The Hornets come back and Edge the Rockets

Published: January 14, 2011

For three quarters the Hornets were losing as the Rockets were nailing a ton of mid-range jumpers and the Hornets were turning the ball over way more often than they normally do.  As a result, they gave up a season high 20 fast break points by the end of the third.  Then the fourth and overtime came along, the Hornets defense clamped down and the Rockets couldn’t get easy shots to save their life.  Even the decent looks they got via Martin or Lowry required a lot of work to generate.  Well, other than the two easy shots Scola had at the end of overtime.  Those were wide open, and he choked.  Dodged a pair of bullets there and the Hornets pull out their second overtime victory, 110-105.(Box Score)


Emeka Okafor was huge in that game.  He was making key baskets, controlling the boards for the Hornets, providing key help defense and even hit key free throws to keep the game in reach.  He was huge, and I’d give him the game ball.  I’m so pleased to be able to say that about the big man.

Chris Paul

Even before his sprained ankle, Chris Paul looked out of sorts and slow and Lowry outplayed him pretty thoroughly.  He wasn’t driving, his mid-range shot wasn’t hitting, and when Lowry was fast breaking against him, Paul never really accelerated to challenge him at all.  It was disconcerting.  Then, he hurt his ankle, and he got even more complacent.  I kinda wanted Monty to pull him, but started watching him and saw something I really liked.  Defensively, he was still getting after it.  He guarded Kevin Martin in the second half better than any other Hornet Guard did, keeping on Martin’s hip and never going for the pumpfakes he used against Willie Green for easy shots.  Happily, with Jack playing fairly well, he was just able to let Jack carry the ball-handling load on offense and focus on the other end in the fourth.  Of course, in OT, he gets a steal, layup, limps slowly back down court, goes full speed defensively, and then drills two from the elbow to put the Hornets ahead for good.  The guy is a gamer.

David West

David West frustrated me through three quarters as he refused to help on all those screens Lowry and Martin kept running off of.  In fact, the big run to get the Hornets back in was because Jason Smith was out there, and he was blitzing those screens.  I can say all that, but if Fluffy’s offense wasn’t out there in full effect in the fourth, this game was over.  They couldn’t guard him, and that dunk he put down on Jared Jeffries was “holy crap” sick.  This guy gets like 10 dunks a season, and I’ve NEVER seen him dunk on someone’s head before.  Just an awesome moment.

Other Observations

  • I understand statistically why I should love Kevin Martin’s game, but I hate watching him play.  I hate it.  He purposely plays like a ragdoll and generates almost every bit of contact he “receives”.  Essentially, he imitates those plays by Kobe that I hate because they are crap, and you know Kobe doesn’t need them to do well – except Kobe does them like twice a game.  They ARE Kevin Martin’s game.
  • Aaron Gray had some nice minutes even with his stupid fouls on screens.  Their second unit couldn’t handle him, and it helped tremendously.
  • Willie Green was awful.  I have to be careful talking about Green because I’m kinda against him anyways, but Willie Green was awful tonight.  He was always two steps behind Kevin Martin, and he got burned over and over trying to guard him.  He was just way overmatched, and I was glad to see him sit in favor of Jack for most of the second half.  Green was a -17 for the game in 22 minutes.  Ouch.
  • Jack, on the other hand, played really well.  Yeah, his ball-handling(1 turnover? West got credited with two that were his fault then) that generated the big Houston run in the third was painful, but otherwise he played a solid, steady game, got into the paint, and generally took shots he should take.  I liked what he gave us, and he was +20 for the game.
  • In fact, tonight, Jason Smith, Jarret Jack and Aaron Gray gave the second unit a big boost with their play.  It’s nice to say that.
  • Pondexter looked like a confused rookie out there.  Solid defense, but he was still outmatched by the savvy play of Battier.
  • On the last defensive play, when the Rockets were looking to foul, they doubled Paul purposely with Ariza’s guy.  When Ariza received the pass, two Rockets blitzed him as fast as they could to fould him.  They wanted him on the line badly.
  • Ariza struggled for three straight quarters, and then had several huge plays in the fourth and overtime.  Whenever he pulls up on a drive and shoots it, I’m just praying the rest of the Hornets are getting back on defense. He ain’t making it.
  • Thornton rebounded well as usual, but was missing his shots and pressing a little.  I was fine with seeing a Jack-Paul backcourt.

Bobcats tomorrow!  Let’s hope the overtime game doesn’t sap their energy too much.


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