While Chris Paul’s Crunch Time Numbers Fell Off Last Year, The Hornets Remained Clutch

Published: November 29, 2011

With the news that the lockout ended, I started getting back into looking at stats and whatnot from last year. One thing I noticed, which I’m guessing a lot of us probably suspected, is that Chris Paul didn’t bring his usual excellence to crunch time last season.

His numbers were down drastically from the previous three years, but what surprised me was how little if seemed to actually affect the team’s performance overall in the clutch. We probably didn’t realize that the Hornets were again one of the best teams in the league during what 82games.com defines as “Clutch” time.

While Paul’s shooting numbers both in terms of volume and efficiency plummeted to four years lows, possibly a result of not having his legs fully under him at the end of games because of the knee injury, the Hornets weren’t notably worse statistically as a result. In fact, their +14 plus/minus advantage in points scored per 48 minutes of clutch time is actually the second best number they have put up in the past four seasons with Paul on the floor.

If you’re looking for a reason why the Hornets were able to win without Chris Paul at his best, your search might begin and end at Emeka Okafor and David West. Okafor snagged 15.5 rebounds per 48 minutes of clutch time while swatting 3.7 shots. In the 44 minutes that Okafor did not join CP3 on the floor for crunch time, the Hornets were actually outscored by two points. West also played well, but I’ll let you see for yourself.

Considering the Hornets were able to remain so good in the clutch without CP3 anywhere near his usual standard tells us that this year, if Paul brings his A-game, Hornets fans should be treated to some fantastic finishes at the Hive and on television.


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