The Nets beat the Hornets

Published: February 9, 2011

How many tries does it take for the Hornets to close out the Nets?  Apparently – more than five.  That’s how many chances they had to win.  That’s how many times they failed.   So many rimmed out jumpers.

Anyways, the Nets hit more three pointers in that game than they did all season and hit more than 50% of them.  Oh, and this is a team in the bottom half of three-point percentage.  The Hornets couldn’t hold on to the ball, they got few free throws, they got out-rebounded, and the only thing that saved them from a blowout was Marco Belinelli and Willie Green’s hot shooting – and David West’s 32 and 15.

Those are all worthy subjects to spend more time on, but in the end I wanted to focus on one thing:

Chris Paul looked broken.

I’ve said that before this season.  He’s looked slow and non-explosive in the past.  Tonight, though, it was different, and it’s not that his shot wasn’t falling, because that happens sometimes.  It was the rest of the game that bothers me.  The team got several fast breaks, with Jack or Belinelli leading them – and Paul didn’t run.  On two of them, he was passed by the ball-handler, and simply jogged to the three point line and waited to see if that guy could do anything.  All game long, he never exploded.  Every one of his forays into the paint was generated by clever ball-handling, not speed.  He didn’t attempt to split any double teams.  He didn’t try to run down the back of any big men as they retreated into the paint.  He didn’t try to post up Harris – something he does every Nets game.

Hell, I didn’t even see his mean streak.  He kept getting bumped and having offensive fouls called on him – and he didn’t even bark at the ref.  That’s not Chris Paul.

It’s freakish how good he can still be when he’s slowed like this – but he hasn’t been dominant except in spots for more than a month.  It hurts to watch.

Other Observations:

  • Marcus Thornton played 6 minutes, and they were terrible, terrible minutes.  Every time he touched the ball, he dribbled back and forth at the top of the key trying to get some sort of advantage off a pick – and nothing opened up for him.  So each foray ended with him simply wasting shot clock.  The one foray into the paint he made, he threw up some awful shot that I went back and watched a couple times because I thought he MUST have been trying to lob it.  But he was shooting it.  It was bad, even if it did land in Gray’s hands for a layup.
  • Jack’s line is respectable.  His play was not.  Horrible decisions. Terrible shots at the end of drives.  Awful passing.  Horrendeous defense.  Two of CP3’s unusual number of turnovers were due to Jack making horrible passes that Paul was trying to save and couldn’t.
  • If any of you are going to trash Belinelli or Willie Green after tonight’s game, then you’ve lost all perspective.
  • Wait, did you hear that?  I think it was the sound of Vujacic hitting another three while Jack was cheating off of him.
  • West was a hoss all game long.  Humphries and especially Favors couldn’t do anything with him.  It’s too bad his game-winner drew iron, because he deserved a game-winner after putting in that work.
  • Andersen hit one shot and missed another.  He also gave up three offensive rebounds.
  • Here’s how much the Hornets are used to having Okafor clean up the boards:  Three times in the first half, the ball came off iron and almost hit the floor before a Net arrived from outside the area to scoop it up.  On all of them – no Hornet made a move towards it.  Usually, it was because Gray had contested a shot – and West had simply boxed out his man, and wasn’t moving towards the hoop.  West did make a concerted effort in the second half to change that though.
  • Did you see that awesome putback?  It was brought to you by Jack’s unwillingness to box out his man.
  • Sasha Pavlovic got the start over Q-Pon, who got no minutes because he was nursing a sore ankle.  Pavlovic proceeded to show us why he was available to sign a 10-day contract.
  • Jarrett Jack had a -14.  That sounds right.
  • Aaron Gray had a +14.  I guess that makes Aaron Gray the answer to “What is the absolute value of Jarrett Jack?”
  • Yeah.  That’s right.  Math humor.



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