The Hornets Beat the Nuggets’ Scrubs

Published: January 9, 2011

If I never see a basketball game like that again, I’ll be a happy man.  The energy was contagious.  Negative energy, that is.  The starting Nuggets didn’t care.  Melo was going through the motions.  At one point, he was sent to post up, and let Ariza push him out past the three point line.  Billups, seeing Melo wasn’t going to try, clearly checked out too, lofting a 28-foot three pointer rather than pass to a guy posting up 23 feet from the basket.  And I didn’t blame him.  That trade has to be imminent. The rest of the Nuggets starters except for Afflalo were showing the same indifference by halftime.

The Hornets, by midway through the third, were playing with as much energy as their opponents.  Lazy screens, few cuts.  Running half-heartedly after loose balls.(and get this – they still got most of them!)

George Karl decided if none of his starters wanted to play, he’d play his scrubs.  And play they did.  Gary Forbes, Anthony Carter, eventually Harrington as his teammates energized him.  JR Smith.  Karl just kept cycling players until he had a team of guys who wanted to play.

The Hornets responded by watching.

Then, Monty made the most rookie of rookie mistakes.  With the Hornets still having the  advantage, he chose to match up to Karl’s unit.  The Hornets had controlled the game by contesting shots at the hoop with their bigs and playing disciplined defense.  Monty emptied the bench of little guys, who never play defense together, forcing the guards to be forwards and forwards to be centers.  Put in an unfamiliar positions, the Hornets abandoned their advantages of height and rebounding.  Their disciplined rotations were non-existant, because guys were playing spots on the floor they never play.  It became a disaster, and the game got to within 3.

It’s possible the only reason the Hornets won that game was because Karl decided to see if his starters wanted to win for pride’s sake and fed them back in – and Monty matched him, bringing in his own regular starting lineup.  Even then, the Hornets were taking lots of bad shots,  getting no penetration, and only Paul’s shooting saved a bad loss.

I don’t have much else to say about that game.  If we had lost it, my head would have exploded,  and McNamara would have had to get his fiance to do the Podcast with him tomorrow night.  Then what would all you guys do?  I bet I wouldn’t blog so well without a head.

Next game Wednesday.  This team needs a boot in the ass on the offensive end.


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