Hornets Beat the Miami Heat to Remain UnBEEfeated

Published: November 5, 2010

The New Orleans Hornets beat the Miami Heat 96-93 in an dunk filled affair. Fans picked a great night for the first sellout of the season, and were treated to quite a show, most notably by big men Emeka Okafor and Jason Smith. The duo undoubtedly left Heat fans concerned about their front court.

Fueled by Chris Paul (9 assists in the first quarter, 19 overall), the Hornets jumped out to a 9-2 lead and seemed primed for a stomping against any other opponent. There were alley oops reminiscent of the CCC, thunderous dunks by Jason Smith (among others), and crowd pleasing Trevor Ariza treys, but what really got fans most excited came later. The Hornets led by double digits for much of the first half, and had the Miami regulars looking frustrated.

The Heat would predictably come back, but it was not until 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter that they took their first lead of the night. LeBron calmly nailed two free throws, and like that the Hornets were behind for the first time. It was obviously Chris Paul time after that. With the hornets up one with 15 seconds left, he found Trevor Ariza in the corner for an open three pointer. Boom. Game, set, match, except not…

Chris Bosh (yes, Chris Bosh) knocked down a three pointer with 7.5 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead back down to one. West would get fouled and go to the line, calmly nailing both, to leave the Heat with 7 seconds left to make up a three point difference.

The last Heat shot (which temporarily answers the question of who takes the big shot) went to Eddie House after Wade passed it up. It clanked off the rim to secure the best start in Hornets franchise history. WHOOOOOOO!

David West got off to a slow start (2 points in the first half), but bounced back to finish with 15 points on 12 shots to go with 7 rebounds. In the third quarter, when shorts weren’t falling for the rest of the Hornets, West took it upon himself to make buckets and keep the lead in tact. His two free throws with seven seconds left were huge, as was the play when he tangled with a loose ball with Dwayne Wade under the basket, leading to the Hornets getting possession.

Ultimately, his efforts were overshadowed by the Hornets two other big men. Jason Smith was blowing up the Daily Dime Chat, getting compared to Superman, Michael Jordan, and Chris Paul. The line of the night was “Jason Smith doesn’t do push ups, he does Earth downs.” That really says it all.

Fine, I’ll add some more. He finished with 12 points on 10 shots, to go with 6 rebounds and 2 steals, but make no mistake about his impact. He was absolutely huge in the second quarter, and finished the game a team best +19 in 25 minutes.

Emeka Okafor was an complete and utter beast tonight. He took full advantage of his match up against Joel Anthony and whoever else the Heat threw at him, reminding fans that he’s a damn good center. Offensively he was at his best (possibly ever), going 12-12 in the paint, with his lone miss of the night coming on a chuck with 1 second left on the shot clock. 26 points on 13 shots is pretty fantastic. He added 13 huge rebounds and a block, taking my player of the game award in the process.

Trevor Ariza did exactly what the Hornets needed, playing solid defense on Bron-Bron and getting easy transition baskets. The three pointers were a nice touch, especially the last dagger.

What really won this game for the Hornets defensively was how they handled guys that aren’t part of a “big three”. The Hornets let the big names get theirs, but limited the rest of the Heat to only 30 points. Their rotations were infinitely better than anything we have seen in previous years.

Trevor Ariza played solid, but unspectacular defense on LeBron, holding him to 20 points on 16 shots. He added ten assists to go along with his three turnovers. LeBron is going to get his, but it wasn’t easy for him tonight, and that’s the best you can hope for.

Before I forget- Chris Paul EMBARRASSED (worthy of all alterations to the text) James Jones with 2:08 to go in the fourth quarter. After LeBron lost Paul, Jones tried and failed miserably to pick him up. So dirty. So sick. So CP3. They called a charge on Paul, gave him a technical, and waved off the basket, but that was nonsense. It was dirty and clean at the same time.

Again Monty started the fourth quarter without Paul or West on the floor, and again the bench faltered. Where Byron would have pulled the plug, Monty left them in there and got his stars some rest for the closing minutes. The majority bench unit had played Miami to a tie until Paul checked back in.

Monty almost made his first huge mistake as a head coach. Late in the fourth quarter, he barely avoided taking a penalty for having too many guys on the floor.

This game will make the league take note of what has so far been an incredible Hornets team. I only had to field about 3 Chris Paul trade questions on the Daily Dime, and from now on it will be as easy as saying “Who dat undefeated? It’s not NY, Orlando, or Miami, is it?”

All we do is win, win, win no matter what!

Monty Williams post game quotes-

“It is what it is. Don’t want to make light of that but at the same time it;s nice to be part of a group who plays hard every night, Different guys are stepping up. I don’t want to sit here and babble about something that doesn’t mean anything, but I know we are a together group. The start is great, but we are going to win a lot of games if we defend like that.”

“People have said a lot of things about Emeka and I see him every day. He’s there (at the gym) an hour and a half before and an hour and a half after working on his game, working on his body. It doesn’t hurt playing with Chris. he had a big game. He’s had big games this season, but tonight was huge. Although he didn’t block shots, he was altering shots at the basket and that means a lot for our defense. You have to take him into account now. He’s scoring and rebounding the ball and that’s been big for us.”

“We’re a help team, I thought we did a good job of cutting LeBron off late, and then when a guy helped we had a guy help him. We had to help the helper and we made big rebounds at the end of the game.”

“This thing is getting whiter” -referring to his goatee.

“Over the long haul I’m going to get better at it, and it certainly helps to have the guys we do in the locker room”- on his coaching

“My focus has already shifted to Milwaukee.”

“I want the guys to celebrate, but once we land we have to shift our thought process”

Post game notes

  • Paul’s nine first quarter assists tied the NBA season high
  • In the last two games the Heat gave up 16 assists to New Jersey, and 14 to Minnesota. Tonight they gave up 19… to Chris Paul. That alone would have broken the record for most assists against the Heat by a team. The hornets had 26 assists total.
  • The Hornets have still not allowed any opponents to score over 100 points this season.
  • Paul added 5 steals, his season high.

Eric Spoelstra Quotes

“As is the case usually in the NBA, they were the more desperate team to start the game. They played with more energy, more passion. They jumped out to the lead. We couldn’t overcome it.”

“At the end of the game, however, we got there; it was a struggle to get to that point to play with a consistent energy, particularly on the defensive end. We got the lead, 90-89, and that’s the only tihng that matters. But at that point, we weren’t able to hold on.”

On CP3- “We have to give him credit. That’s what you’re dealing with. With great players, you’re going to get over a handful of possessions where he just breaks you down. Even when we’re prepared, it will be unscripted. With his creativity, quickness, and ball handling, that’s what happens: it will break you down and you simply have to make plays.”

On his players- “I’m not rating them. We had an opportunity, 90-89, to close out the game and we didn’t.”

On that note, I think that I’m going to go celebrate. Have an unBEElievable night, everyone.

ApoloBEES for the title of this post.


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