Hornets Get Revenge on 76ers

Published: January 3, 2011

Avenging their previous loss in Philly, the Hornets withstood a late charge by the 76ers to escape with their 21st victory of the season. While not the Hornets best performance, the 76ers apparently carried some of their energy over from their previous loss to the Lakers (as many, not me, expected), and gave the Hornets a run for the their money late in the game. Philly could have rolled over late in the fourth when they were down eleven, but instead they fought back and turned it into a bit of a nail biter for Hornets fans.

The first half lacked energy (both on the floor and in the stands), with both teams struggling to find any consistent rhythm. The Hornets in particular were struggling to grab defensive boards and gave up a bunch of unnecessary second chance opportunities. Monty was not pleased. With 3:14 left, the Hornets took a time out, and boy did it work.

The three minutes that followed saw the Hornets go on a 12-0 run, behind strong play by David West. Speaking of West, he is officially underrated again. I was on the DDL talking about the Hornets and the number of comments ripping on West were shocking. After I pointed out that he was having a career year in some regard, people seemed to change their tune. He’s gone from underrated to overrated to underrated, and now, perhaps he is on his way back to being overrated. It’s hard to keep up, I know.

Quincy Ponexter came in for the first time with about 3:00 to play in the second quarter. After snagging a defensive rebound (something that was eluding the Hornets for much of the quarter), he wound up with the ball just outside the arc on offense. There was no immediate pass available, and knowing that he’s not a particularly good playmaker, he patiently waited until an easy pass was available. Then he immediately found an open spot on the floor, received the pass back, and nailed an easy jumper.

Sadly, I’m not sure that I’ve seen Trevor Ariza make the same play the entire year. He normally just fakes the drive and takes a contested long jumper instead. Needless to say, I prefer what Pondexter did.

In the second half he came back on and saw about 9 minutes, playing nice defense, grabbing a couple boards, and knocking down a smooth three pointer. He’s quickly turning into one of my favorite players for a number of reasons. First off, like I said, he knows his limitations. The nice thing about rookies who aren’t high draft picks is that they tend to be a bit more humble and willing to listen. It’s clear that he’s paying attention to what the coaches are saying, and it appears to be working well. He’s far ahead of where I expected him to be this early in his career. That said, he’s not at the point where Trevor has to worry about his starting job. That’s what next year is for.

Speaking of Ariza, he had a pretty awful game on offense. If you’re out there, Trevor, please stop shooting so much. Please. You’re not a jump shooter. Well, I take that back. You’re not a successful jump shooter. The thing is, that’s ok! Either take it to the rim, or give it up. You’re a great defensive player, and there’s just no reason that you have to insist of taking such a large role in the offense. This is just getting ridiculous. On defense he was better (as he usually is), but still it wasn’t his best day. In the first half he gave up quite a bit to Nocioni.

AND CAN THE DUDE BOX SOMEBODY OUT AND GRAB A BOARD? That’s what infuriated me the most tonight about his performance. Time and time again defensive rebounds passed right by him and into the hands of the 76ers.

There was lots of ugly ball early on in the second half with turnovers, three second violations, poor rebounding, and a few strange calls. Chris Paul didn’t mind. In the first few minutes he did just about whatever he wanted in between the “basketball” being played around him.  A CP3 three with three and a half minutes to go in the quarter put the lead at eight.

By the end of the quarter that lead was ten, and after withstanding a brief 76ers run to start the fourth quarter, the Hornets bench kept Philly at bay. Paul came back in with six minutes to go, with the Hornets up 11. Before West could even check back in, the lead was down to only four, and a game that was seemingly over just a few minutes before was all of a sudden causing the loss of fingernails throughout the Arena.

Paul’s layup with a dwindling shot clock gave the Hornets a five point lead with 20 seconds left, essentially sealing the deal. The crowd gave a scream of joy, and that was all she wrote.

Other Game Notes

  • The Hornets went with a heavy guard lineup much of the game, choosing to leave Aaron Gray on the bench for entirety, and giving Jason Smith only 11 minutes.
  • Jack Started out hot, and I really thought that he was going to justify my pre-game prediction that he would have a big game. Although he played pretty well, I wouldn’t count 6 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists as particularly huge.
  • Evan Turner hit a long buzzer-beating three pointer at the end of the first quarter. At the end of the second quarter, Elton Brand nearly hit another.
  • With 32 seconds left in the first half, Philadelphia inbounded the ball and didn’t even try for the two and one. I just don’t get how you get to be an NBA coach if you don’t know about that. It seems so simple and obvious. The benefit is clearly apparent.
  • Excellent halftime show. Had some Mardi Gras Indians singing “let’s go get em” with a Hornets twist. I love live music, and this was authentic. I was desperately trying to get a recording of it live, but my garageband wouldn’t open in time. Anyone get one?
  • Paul came up grimacing with 8:30 to go in the third quarter. Ten seconds later he got a steal and then fed Ariza a sweet alley-oop which fortunately found the bottom of the net after some deliberation. Apparently he was OK.
  • During the conga dance segment some dude started stripping. Im fairly sure he wasn’t part of the act because after taking off his shirt he started to take off his belt. Hugo seemed legitimately worried. It’s strange to see a mascot concerned over the behavior of someone else.
  • Marcus Thornton remained the odd man out in the back court, getting only 7 meaningful first half minutes. In that time he did manage to snag 3 boards and record a sweet block.
  • Dick Bavetta (the really old looking ref, no offense intended) is hilarious. I love how animated he is when he makes he calls, studder stepping down the court, holding Chris Paul close, and just being am obviously cool old man.
  • Attendance was 13,433. Not good enough. We need to do better the next six games. Help make that happen by attending a comedy show to benefit the Save Our Hornets Foundation


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