Hornets Defeat Grizzlies in Meaningful Meaningless Game

Published: December 16, 2011

We won.

That’s all that matters.

Ryan would stuff me armless into a culvert if I recapped a game like that, so I’ll continue, but entre nous, you can stop here and go get some ice cream.

On the court: Playing this game without the new troops seemed like a daunting task, but the Hornets starting line-up had four regulars from last season starting, with Jarrett Jack sliding into the starting point guard spot. He did so with relish, or maybe horseradish. 24 points off 14 shots, going 6 for 7 at the line. Add in 6 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, a block, and a partridge in a pear tree, and what you have a Grinch stealing Christmas from the bears on the border of Beale Street. Note, I didn’t mention turnovers . . . nothing to talk about. Not a t’ing!

Quincy did well of the bench, but the MVC . . . most valuable camp-guy . . . was Carldell Johnson. Check it: 10 points off 5 shots, 6 for 6 from the line with an assist and a steal.

The Grizzlies didn’t bring their A game or their Gasol, so we need to keep that in mind, but I don’t think that should place any kind of asterisk on the victory. After all, we’re missing three contributors.

The turnover differential . . . 22 by Memphis costing them 27 points, 11 by New Orleans costing them 10 points . . . is where I point to try to explain the flow and outcome of the game with only a single gesture. While preseason games are rife with sloppiness, that’s a tide that lifts all ships. The difference that made a difference was defense.

Also, remember Monty’s offensive philosophy . . . “Defense” . . . 23 points on the break compared to 18 by Memphis. Good call, Coach. The effort out there was tremendous.

Add it up, the New Orleans Hornets slammed down their 97 points on the Memphis Grizzlies 90 point effort and left the court grinning for more than those 7 reasons twinkling on the scoreboards around the FedEx Forum.

Off the court: Some are saying this game is meaningless since it doesn’t matter in the playoff calculations, people don’t give effort, yada yada yada, and it doesn’t tie to the title in a direct way.

That’s correct . . . but limited.

This game showed that either we have a floor general who is a leader. Jack was not only happy after the game, he was effervescent with Sean and V. I couldn’t see him (obviously), but it was so permeating that it was carried along the carrier waves at the speed of light. We need good players, we need strong leaders, and we need true believers. Jarrett showed that he just may be all three.

Also, Monty. Monty, Monty, Monty. You got the Bad News Bees to play winning ball even though you are the anti-Buttermaker. I don’t know how you did it, but you kept these guys focused though camp and got them to bring it in the game.

Then there’s Dell. I think Trey Johnson’s line speaks very well for Dell even without the recent acquisitions from LA, Landry, and Smith. I don’t think it’s fair to praise him too faintly now, so I’ll wait until I determine how many “so”‘s to put before “great.”

None of this guarantees we’ll win another game, but this victory means that `the team’ has survived and its heart still beats. It’ll likely take a while before we pour nightmares into the opposition, but we can start our dreaming now. Not next year, not on draft night, but now, not because we’re going to be winning games in a crushing January 2008 fashion, but because this is a birth. Not the birth, but a birth. More than conception, triumph, marriage, victory, or death, we celebrate birth. Every year, even if we miss the day.

Congratulations, New Orleans . . . it’s a team! Just wait until it grows up . . . get your pictures, write down the first words in the silly baby book, bronze the shoes . . . whatever. Just be there, and let them make you proud . . . one day . . .

I’m sure there’s more, and I’ll leave that for you guys. I need to get ready for the scrimmage . . .

Which brings me to . . .

The first person I’ve never met who finds me at the scrimmage gets a pair for tickets to Wednesday’s preseason game. In fact, I’ll do that for the next person, too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.