The Hornets beat the Nets

Lots of good things to take from last night's win over the visiting New Jersey Nets. The Hornets did kinda sleepwalk through the first half and should have turned the game into a complete blowout, but I'll choose to focus on the positive today. It is the weekend after all.

Julian Wright doing it well against Vince Carter

Notes, from my notebook to your brain…

  • Final score was 107-96. Linkage: recap | box score | standings
  • Julian Wright busted out with his second consecutive big game. The numbers: 29 minutes, 8-of-9 from the field, 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist and not a single turnover. The kid could do no wrong out there.

    You know what play of his impressed me the most last night? No, not any of his three alley-oops, not his three-pointer in the fourth quarter, or that left hand hook shot in the second. It wasn't even his superb, stay-on-your-feet defense against Vince Carter. No, what I liked most was that wide-open 21-footer he drained near the end of the third quarter. He caught the ball beyond the three point line, saw that the closest defender to him was in the paint, calmly took one dribble in and rose up for the J. Two months ago, he would have tried to take it all the way to the bucket and got called for a charge. Right now he's making much better decisions out there and he seems to have a lot more confidence in his jump shot. Great to see.

  • Chris Paul demolished Devin Harris. 25 points, 16 assists, 3 steals, 3 boards, 1 turnover. He was getting after this one in the first quarter, scoring 8 early points, then just throwing out random nuggets of greatness the rest of the way. He was loving him some ballfakes last night, dislocating defenders on numerous drives to the hoop. I was fascinated.
  • Tyson Chandler came up big with 19 points and 10 boards. He even hit 7-of-8 free throws, which gave Kenny Gattison much contentment.
  • Nets coach Lawrence Frank elected to start fouling the shit out of us and putting guys on the free-throw line with three minutes left and New Jersey down by 9. We made 11-of-12 down the stretch to seal it. Overall we were 28-of-33 from the line, while the Nets were 6-of-7. Hmm.
  • That tactic by Frank pretty much killed any chance we had of seeing Chris Andersen out there. He was dressed to play, ready to go. I'm sure the crowd would have gone apeshit if the Birdman got in the game, but it's probably best for Hilton Armstrong's mental health that it didn't happen. Hilton didn't get to play again last night, and it would have been a gigantic kick in the nuts if Byron had put Andersen in there ahead of him.
  • As noted by Mikey: Chris Andersen comes out during second half warm-ups and shags rebounds for his teammates. He doesn't even attempt a shot.
  • Life is good when the Arena sells out for a game against the New Jersey Nets. 17,225 people in attendance last night, every one of them a fine contributor to society. The average is now at 13,830 for the the 25 home games since December 1st. Of course, the attendance goal may not be such a big deal anymore.
  • David West injured. David West not on bench. David West somewhere else.
  • Peja Stojakovic had a rough shooting night, dropping just 5-of-14 for 15 points. Oh well. I like how he seems to be a little more aggressive offensively the last couple of weeks, much more willing to take defenders off the dribble when they smother him.
  • Nice ball movement again in this one, although it didn't seem to translate into a bunch of assists for us. The defense was nice, too. Not always perfect, but we were definitely playing as a team on both ends of the floor. I love it when, say, Chris Paul comes over to double team somebody with Jannero Pargo, then when the ball swings back, Pargo is the guy who rushes back to cover the open man. It's like an economy of defensive movement. Works great when the communication is there.
  • At the bench as the final seconds fell off the game clock, Mike James and Rasual Butler got into some shadow boxing. Put those two guys in a ring for reals, and all my money would be on MJ.

See you next year, New Jersey. Next up we've got those streaking Houston Rockets tonight in Texas. I would very much like if we stopped that streak like a brick wall stops an egg. Ryan posted a great Q&A with The Dream Shake earlier today, so check that out for some insight on the Rocks.

Back later with the Gameday thread.

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