Hornets get by pesky Cleveland team to move to 10-1

Published: November 19, 2010

Think of your favorite cop or detective movie, just pick one. Invariably something massive happens- it might be a big drug deal gone wrong, the President’s son gets kidnapped, or Mike Lowry’s ex-girlfriend gets killed. Whatever it is, you know that the characters in the film are experiencing a truly epic day at work. They get the bad guy, nearly get killed, destroy their car, and crawl back home. But have you ever stopped to think what that next day at work would be like for those guys? I mean, imagine that you just took down the nation’s biggest drug cartel and the next day you are called do a domestic dispute where the husband is complaining that his wife threw a blender at him because she thinks he is sleeping with her best friend’s sisters cousin.

Point is, not every day at work is going to be big budget film worthy- some days you just have to go through the motions and do the job you are paid to do. The Cavs came to town and I can understand why the guys didn’t play with the same fire that they had against Miami (or Dallas and San Antonio for that matter). They know this game won’t lead SportsCenter tonight, but a win is a win is a win. And the Hornets did what good teams do- they beat a team they are supposed to beat on a night where admittedly they didn’t play their best basketball.

David West led the Hornets with 34 points as New Orleans put Cleveland away 108- 101.(Box score) Cleveland actually held the lead for a large portion of the first half, going up by as many as five a couple of different times. The Hornets went on an 18-2 over the final 5:07 of the 2nd quarter to take a 62-43 lead into halftime. After that, the Cavaliers never really threatened again.

The run was fueled primarily by Marco Belinelli who scored 12 of the 18 points, all courtesy of the three point shot in some form or fashion. He sunk 3 out of 4 money balls in that span and used a pump fake to get himself to the free throw line for three shots on the second to last possession of the quarter. Meanwhile, Julian Wright has scored a TOTAL of 13 points on 5 of 18 shooting over the last 4 games for the Raptors (and had a DNP tonight against Houston). Safe to say that Dell Demps has committed The Robbery .

Cleveland started off the 2nd half with an 8-0 run, but CP3 quickly put a stop to that as he scored 5 points in a 20 second span to extend the lead. They also put together a little run to cut the lead to 4 with 1:04 left, but David West provided the dagger as the officials ignored Floppyjao’s antics (Floppyjao trademarked and patented by JCS). The remainder of the game was a free throw shooting contest, won by New Orleans.

Other Notes:

* Hornets actually gave up a lot of offensive rebounds (14) when you consider how bad the Cavs have been this year statistically on the boards. I noticed that at least 4 times Okafor jumped a second too early and it cost him a rebound. Also, he has a hard time tracking the ball when it comes off the rim hard. No doubt, though, the effort was there. Just a matter of timing.

* Ariza had a great hustle play in the third quarter that got the crowd pumped, but for most of the night he was non-existent. Watching this team, you see why Belinelli gets more shots per game than Ariza- the amount of movement off the ball is a night and day difference. Belinelli is constantly moving and working while Ariza is content to just wait for an opportunity to come to him.

* People say the Hornets don’t have a low-post threat in the classical sense, but West can get his down low against most power forwards in the league. There are 3 or 4 guys with the size/strength/skill combo to shut him down, but on most nights he can get buckets down low.

* Noticeable difference in the Hornets bench tonight. Against good teams they are up and  cheering on nearly every play. Tonight, they didn’t feel it was necessary.

* Hornets showing TV commercials during breaks- I don’t know how I feel about that. Just doesn’t feel right for some reason. But hey, if they use the money for a big man, they can play those corny Old Navy commercials for all I care.

* Old people seem to win every contest due to the fact that they are old and a novelty. People like to see older folks dance or kiss or generally act a fool It’s not fair! Should be same set of rules for everyone, no matter what the age!

* Willie Green loves to pull up at the free throw line and teams seem willing to let him get to that spot. He’s not as effective from the wings and is really inconsistent in the corner. Free throw middle is his sweet spot.

* Would love to see Ryan Hollins play with Chris Paul. Poor man’s Tyson Chandler who can’t score outside of three feet but would catch 2-3 lobs a game if he was playing with CP3.

* Q-Pon looks like he has put on 5-6 pounds of solid muscle since Summer League and it should help him as the season wears on. Willie Green always seems to be in his ear and Q-Pon can benefit from his knowledge, especially on the defensive end.

* Joe G. told me last night that he was contemplating writing an article that would not be very flattering to Jerryd Bayless.  I think JB got wind of that news (perhaps from one of the girls at Rick’s Cabaret) and responded with one of his best games so far this season.

* David West got clobbered on two different plays over a course of three minutes. One was a flagrant 1, the other a flagrant 2, and after the second one Monty called a timeout. After what he said in the pre-game before Dallas I have no doubt that he had advice for the team on what to do if someone on Cleveland took the ball to the bucket hard.

* You see Marco Belinelli and Willie Green on the depth chart and you aren’t blown away but combined I think they give the Hornets a top 12 NBA shooting guard. How many guys would truly be an upgrade over this duo? Would Jason Richardson? James Harden? Even Iggy or Kevin Martin? Fact is that if the Hornets don’t seriously contend this year, it won’t be because of the two guard position. Upgrading the backup center position is priority #1. Jason Smith is a good 4th big, so the Hornets need a legit backup big to round out their rotation.

* Hornets play 5 of their next 6 on the road- all against Western Conference opponents before coming home to some easy games against NY, Charlotte, and Detroit. Overall, December should be kind to the Hornets schedule wise, so finishing off November strong will have the Hornets sitting pretty come 2011.

*Hornets gave up 100 points for first time this season, primarily because they let Cleveland get 34 foul shots, and they knocked down 32 of them.


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