Hornets Obliterate Celtics

By:
Published: December 28, 2011

Despite Eric Gordon being a late scratch with a bruised knee (nothing serious), the Hornets gave the opening night sell-out crowd just about everything they could ask for. Monty’s squad gave 48 tough minutes and after a brief offensive dry-spell in the beginning, they lead for right around ten points throughout the rest of the game, except in the fourth when the lead stretched to as many as 21. Add in the live music courtesy of Irvin Mayfield and company and the whole night was an incredible success. So glad to be a Hornets fan. Final score was 97-78.

The Hornets played team defense just like Monty expects and rebounded as a cohesive unit as opposed to five individuals. Anyone wearing Creole Blue was locating their man on the defensive boards, and scooping up anything available on the offensive side. The result was more memorable putbacks than I’ve seen since Tyson was in town. The crowd reacted predictably. You know those in attendance are doing their job when the vocal Bee-Zanies are but an afterthought in terms of fan noise. (Don’t take that the wrong way, Zanies. Love you!).

New Orleans successfully dealt with Rondo by throwing a number of different looks at him. Jack, Ariza, Vazquez, and Belinelli saw time covering him.

Pause.

Vazquez is a beast. His excitement is contagious, his passing is better than I ever expected, and his scoring ability is downright above average. He hit some shots that I didn’t think he was capable of dropping coming into today. I’ve been told I’m a bit of a homer, and quick to rush to judgement, but this guy is awesome. He will capable of starting games for someone (hopefully us) within a few years.

Resume.

Chris Kaman is a pleasure to watch. If there’s a more well-rounded player on the Hornets team, I don’t know who it is. Guy can rebound, play defense, hit the jumper, battle down low, and get the fans on their feet. Plus his Chewbacca sound is genius. Wathching him (and the rest of the team) left me with a smile on my face the entire night.

Kaman, Okafor, and Landry combine to make up one of the best front courts in the Western Conference. They’re tough on both ends of the floor, and will give trouble to anyone they face all year long. Perhaps we will call them the big-three. Nobody has taken that, right?

On that note, Kaman finished with 12 points, 9 boards and 3 blocks. Landry had a double-double, finishing with 20 points and 11 boards. Okafor added five blocks that brought at least part of the crowd to their feet, and scored in double digits. He even connected on a jumper. For those scoring at home, that’s two straight games Okafor has made a sweet J. Could be his all time high. I kid! He looked better inside on offense, too, with the exception of his rim-rejection.

Jack met our increased expectations, scoring, distributing, and playing some solid D in his first contest of the season. He finished with 21 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks with only 1 turnover. What was that other guys name that we had? Ru Paul or something? Hard to remember when we have someone like Jack in there running point.

As I predicted, Belinelli was left open from the three point line too often and connected more often than not. He finished with 13 points on 6 shots to go with 6 boards.  If you remember, last year he started out really strong on defense, but finished looking rather shoddy. He was somewhere in between the two today.

Post Game Notes

  • There will be video of the press conference, and some pictures (not from the baseline this time unfortunately) up sometime tonight.
  • Monty’s first post game comment– “I’m glad we won, and the way we played is exciting to me.”
  • I’m actually not going to stick around here longer to do interviews and press conferences. There is sufficient media here, so all I would wind up doing is repeating someone else. Plus my girlfriend got back to Nola today and I haven’t seen her in 10 days. That’s longer than we’ve gone without being together in over a year and a half. Sorry! I’ll do double time next game.
  • One more thing– Starting soon we’re going to take a big step forward in our game-day coverage. You will love it, guaranteed.

64 comments
pinoyballah
pinoyballah

man, i love the ball movement on offense. hell of a difference and less predicatable from the past couple years of the pick and roll/pop.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

i won't jump on the gun and say we're a playoff team but i will say that i am proud of our hornets. too many times, people jump on a 2-0 start, 3-0 start just to be disappointed. I'll hold on to - "just work hard and compete and i'll be proud" stance regardless of we win or we lose. If at some point i feel like the chemistry is just right, then i'll cheer for a playoff berth. Otherwise, i'll keep my expectations realistic. GEAUX HORNETS

cro_CP3
cro_CP3

I watched the game, man, it was fun to watch, everybody has bought into the system, before the season some y'all said about tanking?! C'mon this team is (maybe I'm rushing it) for the playoffs, fuck we have the TWolves pick so either way we're getting a nice rookie... How can I change my name into cro_JJack? lol

DownUnder
DownUnder

Awesome win, Im a happy chappy ;)

David
David

Kaman/Landry decisions will be interesting to say the least if the hornets keep playing this way. I could see both of those guys taking in the neighborhood of 6-8 million a year, but it will probably take a max contract on our part to keep Gordon. I love that Kaman/Okafor frontcourt. 12 blocks! Block Party!!!

mark
mark

I don't grasp how some preferred the Lakers' trade. David Stern should get a medal for all I'm concerned. Chris Kaman > Lamar Odom or Louis Scola, Eric Gordon = Kevin Martin, and I would much rather Ariza out there playing for us than Lamar Odom with his panties all in an uproar over being traded here.

