Hornets beat Kings behind Paul’s explosive return

Published: March 12, 2011

The Hornets entered the fourth down one, 84-85.  Five minutes later, they were up 102-88.  Sure, it took another seven minutes for the Hornets to win 115-103 (Box Score) but the game was over at that point.

There isn’t really any surprise as to why it happened either.  Okafor had been in foul trouble all game, but was able to stay on the floor in the fourth.  The Kings were still getting into the paint like they did during the first three quarters, but Okafor made all the difference, blocking two shots and forcing three bad adjustments.   Those blocks and wild shots, plus a few bad passes, turned into quick strikes back down court, where we were treated to a show by one C. P. 3.

Chris Paul

33 points on 21 shots. 6-7 from the line.  7 rebounds.  15 assists.  5 steals.  2 turnovers.  He was playing a measured pace in the first half, but in the third and fourth he did what he did during the first month of the season – getting into the mid-range space, generating open spots, and forcing the defenders to let him get an easy look, or cheat off someone else and give them an easy look.  Sure, the Kings defense sucks, but there wasn’t a team in the league that could have defended him the way he was playing tonight.  Maybe he needs a week off and some swelling of the brain more often.

I’m kidding.  Kidding!  Sheesh.

Carl Landry

With Okafor forced to the bench, Landry came through.  Does anyone think that had the Hornets not traded Thornton for Landry, and we were still backing up Okafor with Gray/Smith/Andersen that we would have won this game tonight?  Me either.  Landry got into the paint and pump-faked his way to 11 free throw attempts.  As a result, he ended with 20 points on 10 shots – and added three offensive rebounds.  Now, sure, it would have been nice for him to grab more than a lone defensive rebound . . . who am I kidding?  Who cares?  Dude is a beast.

Other Observations

  • David West was locked in from 17 feet all night, with his jumper full on Fluffy.  Part of that was due to the fact that Paul was taking half the defenders with him wherever he went, leaving West wide open, but he was also just clearly on.  Perfectly calm, unhurried even under pressure.  You could see him getting a little angry out there in the fourth with Cousins.  I think West really buys into the idea that Rookies had better show him some damn respect.
  • Thornton looked like his old self from last year.  The Kings opened the game running plays through him in the post like they do with Evans, and he was effective.  His jumper was also on.  I still love watching him play.
  • However, I do need to say that in the fourth, Willie Green locked in hard on Thornton, and gave him nothing easy.  The one bucket Thornton got was a tough leaner with Willie practically trying to have his babies.  Every other shot Thornton took was off-balance and rushed.
  • It felt like Cousins was destroying the Hornets out there – but his 19 points on 14 shots is good until you realize he also had 6 turnovers.  That means 19 points on 20 possessions, which is not good.  He needs to learn how not to travel before he can be classified as a dominant big man.
  • Marco and Willie split time almost evenly at SG and produced 20 points on 14 shots with four rebounds and an assist.  That’s what we need from them, and if they give us more?  Gravy.
  • Quincy had a nice 7 minutes.
  • Samuel Dalembert scored 19 on an array of jumpers and hook shots.  The dude is normally one of the worst offensive players in the league, but that’s two games this year he’s wrecked the Hornets.
  • With the game being called really tightly, Gray didn’t have a prayer.
  • Jack played less than 25 minutes.  0-5 for zero points and pair of assists.  Can’t really rouse myself to care with Paul going nuts.

That’s two winning recaps in a row, baby!  I’m on a roll with butter and garlic.  Or something.

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