Hornets push Bulls to Brink

Published: February 28, 2012

Damn.  I thought they had it.

New Orleans Hornets 95 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Chicago Bulls

Five Things We Saw

  1. I’m proud of the way the guys played tonight. Coming back from 11 down to take a 4 point lead with a minute left? These guys just never quit. They give everything they have for Monty and for each other and I love it. I pretty much always get the other teams announcers. Every game, the fourth quarter arrives and they really can’t say anything but good stuff about the Hornets and Monty Williams. I concur.
  2. Okafor and Jason Smith didn’t play. I suspect we’ll hear about them having bone bruises any day now.
  3. The Hornets had dueled the Bulls to a draw on the offensive glass until the last two minutes of the game. They won the free-throw battle.  If you’ve read my keys to the game, you know why that was important.
  4. Ayon, despite his struggles tonight, may be one of the best big men I’ve seen at defending guard headed to the hoop without fouling. Rookie big men never post the sorts of foul rates he does.  Had to have an Ayon observation. Got more down below in his player grade section too.
  5. The Hornets bench outscored the Bulls bench 39-18. Maybe we should ask the league to set up a shadow league for benches to play against each other. We could name it “sloppy seconds!” Anyone want to have their team be known as the Kings of Sloppy Seconds? What?
Trevor Ariza, SF 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -10Ariza had a nice game on both ends of the floor, and his offense was there tonight. Yeah, he was a little late on that last shot by Rose, but that was due to the clever little push-off Rose used to get him off-balance.
Gustavo Ayon, PF 27 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -5Ayon had a lot of trouble contending with the Bulls big front line for most of the game. The Bulls have a bunch of athletic, hard-working bigs. I love that on two of the biggest shots of the game, he drilled the baseline jumper and Monty went right back to him in the high post on the next set. He missed the shot, but I love the confidence. McNamara probably had an orgasm of delight when they ran that fake screen-spin to the hoop for Ayon. He loves that play. Too bad it didn’t work out this time.
Chris Kaman, C 39 MIN | 7-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | -5Kaman must have been infected by Ayon. Over the last three weeks or so, he’s been passing willingly when put in the high post. It’s fun to watch. He’s still a gunner when he isn’t in the high post, but it’s nice to see. Tonight, he had a nice game.
Marco Belinelli, SG 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -15Marco struggled mightily against Ronnie Brewer’s physical defense. However, when Monty sent him out there in the fourth with Korver guarding him, he made the overly tanned pretty-boy Bull look absolutely awful. Worked him over good. For that bit of fun alone, I gave him the B.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 21 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | -16Vasquez was solid, but he was getting worked by Rose. I don’t blame him, who doesn’t get worked by Rose?
Jarrett Jack, PG 28 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | +10Jack played pretty well, keying a strong bench mob and not pressing his scoring too much. At least, until that last shot. He got the step on Rose, but the reigning MVP recovered and managed to get back in front of him. I don’t think Jack was expecting that.
Solomon Jones, C 20 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -1Solo had his best game as a Hornet, working hard in twenty minutes of play and hitting his easy looks around the basket. As in every other game he’s played too, he absolutely flattened a couple Bulls. He really likes to set those blind picks in transition.
Xavier Henry, SG 18 MIN | 3-10 FG | 6-7 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +9Henry has an attacking mindset like I’ve never seen. It leads him into lame offensive fouls and blocked shots because he NEVER shoots until he’s being humped by the other team, but it also generates a lot of nice free throws too. He had a strong game tonight, and with each passing week I am more and more confident he has a future with this team.


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