Hornets Beat Down the NBA Best San Antonio Spurs

Published: January 22, 2011

I was proud to be a Hornets fan tonight. In the third quarter the team played the best basketball I’ve ever seen at any time in my entire life. They were absolutely on fire on both ends of the floor and there was nothing that San Antonio could do to stop them. The Hornets absolutely stifled the NBA’s best offense, and made one of the better defenses look like a Nutria in headlights. The third quarter should be watched over and over and over by Hornets fans, only to see exactly what perfect basketball looks like.

From the first play of the game you could tell that this was going to be a high energy affair. The Hornets, fueled by arguably the best crowd of the year, jumped out to a 5-0 start so fast that Popovic called a timeout before the crowd had fully sat down after the first points were scored. Paul was aggressive right off the bat and the defense was rotating well.

The only thing that kept them from jumping out to a big early lead was Marco Belinelli, who just could not get a shot to drop and made a stupid high risk-low reward pass to Okafor hat resulted in a turnover. He had one three pointer in particular that would have driven the crowd close to insanity, and he missed it.

I really think that if he had made that three, the Hornets would have ridden the momentum into a big league. It sort of seemed like Marco was trying to get Manu into some early foul trouble. The Hornets kept feeding him the ball over and over and it really appeared that his first priority wasn’t just to shoot, but to shoot and get the foul. It took six minutes, but he did eventually get one called. Aside from that, it was a hideous first seven minutes, as he had his ankles broken repeatedly, and went 0-5 from the floor with only a single point.

As it turned out, it would be in the third quarter that the Hornets would pull away, with Marco on the floor. Incredibly effective rotations and great individual efforts from the starting five left the Spurs hoisting up shots as the shot clock expired.

The Spurs were helpless offensively, and even Popovic seemed resigned to losing during the run. Paul was doing what he does best, penetrating, and then kicking it out to open shooters. The guys were on fire and that combined with the crowd made for one of the loudest third quarters in recent memory. With six minutes left the fans were on their feet chanting “Let’s go Hornets” with as much passion as they did three years ago in the playoffs.

The rebounding in particular was impressive. Ariza and Okafor were grabbing everything in sight, and really the entire team was just doing everything fundamentally right. A three pointer by Trevor Ariza after the ball was kicked around perfectly capped a an 11-0 run in only 1:03. West would get T-ed up in the aftermath of the shot, but still the Spurs couldn’t put it in the basket. After two back to back insane Okafor blocks, the Hornets crowd got even louder, reaching a level of noise unheard of recently in New Orleans except for inside the Superdome.

And that was the game.

Game Notes

  • The Mardi Gras Races started again. After seeing the baby I instantly began dreading the eventual walk to my car after the game. It’s dark out there, and the baby is back.
  • Guess what? There was a defensive three second violation. And an offensive one. I would guess that the total winds up being 3 or 4.
  • Tiago Splitter has one of the uglier free throw shots in the league.
  • Jarrett Jack got the ball with about 33 seconds left in the first quarter, dribbled for 6 seconds and then took a jumper from a step inside the three point line. Um. That’s not how the 2 and 1 works.
  • Has Jason Smith never gotten the ball at the end of a quarter with a few seconds left? He seemed to think he was a cornerback who just got an interception after a hail mary.
  • Final score at the end of the first quarter was 13-12. That meant that in the last five quarters of basketball the Hornets had allowed 71 points total.
  • Quincy Pondexter’s face after he scores a point while taking some uncalled contact is identical to how Marcus used to look last year. Poor rookies.
  • Thornton played great, but who didn’t?  (answer- Willie Green) Buckets was instrumental in keeping the game close in the first half, but wasn’t part of the huge run to start the third quarter.
  • Gary Chouest was court side with his wife and her friends and he was having a blast, even though he kept walking three seats down to talk with some other guys. I’m going to go ahead and predict that he winds up being the local the NBA finds to buy the team.
  • E.C. Coleman was in the house
  • Okafor was also awesome. His case for the All-Star game gets stronger each day.
  • The kicker for the night was attendance. It was announced at 18,032 and nearly every single seat was filled. Great job, everyone.


  1. Pingback: New Orleans Hornets crush NBA’s hottest team, the San Antonio Spurs, 96-72 – NOLA.com | San Antonio News & Views

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