DownUnder
DownUnder

Agreed Agreed Agreed but more like Kaman>Scola, Landry>Odom (wouldn't have signed if original trade went through, Eric Gordon offense=Kevin Martin offense but Eric Gordon defense>>>Kevin Martin defense the smaller salaries and MIN draft pick are cherries on top

nolahog
nolahog

I don't know if I've ever seen a roster stocked with so many "irrationally confident guys" (Bill Simmons term). Jack clearly has something to prove, and he continues to not only get by, but actually excel relying primarily on swagger and hustle. Vasquez is picking up right where he left off in last year's playoffs. He's doing a great job of slowing down the pace and waiting to pass, even though you can tell he LOVES to score. And how about Vasquez hitting the deck for that loose ball? You could tell the game was over at that point, because we were simply too hungry for them to handle. And I don't care what you guys say: Trevor Ariza, the original irrationally overconfident guy, is MY BOY. He doesn't have the greatest shot selection, but no true IC guy does. Great games by Landry (most heart on the team), Kaman and Belinelli. And Okafor EXPOSED Garnett for the washed up, weak bitch that HE IS with a truly harsh block. So sweet to watch the Celtic trolls in the arena hit the exits early! WE SHOULD CHANGE OUR SLOGAN FROM "I'M IN" TO "IT'S ON!"

Tim
Tim

Simmons is awesome

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

Bill Simmons is an irrationally over-confident guy himself. reading his articles is like watching an episode of "i love the 80s" while listening to the celtics color commentary guys...in other words awful.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

as expected. Hornets played solid D, used their young legs to obliterate a Celtics team that was tired. Great to see the team respond to Monty. HUZZAH!

edbballin504
edbballin504

Great game and win for the Bees. Had a great time in the Arena. Can't wait till Friday to do it again!

Ron
Ron

What, no comments on Trevor's 2-8 shooting or Jason's lame box score line?

DownUnder
DownUnder

better than the 2-11 and 3-13 lines he had in the same minutes last year. I take that as a sign that he's more consious of taking smarter shots. Plus it's only one game, no one was saying 'oh he's a keeper' with he's impressive line from last game.

James Online
James Online

If this team is to ever take it to the next level, Trevor Ariza must go. He is one of the least skilled, highly-paid players in the league. His defense is usually good, but not enough to compenstate for his complete lack of court sense on offense, and of course his clanky jump shots. Always a surprise when any shot from distance goes in. Move Ariza for a different kind of 3. Hornets are hurting big time at the Small Forward position. Team is much more fun to watch than last year's Paul-centric, pick and roll, non-dynamic offense that lacked flow. Chris' unquestioned skills as a passer and shooter weren't enough. Bees are better off without him. He fits the Clippers perfectly, although he looked very average tonight.

cloud520
cloud520

Couldn't disagree more. Ariza plays amazing defense. He is one of the best defenders in the league. I can live with his below average scoring when he shuts down everyone he is defending.

Ian H
Ian H

I'm the first one to admit Ariza's offensive game sucks but he is the key to the perimeter D and as long as he does that Monty will not let him go, simple as that. He only took 8 shots and only one was a poor choice. He is a major piece of the team and he plays good enough defense to be rewarded with 8 shots a game huh? Helps more than hurts, Aminu is far from ready at this point.

usufruct
usufruct

Great win tonight. Felt great to kick the Celtics' @$$e$. I think this team is better overall than any team with cp and dw we've had in the past. Excited about the future. Only thing I disagree with, Joe, was your praise of the crowd. Personally I thought it was one of the lamest crowds I'd ever seen--it was big for a hornets game but very sedate. At the beginning of fourth, the announcer guy tried to get everybody pumped and hardly anyone stood up. I felt like only a few folks were cheering throughout the game. That'll pick up, though, as time rolls on and we keep stacking up wins.

