they show true adolescence. My post are weak but yet yours lack substance. So fact is they are all theorys no real blueprint. In you are right, this is and has been boring. So the best reply to future post is to give no reply to help the development of adolescent minds. So here you can get the last words in your own sarcastic and egotistic way. Im sure you'll think of something. Here's the floor, its all yours Happy Holiday and Have fun

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

Oh great your sarcasm is just as good as the points you make. Amazing that doesn't say much but I guess its factual for someone. Again its amazing how if you stand up for your ideas/words without trying to be belittled its being to sensitive. well ill be sensitive but ill never sit back and not act upon it. Your right Happy Holidays

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

Yea I am very optimistic because I believe in the team. As for as being ludicrous, only thing that is ludicrous is an egotistical simpleton is trying to insult my intelligence on a subject that was opinion based. What's also ludicrous and idiotic is you are the same person who stated they really just want to trade a player because you don't like there jump shot when apparently he has a good enough jump shot to be in the NBA for 7 years. I am not content with just barley winning but at the same time I understand there is more than oneway to win in the any league and I can have my opinion on how to do things. An like I said I do not agree with trading a solid player who is proven and just to develop someone else. If you want development then win the battle at the position don't just crown someone because they have potential hell Eddy Curry and Kawame Brown had Potential. Even better you want player to develope sent them to the D-League other then that let them compete and if they can beat out a player who some believe can't shoot then they don't deserve to play. I also can use the Spurs as an example because im just talking about there systems of Defense, scoring fundamentals and team work the Hornets are trying to reach. (So they don't have to depend on a 1 superstar) Yea they haven't had the whole team on the court and yet in pre-season play they are 2-0 with a PG who most don't like and has a 14-1 ratio of assist to turnovers. So that fact alone has me very optimistic. Why wouldn't you be, even if it is preseason and your just lost your franchise player but your team has still won against a playoff team from last year. Plus, as you stated the whole team has not played yet. Yes we do need another PG and we can add another scoring threat but unless it's a good 2 for 1 deal that's makes the team better is the only way I trade. As far as picking and choosing my fact I put the fact that I believe are relevant to what I am pointing out and to the overall picture, which is being in a smart situation to sell the team,keep fans interested in a good team, and most importantly WIN.Nothing I put is short of thinking of a overall future which is NOW. Like I have said the Hornets are in a different situation because they are trying to sell a team. Who wants to buy a team in a small market with unproven players starting? How many fans you know will renew tickets on a sorry team? The hornets need the fans support to stay in New Orleans because a owner wants to make money not lose. You need to have a decent season in order to keep people interested. Also "wow" player from what was stated is players who bring excitement to the game so how can you down play not alone them but me when they were exciting. The had more exciting alleys and threes and fast breaks at that time then most team I can remember around that time. So they were Wow but they weren't winners. I can agree to take chances but again you have to take chance and be smart especially when your franchise future can be short,so they is no time to dump seasons and trade away potential valuable pieces for unproven players. Let young players prove they are capable, then you trade Ariza,Oakfor, Jack, and Landry if you want but I don't feel the young players are ready yet. Again this is my opinion you don't have to agree but don't try to insult my intelligence, especially if I never insulted you. These are my opinions and to be honest I don't give a damn who likes them or who doesn't but I will not allow another person to feel they can insult me on any level.

Jason
Jason

Can we stop talking about how the Spurs built their team? They were a strong playoff team, that had an injury to their best player, and then were lucky enough to get the 1st pick in the draft. We had our shot to do that when CP3 was hurt, and we instead put in Collison and won too many games. This team we got right now is too good to be a top 5 lottery team. There are so many teams that are far more terrible than us. Trading Ariza for a backup pg would be ridiculous. I'm all for trading Okafor/Ariza/Kaman, but lets try to get some value back. If we aren't getting value, we shouldnt make a move. I would take a guy like Eric Maynor who I think could be a solid point guard, but I'm not trading for DJ Augustin. I stand by letting the team play 10 games as a team, figure out a rotation and see how we do. If we go 7-3 or better, we think about how to make the team better this year. If we go 4-6 to 6-4, we have a decision to make on whether we should tank or not. And if we go 3-7 or worse, we start unloading pieces ASAP.

