He’s Back: Thornton Fuels Hornets Comeback Victory

Published: December 15, 2010

It was a tale of two halves and one player, as Marcus Thornton and the Hornets  came back from 23 down to emerge victoriously in what may be yet another turning point in their season. It was a thrilling 94-91 victory for everyone in attendance (13,325).

What’s wrong with the Hornets? What happened to that group who were the last undefeated team in the NBA? Questions like that, and many more were racing furiously though the head of every Hornets fan after a first half that saw the Sacramento Kings drop 57 points, and the Hornets score only 41. Ariza, Paul, West, and Belinelli combined to go 3/18 in the first half. They were outscored by Tyreke Evans, who only took only 10 shots total. Thankfully Okafor’s offense was on point; otherwise the hole may have been insurmountable.

About that second half…

West got T-ed up within 30 seconds for arguing a call. I can’t blame him. The lead would swell to 20 by the time the time Paul decided to make his first field goal, a pretty little jumper from the top of the key. He went for the same shot the next possession, but wasn’t successful. It was one of those nights where you could tell he wasn’t feeling his shot. Maybe he had his mind on the release of his new shoe, the CP3 IV (details to come).

Marcus Thornton

Want to know why the Hornets came back? Marcus Thornton. HE IS WHO WE THOUGHT HE WAS. Today Monty Williams learned just what he brings to the table on both ends of the floor and in the stands. His defense was awesome tonight. Awesome.I felt so emotional seeing him perform well again. It reminded me of why I started writing and following the Hornets to begin with. I’m thankful that Monty unleashed him.

Marcus Thornton always comes into the game with a standing ovation. If you are ever wondering why the crowd is cheering randomly, it’s because he’s walking to the scorer’s table. He’s a popular fellow, if you can’t tell from the reader comments. On his first offensive play of the game he hustled his ass off down the court right at the rim. Jarret Jack hit him with a sweet pass, and just like that Marcus had his first points. He’s so aggressive! A few possessions later he made his mark on the defensive side of the ball, with a swat worth watching repeatedly on youtube.

One thing that I’ve noticed this year is that Marcus is always looking at the bench/scorer’s table to see if he’s coming out. Normally he is. After about six good minutes, he was gone. Monty preferred the match ups with Marco Belinelli on the floor. That would change in the second half.

When the deficit got to 23 with 8:45 left in the third quarter, a timeout was called and the coaching staff huddled up. Right after, Marcus came back in for 15 minutes (although he walked to the bench expecting to be subbed out twice). When he came out the deficit was only 2 points. Again, he WAS the reason why.

A minute later Monty called his name again and he was back on the floor, hitting floaters, causing havoc, and getting the crowd to go bat-**** crazy. He didn’t get the and-one call (no surprise), but that gave the Hornets their first lead of the night.

His tip in with 18 seconds to go sealed the game. An incredible performance by last years second round pick. Without him this is a blowout loss.

There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that I want to see more than Thornton’s resurgence to coincide with that of the Hornets. It would mean so much for the city of New Orleans to have a locally born guy making a big impact. Aside from Chris Paul, he’s the guy this city is most capable of rallying behind.

Other Player notes

  • Ariza does so many things right that it’s hard for me to again have to point out how inefficiently he puts the ball in the basket. According to Synergy Sports, he’s averaging only .82 points per possession, which puts him somewhere around 270th in the league. If there’s anyone else outside the top 250 who shoots it 10 times a game, I wasn’t able to find them. Seriously, he needs to stop shooting so much. This isn’t funny anymore. It’s not like he’s ever been a particularly efficient player, and apparently playing with Paul isn’t having the effect anyone hoped for.
  • David West was struggling to get into a rhythm. The team really needed him to get DeMarcus Cousins his fourth foul early in the third quarter, but he repeatedly failed to do anything productive offensively. That said, he played like a warrior, being physical on the boards and on defense. He missed two big free throws with under a minute to go in the fourth, but we can excuse him. He added a season high seven assists.
  • Jason Smith played some big minutes in the first half. He was one of the reasons the game stayed within reach.
  • Paul added a nearly silent 22 and 11 assists on only 11 shots.

Game Notes

Today there were about 40- eight year old kids dribbling full size NBA basketballs for the halftime show. They were rotating them around their bodies and doing stuff like trying to dribble through their legs.  Here’s the thing- The balls were way too big. [Insert joke here]. I wasn’t impressed or entertained. Maybe I was just upset about being down 16 at the half to the Kings, but that seemed more worthy of a timeout show, not a halftime show.  

They played Thunderstruck at the Arena tonight which made me happy beyond belief. I recently found a drinking game related to the song, and it’s become my favorite almost overnight. If I had a little less self control, this recap could have taken a very strange turn around that point in the night. Details to come at next Hornets watch party.

I thought that we would be seeing Belinelli heads in the Arena for his three pointers, but instead three Italian flags have been put into action. It’s too bad. Those heads were hilarious. The Italian flag is, well, less hilarious.

Gary Chouest gave up his courtside seats to members of the National Guard.


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