James Grayson
James Grayson

I think because we were up by so much in the fourth people were like, "well we're winning, I probably don't need to stand up." If it was close everyone probably would've stood up.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

I could be totally off on this one. I've only sat where I did tonight for meaningless games last year with dead crowds and preseason games. Seemed a ton louder tonight than other nights. I also felt the heat from the fire in the pregame, and was sitting in a high-trafficked area. There were a number of hecklers behind me in 121 or whatever that were obviously audible to the players on court as well. Add all those things together, and I may have mistaken them for a crowd being good. I appreciate you guys letting me know. Hugo was messing with me, too. Damned flying insects always have loved me...

nolahog
nolahog

There was definitely FEWER Celtics fans cheering this year (or maybe there wasn't, but they had NOTHING to cheer about!), which for me was the nice trade-off for the otherwise engaged but not very rowdy crowd.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I think usufruct is more right than wrong. The booing was inconsistent. the Celtics fans were too audible. This fanbase will learn over the course of time, but, sadly, it will take years. Every team has to deal with loud visitors (Steelers in the Dome is a good example), but you have to know how to counter. It will never be wall-to-wall Hornets fans.

nolahog
nolahog

I couldn't agree more about the crowd. I thought it was really weird. There were a lot of people, but if were beating the Celtics like that last year, the place would have been going crazy. I think the player introduction and the music they picked came off strangely. I thought so much about how weird the crowd was during the game that I'm going to have to put my thoughts in the journal section. HOWEVER. . . I'll take a strangely subdued crowd over the cackling Celtic bandwagoners that we dealt with last year!

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

I agree about the intro music. Last year, it was very, very upbeat and loud. It really got the crowd (well, my section at least) whipped into a frenzy. While I'm all for a more "New Orleans" feel to the games, the jazz band intro was a little to laid back and not upbeat enough.

Eman5805
Eman5805

Helluva game. I panicked a bit when I saw Gordon come out in street clothes. Didn't know where that 20+ points was gonna come from. Sometimes, it's great to have unfounded fears.

Ron
Ron

I too was panicked, and then resigned to a loss. This was a *great* TEAM win. Kaman's 6-15 was worrying, though.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

Question for everyone regarding this season and the future. Ok so lets say the Hornets end up exceeding expectations this year and go 38-28 and get the 6 or 7 seed in the west. With them doing well they don't trade any of their expiring or valuable contracts at the deadline. Fast forward to them being a 6 or 7 seed in the playoffs, 1st round of the playoffs the Hornets beat lets say the Spurs. 2nd round they lose in 7 to the Thunder. Also the Wolves tank and get a top 5 pick in the draft with the Hornets getting the 18th-ish pick. Now here comes the interesting part...if you're Dell Demps what would you do? Do you re-sign Kaman to a 3 years 30 mil and offer a max contract to Gordon (assuming he elevates his game from last season). Also do you try to trade away Ariza, Okafor, etc. and let Landry walk? Basically if our team exceeds expectations this year and is on the bubble of contending for next season would you continue with the rebuilding plan of extricating the team from expiring/long/expensive contracts and getting picks and youth or do you double down and try to contend with what you and have and try to add a piece or two more for 2012-2013 season? I think this could be very interesting bc on one hand we could find ourselves in the same place we were in 08-09' or we could actually be on the verge of being great. Thoughts?

504ever
504ever

Great point! And this scenario crushes the "tear the team down to get better draft picks" scenario. I think Gordon gets maxed and Landry gets a longer term deal averaging around his current salary. I don't see Kaman getting $10m/yr. We already have $12m/year in Okafor and that would be $30m/yr in top 3 bigs. After losing CP3 and DW, the Hornets made an effort to keep their core players from 2010-11. I expect they will try to do the same thing in 2011-12. Then they can work on help at PG, and possibly SF if Aminu doesn't work out, through the draft and free agency in summer of 2012. Maybe even try to get a young C prospect.

MontyForMayor
MontyForMayor

In my humble in opinion we build off what we have. We keep the front court and maybe draft a big in the draft. Kaman and Okafor complement each other perfectly. Landry is a beast. While some may consider this team a band of misfits, these dudes can flat out ball. They play defense exceptionally well, and fight on the offensive end. The pic and roll was great while it lasted, but this is a new era for the Hornets, lead by our fearless leader, Coach Monty Williams, who in my opinion IS our most valuable asset. I trust that Dell is building New Orleans a championship BASKETBALL team. So I hope we keep our core and add on because I've almost become attached to this team already, but I also believe the Dell and Monty want to do there jobs well. Go Hornets! Spread the word NOLA, we have a team of Hornets ready to compete.

mark
mark

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Why? Because I've had a sneaking suspicsion that Coach Williams would contend with this group ever since the L.A. trade died. We knew what Paul was before last year. Last year, Coach Williams led us to the fourth best defense in the league. Where do we stand now? Fourth again. Yeah, we lost mega-star Chris Paul and all that he brings. But we did improve at every other position on the court, without missing a beat defensively and adding a possible lottery pick as dessert! But after the season the freaking bowels of the NBA will stink again as the NOLA Hornets Developmental Team finds itself getting screwed again via having to overpay to develop talent for other markets. That's why I don't want to rush into next offseason's managerial strategy, unless it involves keeping everybody that we want, while gaining two additional draft choices! At least rookies are forced into 3 years of service for fair prices.

DownUnder
DownUnder

Yea I agree, it's certainly too early to worry about the future off-season, todays sports are too heavily focused on the future that we sometimes forget to enjoy the present. Im stoked about the current team and what they have shown and we'll see where the team can go from here.

