The Hornets beat the Blazers

Published: January 24, 2008


That one was fun to watch. The Hornets and Blazers are both playing some great basketball this season and this match-up didn't disappoint. Well, maybe it disappointed Blazer fans, but everyone else went home happy.

It's just like a dream I had

Gonna switch it up a little again with this recap. Instead of pouring out the game-flow notes, I'll just stick to the bullets and throw out a bunch of random thoughts on this one…

  • First and foremost, I gotta commend the play of Jannero Pargo. He had played pretty damn great in our previous five wins, but he was just on another level tonight. He finished with 24 points in 24 minutes, shooting 10-of-18 from the field. He also dished out five assists for the hell of it. He was especially fantastic in the second quarter, when he racked up 15 points and 3 assists. For a while there he just could not miss. There was a stretch where he and Ryan Bowen had it going and they looked like Chris Paul and David West out there.
  • If it didn't frustrate my team so much, Portland's match-up zone would be a joy to watch. They communicate, help, rotate and recover so well in that thing. We handled it better tonight than we did back in mid-December, mostly because we were hitting the tough jumpers and getting some offensive rebounds in there.
  • The Hornets' defense was also nice and intense tonight. They covered well for one another on the rotations, and the Blazers got very few open looks. We also did a great job of limiting their fastbreak. Methinks Brandon Roy's jam over Bowen might have been their only successful break tonight.
  • Speaking of Roy, I thought we did a nice job containing him. Paul, Pargo, Rasual Butler and Morris Peterson all took turns guarding him, and nobody gave him anything for free. When CP had the assignment in the fourth quarter, the Blazers tried to post up Roy against him, but we played solid help so they couldn't exploit that.
  • Kudos to David West for keeping us alive in the first quarter, when he scored 16 of our 20 points. He got his scores a billion different ways, too. He only scored six points in the final three periods, but credit Portland for limiting his looks.
  • The halftime show tonight was this big game of "Simon Says" with a bunch of kids. Some dude named Steve Max was running it. Might sound lame, but trust me, it was awesome. The crowd really got into it, especially when Stevie Max said it was great to be coming to New Orleans instead of Oklahoma City. Probably the best halftime show I've seen at the Arena this season.
  • Peja finished with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, half of those points coming in the final 75 seconds. I figure the Blazers did a good job on him tonight, barely giving him space to squeeze up a shot for most of the game. When teams play Peja like that, methinks he gets a little frustrated and has a tendency to start chucking shots early in the shot clock, before the defense can smother him. He did that a couple times in the third quarter tonight.
  • The Blazers also did a good job on Chris Paul tonight. That is, until it came to crunch time. Chris had three clutch buckets late in the third quarter that really helped us secure the win. He had trouble getting in the lane for most of the evening, with Portland doing a good job clogging up the paint and preventing CP from throwing those lob passes off the pick and roll. In the end though, Chris knew what he had to do and Steve Blake wasn't going to stop him.
  • Play of the game might have been that early alley-oop between CP and Tyson. The big guy really had to stretch to send that one home, and he got fouled on the play, too. Bowen's jam off a fastbreak feed from Pargo also got the crowd into it.
  • Speaking of the crowd, the attendance for tonight's game was listed as 11,006. The atmosphere was great as usual, but I'm disappointed with that number, especially with the ticket promotions and I thought there was some buzz about this match-up. I really can't wait for All-Star weekend to get here and wake this city up.
  • While we were busy handling the Blazers tonight, our roomies atop the Western Conference standings, the Phoenix Suns, were busy losing in Minnesota. That means we're now sweet percentage points ahead of Phoenix in the standings. Take a bow, Hornets.

That's about all I've got. Worth noting that this game was number 41 on the season, meaning we're halfway through. It was also my first game as a Hornets season ticket holder, after I bit the bullet and committed to a package yesterday. Aunt Sally might have to wait a while longer for her operation, but at least Section 305 just got a whole lot funkier.

Next up we've got the LA Clippers at the Arena on Saturday. We'll need to stay focused and grab that win, because on Saturday our guys are in San Antonio to battle those craft Spurs. I must say though, I'm liking our chances against everybody these days.

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