The Hornets beat the Hawks

A great couple hours of entertainment at the Hive tonight. The Hornets never really turned it into a blowout against the visiting Atlanta Hawks, but we seemed to be in control most of game and cruised to a nice win. There were plenty of funky highlights to keep the crowd buzzing, and then everyone about lost their minds with the hilarity that went down during a lengthy stoppage in the fourth quarter.

Josh Childress tries to plant one on Tyson Chandler

Let's dive into the game notes…

  • Final score was 116-101. Linkage: recap | box score | standings
  • Some fine numbers for the stat-junkies after this one. Chris Paul had himself 23 points and 18 assists; Peja Stojakovic knocked in seven triples en route to a 29-point, 9-rebound performance; Tyson Chandler scored 14, grabbed 16 and swatted 2; and Jannero Pargo bounced back from a pair of poor showings with a 22-point outing.
  • But none of those guys were really the story tonight. Julian Wright done stole the show. Byron Scott threw the rookie out there in the first quarter, as advised by the naked Indian that visited him in a dream last night. Sound advice, because JuJu was an insane bundle of energy against the Hawks.

    Rook really got it going midway through the second quarter, when he cut backdoor and rammed home a reverse oop from CP. Next trip, he drops the first three-pointer of his NBA career, then steps in and draws a charge on Mike Bibby twenty seconds later.

    Fast forward to the fourth, and there's JuJu playing like a beast around the basket. Power dribbles, elbows flared, getting after every loose ball. He was playing with some mighty big cojones out there. Confidence soaring, makes all the difference. Keep it going, kid.

  • No David West (ankle) or Bonzi Wells (Achilles) for this one. No Birdman either, which was a little odd since we could have made West inactive and had Andersen suit up.

    Anyways, all three of those dudes sat at the end of the bench in their finest threads. Yes, even Bonzi. I wonder who took him clothes shopping. Probably not Ryan Bowen.

  • Speaking of Bowen, he got the starting nod in place of West, and didn't do too bad out there. In 34 minutes of action, he had 8 points, 4 rebounds and approximately 96 of those things that don't show up in the box score. With an effort like that, he can wear whatever shirt he damn well pleases.
  • Hilton Armstrong: DNP-CD.
  • So they had that stoppage midway through the fourth quarter to fix the net or something on one of the baskets. It may have caught fire because of Peja's shooting, I'm not sure. That break must have lasted about ten minutes, so they pulled out all the stops to keep folks entertained. First they went to the ever-popular Dance Cam, which was eventually turned on the players. Julian Wright stepped off the bench and gave it loads to Jump On It. Yeah, you know it.

    Next up came the Kiss Cam, where they put couples on the big screen and they do the kissing thing. That eventually turned to Joe Johnson, and he was having none of it. Then it caught Tyson Chandler and Josh Childress beside each other at the scorer's table. They looked up at the screen and exchanged uncomfortable glances before Childress stuck his tongue out and leaned in for the smacker. Que Tyson's third rejection of the night.

    The crowd was busting a gut laughing at all that. Good times.

  • Play of the game: 5:13 left in the fourth, and Jannero Pargo sends up a misguided triple. No worries, Julian Wright will just tidy that son-bitch up by means of a vicious put-back jam. So nasty that they show the replay three times on the big screen, the crowd's "oohhh's" growing louder with each new look.
  • Attendance was announced as 12,430. A very very loud and enthusiastic crowd. Everyone was having a blast. FYI, our average attendance since December 1st now stands at 13,689.
  • Those Hawks don't run many plays or anything. They just look to be throwing it around, try and create a mismatch, see what happens. It must hurt to be a Hawks fan and see Chris Paul killing your team out there. He could be running things in the ATL, but now they've got Mike Bibby's trigger-happy knee brace instead.
  • I thought our ball movement tonight was exceptional. I guess it always looks better against a team like Atlanta, right? Still, guys were sharing the rock, making the extra pass, getting wide open looks. I'm not sure if that's a result of having West out of the lineup. Not to belittle his contribution or anything, but we do end up pounding it inside a lot more when he's on the floor, and the offense can become stagnant like that. Once again though, we were playing the Hawks, so best not read into anything too much.
  • The Hornets definitely came to work with the passion-purpose-pride stuff tonight. Good hustle and energy throughout the game. Did anyone else see Tyson almost crush the ball between his hands in frustration after he couldn't get a couple tips to go at the end of the third quarter? We were leading by 15 points, but he really wanted it to be two more. Dude was breathing fire.
  • Hornets Hype wraps it up.

An inescapable buzz outside the Arena after that game. I'm sure you could have lost your wallet on the way in, got dumped by your girlfriend at halftime, fell down the stairs on the way out, and still have managed to walk away loving life. The night was that good.

Moving on, we've got the New Jersey Nets at the Arena on Friday, before we start a mighty tough four-game stretch against the Rockets, Spurs, Lakers and Pistons. Everybody better eat their vegetables.

[UPDATE] I forgot to mention the players doing some ball tricks during that lengthy timeout against the Hawks. YouTube video below. Still no sign of JuJu's dunk on there…

Also added some more videos to our YouTube group today. Check 'em out.

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