Denver 81 (30-16) | New Orleans 94 (28-14)
Tonight the Hornets faced a true test of their strength and will. In yet another contest without their two best post presences, the Bees were again looking to spread the floor and pray that a couple of guys would step up for big nights.
Remarkably, it worked. Again. Peja continued his hot streak finishing with 26 points on 10-14 shooting from the field. He also threw in five rebounds and three assists for good measure. For those of you following along at home, over the past two games Peja has dropped 52 points on 20-32 from the field (8-15 from beyond the arc).
The other player who stepped up? No, not CP3. Try again... oh forget it. If you didn't watch you'd never guess. Devin "Oh my God, please don't shoot" Brown played with a massive chip on his shoulder tonight, dropping 18 points on 6-7 shooting. Pretty much all he did was shoot, but those points came in handy due to an uncharacteristically off night for Chris.
The game started out extremely slow (at least for Hornet fans). In the first 6:30 of the game, we only managed 4 points. In fact, we scored those points within the first two minutes of the game. Between then and the 5:39 mark, here's a rundown of the Hornets' seven possessions:
- Travelling, Julian Wright
- Missed shot, Hilton Armstrong
- Offensive foul, Peja Stojakovic
- Stolen, Dahntay Jones from Chris Paul
- Missed shot, Peja Stojakovic
- Missed shot, Chris Paul
- Offensive foul, Julian Wright
Not going to lie. We were preparing ourselves for a blowout at this point. But leave it to this group to surprise you. By the end of the first, we were only down one and had actually owned the lead once or twice before that.
From there, it was all Hornets, as New Orleans proceeded to outscore Denver in the remaining 3 quarters and seal the deal. Got to say, I was impressed with just about everyone tonight. The entire team played, and not a single one of our guys mailed it in.
Oh, and we're 3-1 without Tyson and D.West. Nice.
Couple of observations before I leave you:
- Though he didn't quite contribute as much as usual, CP did log a double-double with 12 points, 10 assists, and 4 steals. Unfortunately his floater in the lane just wasn't falling. He looked slightly out of sync tonight, but I think that had a little to do with a bruised calf he's been fighting since getting kicked in the Philly game.
- Thank goodness Devin and Peja showed up tonight because Paul and Posey combined to shoot an embarrassing 4-25 from the field. Oof.
- While we're talking about poor shooting performances, the Nuggets went 4-22 from deep. Counting last game against Philly, our opponents are 6-36 from beyond the arc. Probably a combination of good rotation and cold shooters, but I'll take it.
- Morris left the game with a sprained ankle and did not return. I think there's something in the water down here. Note: if you are traveling to New Orleans in the near future, bring your own water supply, otherwise you will be riding the pine in a suit.
- We had 8 turnovers in the first quarter alone (3 from CP). Unacceptable. Sure, we tightened up and only allowed 3 per quarter after that, but 8 in 12 minutes is pretty outrageous.
- Sean Marks had somewhat of a statement game. including two monster throwdown dunks in the first half. He then did his best Tyson Chandler impression, swatting a shot from Chris "Birdman" Andersen clear to into the eighth row.
- Kenyon Martin was quite the hothead tonight. His continual arguing and dogging of the refs got him tech in the second half. (He almost got 2, but the ref walked away and chose to ignore him instead). I also seem to remember him getting t-ed up in Denver (the first time we played them this year) when he kicked the scorers table after a call against him. He's too good to be making those kind of frustrated mistakes.
- Speaking of frustrated, George Karl is hysterical when he's angry. Most coaches will get a little dramatic when they bicker with the refs, but Karl jumps around and tugs at his hair like a cartoon character. Byron tends to be a little too stoic at times, but if Karl is the alternative, give me Byron any day.
- Two celebrities graced the Hive tonight. The first was ex-Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson (who got a standing ovation). The other was Spike Lee... which was kind of strange, but exciting all the same.
Photos courtesy of espn.com
Composed to: David Bowie's Low
The opponent's take: Pickaxe and Roll