Hornets hold off Celtics fourth quarter surge to hand Boston third loss in four games

Published: December 31, 2010

The Hornets led the Celtics by eleven before a 18-0 Boston run that had the crowd celebrating like it was New Year’s Eve, but Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli came out of their comas to hit some huge shots that propelled New Orleans to a 83-81 victory.

It was a tale of two halves and a tale of two units, as the the first half was slow paced and low scoring, with both teams shooting horrible from deep. The second half saw both teams play with more energy and passion, going back and forth with double digit runs before finally settling the game on the final posessions.

Nate Robinson tied the game up at 77 with a fast break layup, and that’s when the magic happened. With the shot clock winding down, Trevor Ariza hoisted a contested three-pointer to give the Hornets the lead for good with 1:34 left. After West and Pierce traded jumpers and Ray Allen made two free throws, the Hornets had a one point lead and the ball with 21 seconds left. West got fouled and made one out of two, setting the stage for Paul Pierce to try to work his magic. Everyone knew he was going to try to get his spot on the wing, but Belinelli’s defense forced him to lose control of the ball. He saved it to Ray Allen who took a horrible, off balance three-pointer that missed. After a scramble, the Hornets got the rebound and the victory.

Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, and David West scored 57 of New Orleans 83 points and both CP3 and Okafor notched double-doubles in a game where they were both dominant in their own ways. Paul (20 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals) had some beautiful assists that set up easy buckets for Okafor and West, while Emeka (18 and 13) took advantage of his young legs against the O’Neal brothers.

For Boston, Pierce and Allen seemed to be sleepwalking through the first half, but woke in the second. By then it was too little, too late however. Nate Robinson and Glen Davis replaced All-Stars Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, M.D. in the starting lineup and went a combined 9-24, scoring 19 points in 73 minutes. Luke Harangody also got minutes that he otherwise wouldn’t have played if not for the KG injury and responded by going 1-5. The lone bright spot for Boston was Marquis Daniels, who keyed the 4th quarter run and ended the game with 10 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks while being +8 in his 25 minutes of play.

Other News and Notes:

– Yes, Marco and Trevor have been horrible as of late, but the #1 reason that the Hornets have been dogs on the road this month is the play of their bench. Today wasn’t much different. In fact, the only difference was that Monty had enough and put the starters back in for the final 10 minutes of the 4th quarter. To give you an idea of how bad it was- Chris Paul was +17 in the 40 minutes he played. In the other 8 minutes (6 in the second quarter, 2 in the 4th) the Hornets were outscored by 15 points. At that rate, they would have lost by 90 (do the math- not an exaggeration) if CP3 hadn’t played.

– In the first half; West, CP3, and Okafor shot 12-21 while the rest of the team was 4-18, including a 2-8 performance from fellow starters Marco Belinelli and Trevor Ariza.

– Thankfully the Celtics didn’t put the Hornets away in the first half like LA did. They could have, as they were only 1-10 from three.

– David West made what I think was the best pass of his career in the second quarter. Iso wing, he drives to the middle drawing two defenders and then makes a no-look whip around bounce pass to Okafor for the dunk. It looked CP3-like. Brialliant.

– CP3, West, and Okafor all played 40 or more minutes and the Hornets have a game tomorrow night. I hope they don’t follow this great victory with a let down because of it.

– Glad to see Willie back on the court. Much love. I hope the New Year brings you happiness.


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