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

Yea you are right they are not "wow" players but that's why you have Gordon to be the "wow" factor. You have to ask do you want "wow" or do you want WIN? Hell the Clippers with Lamar Odom,Q-Rich, Darius Miles,and others hell they were a real WOW factor and we see where that got them. As for the Spurs reference that I was stating was for Good Defense and solid scores no wow factor to them. An you right they did Draft all of those player but Robinson and Duncan were the 2 most dominant big men in the NBA so you can compare that I mean be real they don't even have Cs like that anymore (Except Howard ) Plus Ginobi and parker had experience in professional basketball so its not like they were young and raw. I agree and know it takes alot of luck and good drafting but Hornets need to be solid this year ti land ownership and I doubt if all 10000 season ticket holders would want to come see a sorry team this year and then renew tickets for another season ,No they wont. You mention Gordon being Restricted but hell Paul was restricted he was just going to play out the contract then leave so if the team is sorry Gordon will do the same.Players have competitive edges and don't like to lose nomatter what. Eventho we beat then in the preseason, im looking at the Hornets to be a Memphis type team and not to just tank the season. From what I can tell to me you are saying let's tank the season trade away some players (Okafor, Jack, Landry or Ariza the best defensive player on our team and give unproven players the keys to the team) and hope we can draft good players who might be bust or mite be stars and just hope we end up like OKC in a few years? But to me with the team they have now the Hornets are a player away from being a shocking playoff team so why mess with it. Because in my opinion if the team doesn't get a owner then we will lose the Hornets or the NBA will downsize like they have been taking about for a few years. so I don't think the Hornets can tank any season they need to build to win fir Now cause 3-4I years is not promised the team will be here. But that's just my opinion.

Kyle
Kyle

I thought Aminu played very well and his potential seemed to just ooze out. I do agree that he has a lot to learn but I was very impressed by his defense. I was also impressed by Gordon's defense. I have a lot of faith in Monty so I like to see young talent that is WILLING to play defense. I say if they are willing to go out and play tough defense then they are willing to be coached and work hard. I am definitely pumped for the season- win or lose the team looks exciting and bright.

kempleton
kempleton

I was very worried about our Point Guard situation while the season at the HIVE started for us last night. And I am still worried. Jarrett Jack is not a pass-first type player and that might hurt us along the way. My brother was asking me who the backup PG is. As I was telling me who he is, and telling that he is from NBDL and probably not good enough to play in the NBA, Squeaky Johnson recorded his first assist of the game with a no-look pass to Kaman. I felt like He was looking at me doing so. :) That was an impressive start for him. However, He has limitations. I realized that he cannot use his left hand as good as his right hand and he lost a couple of balls because of his weak left dribble. He is going to be 29 next month, so he is not a young player that the team would invest for the future. So, my question is: Why don't we sign Earl Boykins from the waivers? I see that having Squeaky is a step towards the old Muggsy Bogues days. Having Boykins will bring us closer to those days. Boykins is a proven PG in the league and he would be our insurance god forbid anything happens to Jarrett Jack. Dell Demps must have seen that we have a serious PG situation and should do something immediately. Boykins is out there waiting on waivers. There are others too. Sign one of them for a year. I hate Arenas and I do not think he will sign with us. No offense to Johnson but Boykins would be a legit backup PG for us. By the way, The fact that they do not have anybody else but Squeaky on the roster might be an indication that we should expect another trade soon to bring a PG to our team (possibly by sending Okafor or Ariza away). Bobcats has Kemba Walker now and they desparately need a Center. We may pursue DJ Augustin from them who had a decent performance last season and send them Okafor with a couple of other players in return. Augustin is from New Orleans and might be a great starting PG for us!

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

noticed Aminu was rocking the number 0 jersey in that picture , guess they decided it was too soon for the AF3 era in new orleans.

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

@Jo D No I didn't not make them sound like all Stars. like I said they are Solid players and that is what you need right now. You talk about 3 years down the line but with no Ownership and talks about the NBA downsizing, our future is really now so we can't afford to dump seasons. You trade players like Ariza for Depth or once your development players prove they are ready for everyday action. An again our new potential franchise player (Gordon) is on a contract year so if we lose him we will lose alot. because alot of players want to play with other good solid players. An to be honest the way it looks we will end up with two mid round pics in the first round . But If we dump the season we lose FANs and Money (and maybe a potential owner). so I would keep solid players like Ariza and Landry but trade them down the line once we see the direction the team is going. Plus you keep wanting to trading for Cap space but be real we didn't keep CP3 so its not like we will sign mega superstar players like CP3 or LBJ because we are at a disadvantage with being in a small market. We need consistent and solid players(not superstars )to build our team because again I see us being more of the SPURS than OKC. but I understand your point good debate. But I guess in the next few weeks or months well see where the team is headed. Jus hope they are competitive and winning (to keep and add other solid players )

nolahog
nolahog

12,000 fans for a preseason game? Remember when we would hope for that many during a regular season game? I've got a sneaking suspicion that this year's gonna awesome. . .