Ron
Ron

I'd try to talk Kaman and EJ into sub-max contracts, with the promise that we're going to spend that money on more talent for a legitimate championship push.

Jacob
Jacob

Also possibly trade off Jason smith for a second round pick just to clear space for Gustavo anyone to some time if that is an option the hornets want to take

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

Who cares about tanking this season when the TUMBLEwolves will do all the leg work for us and get us that top 5 pick! Everyone's pretty much covered all the good stuff so let me add something else. It's only been 2 games but Aminu looks unimpressive. He hasn't got a ton of minutes but he looks lost...ALOT. He's long and disrupts on D but I hope he'll come around cause he isn't adding much to this team right now.

Babyboi5
Babyboi5

I agree-Aminu looks LOST out there. He might need to spend time in the Developmental League to get him some experience & playing time. Do we have any other SF we can rely on until Aminu is ready to play?

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

What a fun team! They've got energy, and they played hard on both sides of the floor. Who else saw that pass from Squeaky in the garbage minutes? I say hot damn! Some areas for improvement -- --Mek needs to take it hard to the rim. Did anyone else see his air ball J from inside the lane?? --Aminu looked totally lost on both sides of the ball. --At times, our weak side help D was slow to move, and Boston took advantage of it. Other than that, a great, hard-fought team win. Only thing better would have been some chicken!

504ever
504ever

3 point shooting (33% last night) needs to improve, too. Part of that is Eric Gordon not being in the line-up, but take away Belli's 3/4 and we were 1/8 as a team. Ouch! I expect Monte to work on that when he gets a chance.

James Online
James Online

Yes I'm a Marco fan. I also interpret the game from a long history as a player, coach, and fan (sth with GSW for 20 years). This brings to light some "inconvenient truths" that rankle some posters. Eric Gordon is a fine player and a great addition to the Hornets. He's not a particularly good jump shooter, poor as a two guard on 3 pointers, and quiet on and off the court---no leadership skills whatsoever. Importantly, he has a history of being dinged up all the time. We're seeing that already here. Marco is being given more freedom this year and is developing nicely as a key player for the Hornets. Joe's remark in the text at the top here (that Marco played so-so defense against Boston) is absolutely off the mark. He was rarely responsible for opponents' scoring and worked harder than anyone to defend individually as well as doubling effectively and cutting off passing lanes. That's the truth derived from observation. Watch the game.

okithor
okithor

Typically James looks at the world through Marcro* branded spectacles. However, he might have a point on a non CP3 ran offense opening up others games. I have never seen this team make 3 - 4 and sometimes more passes and work as a team on offense. It used to be pick and pop all day long. It will be interesting to see how this new offense develops. Note - I am no Marco fan, but does seem like he improved his game(Driving in, creating, passing) to warrant significant minutes from the bench.

xxNOLAxHORNETSxx
xxNOLAxHORNETSxx

James Online, you said that eric gordon is a poor 3 pt shooter? Your wrong. You only said that because he went 0-6 in the suns game, but that was his first game as a hornet so you cant expect him to come out strong right out of the gate. Young players tipically dont enter the nba as "good shooters". for probably 75% of young guards, they develope their shots in the nba.Remember gordon is only 23 yrs old. For his career, gordon has shot .373% from deep. Can you please tell me how that is poor? It may not be exceptional, but it is above average, especially for such a young player.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Some people look at facts, then draw conclusions. Others draw conclusions, then look for facts. You have to ask yourself: what is going on here, and if they drew the conclusion first, then where did come from. Yeah?

James Online
James Online

Eric Gordon is a poor 3pt shooter, don't count on him. Bees have one legit three pointer shooter and that's Marco. This is going to be a problem as teams figure out how to defend the Bees better going forward.

Hornet
Hornet

"His scoring ability is downright above average." I'm not sure why, but this made me chuckle. Great win tonight. Ultimate team effort. Can't wait to get the full team together to murder the Suns on Friday. GO HORNETS

peronas
peronas

What a great start to the home games, a nice culmination of all the offseason work to both overhaul the roster and bring in the crowds. I can only imagine the atmosphere in the arena. It's definitely a new look team, but it's exciting, even though we are only two games in it seems we have players at every position that are invested in the system and passionate about being out there. Regardless of how the games are going that's going to be fun to watch.

Ian H.
Ian H.

I like both Vasquez and Kaman they bring needed size mixed with skill. When they went big with Mek and Kaman they were lethal than later when Monty with went Vasquez and JJack they were able to have 2 ballhandlers while not sacrificing defense. Ariza was efficient and played great D while taking "good" shots all game. They will be competitive every night with a good blend of talent, size, and skill. On side note Garnett is finished, no lift just all bark no bite now.