New Orleans Hornets Beat the Bucks

Published: October 27, 2010

The New Orleans Hornets started off their 2010-2011 season hot, beating the Bucks 95-91 in a thriller to preserve their (and my) undefeated season. It was an exciting night for everyone in attendance as the energy level was high.

First Quarter
The Hornets came out hot right off the bat. Fueled by their starting group, which was playing together for the first time since the initial preseason game, the Hornets held a lead of 24-15 when Jason Smith and Jerryd Bayless joined Belinelli, Ariza, and Mbenga on the floor. Paul came out looking to distribute early and often, leading the team with

It looks as though Mbenga will start the season off as the first big man off the bench for the Hornets, but he struggled early on both ends of the floor and was quickly replaced by Smith, with Pops Mensa-Bonsu coming in at power forward.

As expected the Hornets second unit struggled on the defensive end early on. they settled for mid range and long two pointers instead of getting the ball inside. Peja Stojakovic struggled early on. He forced up tough shots when there were passes to be made and generally seemed out of rhythm with the rest of the team.

Jerryd Bayless made an early impact, hitting a falling shot after being fouled and then making the free throw for the Hornets first “and one” of the season. It appears that he will be coming on ahead of Marcus Thornton for the time being.

Second Quarter

Marcus Thornton! Yessssss

He came into the game and scored right off the bat, immediately making those in attendance forget about his poor preseason. In what might be a sign of things to come, he saw some time with Jerryd Bayless and Chris Paul, making for an exciting three guard lineup. Four points on three shots in only four minutes is exactly what the Hornets need from Buckets. He came up limping after a shot, and although he remained on the court it’s something to note since he was listed as probable coming in.

The Hornets kept the ball moving throughout the second quarter, keeping Paul involved but not to a fault. The new offensive sets require a lot more motion by the players, and are designed to create open looks on the outside and open lanes for cuts inside. It worked, and Hornets found themselves with an offense resembling that of a real NBA team, unlike the stagnant offense of Byron Scott.

Third Quarter

After starting the quarter rather slowly, the Hornets picked it up in the closing minutes, ending on a 11-0 run, capped by a buzzer beating three point shot by CP3, which electrified the crowd

Fourth Quarter

The Hornets started off with a Jerryd Bayless, Buckets, and Willie Green in the back court, a possible sign of things to come considering how much Monty toyed with a three-guard lineup. Marcus was aggressive right from the start, hitting a jump shot and playing tight defense. On the way back up the court, Bayless was decked, and stayed on the floor for a few seconds before coming out of the game holding his head. The injury is not expected to cause him to miss any time.

With 9:24 to go, David West, who was the primary scorer for the Hornets at the time, committed his fifth foul and was forced to take a seat in favor of Jason Smith, who played fairly well.

While leading by 7 with under 6 minutes to go, Trevor Ariza missed a fewwide open three point attempts from the corner which would have made it a 10 point game. He just wanted to keep it close for the fans. The next time he got the ball in the corner, with the score closer, he didn’t hesitate, and instead drove for a thunderous, crowd-pleasing dunk.

Heading into the final three minutes, the Hornets led 90-86, and for the first time it was clear who Monty would begin the season closing games with- Chris Paul, Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza, David West, and Emeka Okafor. They didn’t disappoint and by the time the final buzzer sounded, the Hornets had secured their first victory of the 2010-2011 NBA season.

Player notes

Chris Paul- He was all over the place today, being active on the boards and on defense, distributing better than even Hornets fans remember, and scoring efficiently whenever he chose to do so, and taking control when it mattered. Although he didn’t record even a single steal, but don’t be fooled. Chris Paul is back. He finished with 17 points on 11 shots, 16 assists, 4 rebounds and only a single turnover. Deron who?

Marco Belinelli- I picked him to be the most improved player this year, and he didn’t disappoint. Aside from a few longer than necessary three point attempts, he was everything Hornets fans hoped he would be. Timely rebounds, good ball handling, and ooh that shot! 6-15 ain’t bad when it nets you 18 points. It’s becoming clear why Monty was so comfortable giving him the starting role.

Trevor Ariza- He needs to work on his wide open three pointer. Other than that, he looked good on defense and in the passing lanes, picking up four steals, including the game clincher with 5.7 seconds left in the game. Huge play for the newBEE.

Marcus Thornton- Thornton was battling a sore Achilles, but played 11 minutes, scoring 8 points on 6 shots and playing solid, if unspectacular defense. It appears that Monty saying defense whenever Thornton’s name is mentioned is starting to make an impact.

David West- He acted quite a bit like David West, working great with Paul on the pick and roll, knocking down open jumpers and converting inside. It’s nice to see him playing so well. 22 points on 14 shots, to go with 7 rebounds. the fouls were a concern, but performances like this are welcome anytime.

Great game! Nuggets on Friday, videos to follow.

Fun fact of the day- This Saturday will be the fifth of the month. This month is the first time in 823 years in which a month has had 5 Fridays and 5 Saturdays. Use that info as you will…

I am now undefeated on the season. In your face, Ryan. We will be keeping track of which writer does the best, and the winner will have eternal glory. I don’t know that Michael has ever won a game…

Update from postgame-

  • Seven Hornets make their debut in a New Orleans uniform.
  • Chris Paul’s 16 assists were 3 shy of the NBA season opening record held by John Stockton.
  • Official attendance was only 15,039. A shame, seeing as how good the game was.
  • Saints kicker Garret Hartley was in the building.
  • Andrew Bogut- “Chris Paul is so good at holding the ball and not giving it up until the last second.”
  • Scott Skiles- “Chris Paul did a very good job taking control of most of the game, but he’s a great player and that’s what great players do. We were sluggish tonight and didn’t play with a lot of energy. The Hornets played with more energy and they deserve to win this game.”

Post game press conference with Monty Williams-


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