Game 59: Hive Five

Well, Hornets' games clearly aren't for the faint of heart.

Capt

Not content with merely one player of the week award, David West picked up where he left off. Chris Paul also had a game very similar to his last- an overall subpar performance before making the big play down the stretch. It's interesting how I've come to view games. If this (or the last) game had happened early in the season, I would've been very disappointed. I would've lamented the margin of victory, the strength of opposition, the defensive meltdowns, regardless of the fact we won. At this point, I'm just thrilled we won. The Hornets may or may not get their act together in the future (by no means does this 5 game streak indicate that they have), but every win is crucial.

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The factors point to a great overall performance. We outshot the Sixers, we were more aggressive offensively, we outrebounded them, and though we didn't force many turnovers, we didn't commit too many ourselves. The thing that stands out most from the above graph is the pace: 83. That's extraordinarily slow, especially when you consider how much running Philadelphia did. While our offensive efficiency was very high, we did endure many ugly possessions. In general, it's something to be mindful of. The overall team pace has been trending steadily downwards since December.

The fast break kept Philly in the game. The way they ran the break was definitely unconventional. Typically, you have a guard keep the ball until he's forced to make a decision in the paint area. Tonight, the Sixers routinely threw dangerous passes from the half-court area and reaped the rewards. I don't know if this is something they do on a regular basis, but it seemed to catch the Hornets by surprise.

On to bullets:

  • Andre Miller was more on fire today than any single player we've faced this season. He finished 12-16, with literally every single shot coming from 15 feet out or further. If he has his normal shooting night, this thing is over real fast.
  • If you look back at David West's recent scoring spree, each performance has been progressively more impressive. The 24 against Sacramento could be explained away by pointing to the Kings' lack of interior defenders. The 30 on Detroit was substantially more difficult with Sheed only getting tossed late in the game. The 28 on Milwaukee was impressive since West was literally doubled on every play. Ditto for the 32 on New Jersey. And then tonight, he had to take on great defenders in Reggie Evans, Sam Dalembert, Marreese Speights... and he burned them all. He's carrying us right on through a mini-slump from Paul.
  • I found Peja's lack of PT interesting. Seemed like he had the three going for the first time in a while, but Byron yanked him quickly. Odd.
  • Reggie Evans had perhaps more impact tonight than I've ever seen from a player that attempted 0 shots. He boarded, he hustled to balls, he even tossed a couple nice outlet passes. 
  • Tyson and DX combined for 11 O-REB's, compared to 12 for the entire Philly team combined.
  • Chris Paul had 5+ turnovers for the 11th time this season, equalling his total from all of 2007-2008.
  • I can't finish this up without mentioning Rasual Butler. Instead of settling from threes tonight (although he did knock down 3 of those anyway), Butler routinely attacked the hoop. He also finished with 10 rebounds. Adding on to that rebounding total was James Posey; he finished with 12 along with 16 points.
  • The Hornets have now pulled to within a half game of Houston in the Southwest. We've got a national TV matchup with Dallas on Thursday at home before heading out for a 4 game Eastern road trip on Monday.
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