The Hornets beat the Bucks. Six and Oh, baby!

Published: November 6, 2010

The vaunted Bucks defense showed up tonight and gave the Hornets fits.  Unfortunately for the Bucks, the Hornets defense was also present and the game turned slugfest through the last half of it.  Very few easy baskets.  Rare open shots.  In the end, the Hornets prevailed, pounding out an 87-81 win.(Box Score)

Early on, the Hornets did come out pretty flat, with everyone but Okafor and Paul looking rather slow and low energy.  They were hitting enough jumpers to stay in it, but there was little fight in them.  I think the Bucks, however, woke the Hornets up with their physical tactics.  I saw four different Hornets get outright smacked in the face during fouls, and West took no less than three shots to the head.  By the second quarter, the Hornets were at full intensity.

Chris Paul

In the fourth, the Bucks did unleash one very effective weapon by switching forward Luc Mbah A Moute onto Chris Paul.  His length, speed and athleticism suddenly made Paul’s job much harder, forcing him into rushed shots and closing off several passing lanes.  That, of course, brought out the demon.  Paul exploded off a pick, hesitated, then darted towards the baseline, drilling a floater over the lunging Mbah A Moute and Bogut to seal the game.  Afterwards, he stepped over a sprawled Mbah A Moute and looked down on him with a contemptuous sneer, snapping his fingers.

Paul is simply murderous, and I have trouble expressing just how much I love getting to watch him remind the rest of the league of that fact.  Paul finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a trio of turnovers.  Oh, and he only played 33 minutes.  The team is winning with Paul getting rest.  Sheesh.

David West

The Hornets forward continues to revitalize himself, working hard on both ends.  His fluffy-soft touch was in full effect tonight, and he was determined to score from the post instead of midrange, which made him downright deadly.  Even with the Bucks showing some effective defense, he either went to the hoop or hit short fades. His workhorse attack through the middle two periods kept the Hornets in it through some dry spells.  25 points on 12 shots.  7 FTA, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks  2 turnovers and 2 fouls.  Stuffing the stat sheet.

Emeka Okafor

The big man in the center once again showed an effective game, making Bogut work for everything, altering shots on penetration, and muscling people around all game long.  His statline was mediocre looking, but his defensive presence carried this team for stretches, and his scoring was extremely efficient.  He also continues to show that improved free throw shooting form Michael McNamara mentioned earlier in the season.  11 points on 5 shots.  5-5 from the line. 7 rebounds, 2 blocks.

Other Observations

  • Monty Williams has a bit of a Sadist in him.  He gave Pondexter his first NBA minutes tonight – by throwing him into the fire and having him guard Corey Maggette, one of the most accomplished free throw-drawing wings in the game.  Pondexter got caught by him on his first play of the game, but after that he did fine, including drilled his one shot – a three in the corner.  Welcome to the NBA, Q-Pon.
  • Pondexter’s minutes came at the expense of Marcus Thornton, who only got 5 minutes in the second half after Bayless proved to be so useless that Monty opted for Thornton.  Sadly, Buckets didn’t do anything really either.  He and Willie don’t play that well off one another, and though he was open a couple times, he didn’t get the ball.  Still, the short minutes does lend a lot of credence to the rumors I’ve been hearing from several journalistic sources that Thornton is privately being shopped with Stojakovic in the hopes of landing another impact player at the trade deadline.
  • Jason Smith was again the most effective reserve out there.  I just loved his  hustle play at the end of the quarter to steal the ball from Bogut as he played at being a point guard.  When Smith capped it by hitting West for a layup as he fell out of bounds, there wasn’t any way not to smile.  Smith’s energy is so high he had two other occasions he beat the Bucks to a rebound simply by putting out way more effort than anyone else on the floor.  He did have a couple of those rushed, sideways jumpers I whined about earlier in the season which kept his scoring from being that efficient, but his boardwork and hustle made his minutes effective.
  • It seemed the Hornets were treating Boykins with a bit of contempt out there.  It cost them some stupid turnovers and points.  Just because he’s small doesn’t mean he’s useless guys.
  • Cookies outside shot was golden this game.  He helped push the lead back out every time the Bucks threatened.
  • On the other hand, both Cookies and Ariza were disasters when they put the ball on the floor.  Head down and out of control.  I winced several times each.
  • Willie Green has earned Monty’s trust.  Tonight, he didn’t deserve it.  He had some nice defensive moments, but he had some downright brutal offensive ones, with forced drives, bad turnovers, and some really forced shots.  9 shots for 3 points.  3 assists, 2 turnovers, and a pair of rebounds.  He just couldn’t get anything going against a tough Milwaukee second unit.
  • He, of course, did better than Jerryd Bayless, whose 0-1 shooting and 4 turnovers left me begging for Monty to pull him.  His defense is good, but that’s too brutal a line to overcome.

Six Wins.  Zero Losses.  I’m having trouble containing my glee.

Podcast coming.  What would you like to hear us talk about?  Make suggestions in the comments.


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