GecGreek
GecGreek

that's not Trey Johnson i think

Isaac
Isaac

Kaman is really streaky, so don't get your hopes up too high.. Although I'd love to see him be consistent just once. He's got great skills. Wish i could find highlights of this game.

mrclutch
mrclutch

I'M IN and VERY excited!!! I understand that it is Very early but I invision us being another version of OKC... Building with Young athletic guys that are Very hungry and a coaching staff that will have them prepared EVERY night....

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

Why trade Ariza if he is a proven starter in this league with 7years of experience (something you need on good but young teams) and he is still relatively young(26). An a lot of people forget that beside CP3 he was a big reason why we stood in playoff series against Lakers. Ariza averaged about 16ppg, 7rebs, 3-4 ast,and 1-2 stls. So he is a good reliable player which young teams need to have in big games. I know a lot of ppl like Pondexter but let's remember he is still young and has a lot to prove before he can just take over the starting role. Only way I trade Ariza is if I can get a SF like Michael Beasley who is young (22) but has a good bit of experience(4years).

Stew
Stew

Jason Smith looked like a bonafide NBA superstar out there tonight, in my opinion. My new favorite Hornet. Nothing but hustle.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Will Squeaky be our starting PG on opening night with Jack being out serving his suspension? Funny how nobody complained about Jack in the last pre-season game.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

I am BEYOND pumped for the upcoming season after watching them tonight at The Hive -Eric Gordon is the real deal folks. Dude can flat out ball. He can create his own shot and is a wayyy better passer than I was anticipating. On defense, he can keep his guy in front of him and seems to always be rotating to the right area on the court and double teaming the right person. Oh, and, he's only been here THREE FRICKING PRACTICES. Monty must be salivating. Cause I know I am. -Carl Landry is an upgrade to David West for THIS PARTICULAR team. Period. End of Story. He is a better defender by a mile and a better self-shot creator. We've now seen him get a chance to guard Pau Gasol for 6 games and Zach Randolph for 2. SHUT EM DOWN. I think 8 games vs. elite PF's is enough to at least be excited about. -Jarrett Jack didn't force anything tonight. He played in his game, barely scored, and led us to victory. Dude is very obviously into what's going on here. -Chris Kaman should probably be starting over Okafor. -Quincy Pondexter has VASTLY improved. It's just one game you say. His decision making was precise and on point most of the night. He had a rough 1st quarter vs. Gay but once he settled in, dude showed flashes. -Aminu is a smarter, more instinctive JuJu. We look hungry, we look fresh, we look ready. I'm excited. We may not make the playoffs but we'll come damn close as long as Gordon, Jack, and Landry can stay healthy, in that order. Lastly, Monty, I'm sorry for everything bad I've said about you. PREDICTION: Legitimate COTY candidate this year We almost had Dell give up on the situation and Monty wouldn't have been far behind. Now look where things have headed in 2 weeks. Amazing. IM IN!

Songy
Songy

Hey where was Ariza and Okofor tonight?

Ian H.
Ian H.

Kaman looked he should be able to dominate most teams' backup Centers as he is effective in the post. Jason Smith played with more confidence than he ever has and Eric Gordon is just smooth. Q-Pon played well, very well the only negative is that our starting frontline is so undersized we will get killed on the glass. Once we put in Kaman and Smith we crashed the boards with the added size.

Trey
Trey

I agree with both of you! If NO trades q-pon i would be really upset. Might be the worst decesion they ever made!

Justafan
Justafan

JJ was atrocious. Nothing but a backup. We cannot and will not win with him as starting point guard

George
George

Nice to see 12 rebounds from Pondexter in the box score. I wonder if we end up keeping him and Aminu, and although Pondexter is better now, Aminu has more potential and in the long-term Monty could develop him. I also wonder how the Chris Kaman vs Emeka Okafor situation plays out. Interesting time to be a Hornets fan. I'm a bit worried about the Timberwolves, because of Kevin Love and new additions; they could be an ok team this team.

xxNOLAxHORNETSxx
xxNOLAxHORNETSxx

14 and 12 for quincy?? WHAAAT??? Please dont trade this guy away especially not for greivis vasquez. Keep it up Hornets!! WE UNDEFEATED!!!!!!!!!