Yep. That just happened.
The more a team plays, the better we understand their true skill level. The more this Hornets team plays, the more confusing they become.
That's now three very poor games the Hornets have played against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Clippers. Those are three bad teams. And yet, we've managed to play unwatchable offense and poor defense for long stretches.
Tonight, the defense was routinely schooled by players of all ability- Eric Gordon should be expected to break a good defense down every now and again, but Brian Cook should not, under any circumstances, be pump faking his way to an unguarded slam dunk. What started as such a fundamentally sound defensive unit has gradually begun to fray at the edges. The Clippers, Kings, and Cavaliers didn't possess the necessary talent to fully exploit our emerging flaws, but I'd bet that Utah, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City will beat up on us if this continues.
The Hornets proved early in the year that they could compete with the best teams in the league. Over the last week of December, we'll get away from the mediocre competition of the last few days and play those elite teams again. I hope we can step back up to the level we played at two weeks ago.
On to the game bullets:
- For a third consecutive game, Chris Paul was unbelievably passive in the second half. It doesn't appear to be a movement or injury issue, but Chris Paul is simply not playing the same way he was at the start of the season. With 50 seconds left in the game, he was isolated one-on-one with Blake Griffin. After dribbling around pointlessly for 15 seconds, he threw to Trevor Ariza with 1 second left on the shot clock. CP's recent play has just been inexplicable.
- David West carried us again. He hit some tough shots over good defense. The biggest issue was the Clippers quickly realized that nobody but West was scoring the ball. That allowed them to collapse in on him on every touch.
- After struggling through foul trouble in the first meeting, Blake Griffin ate us alive tonight. He posted a double double, he rebounded with ease, and he scored efficiently.