Golden State 91 (15-32) | New Orleans 87 (28-15)
Can you say "trap game"?
After watching the Hornets defeat teams that were better than the Warriors without the services of DX and Tyson, everyone and their mom assumed that this game was practically a gimme. And why not? Last night the Hornets squared up against a streaky team with a poor record and David West was suiting up for the first time in six games. Easy win, right?
Wrong. The Hornets game out of the gate strong, winning the first quarter by 8, but then went ice cold from the floor for the remainder of the game. Both teams posted almost identical nmbers in rebounds, assists, blocks, turnovers. But the Hornets went 35.9% from the floor, 23.8% from deep, and 78.8% from the stripe, and the Warriors were able to walk away with the W.
The only Hornet who shot with any consistency was Paul. He dropped 31 points along with 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Unfortunately, CP's one man show routine resulted in 6 turnovers. Absolutely unacceptable when you play a team that thrives on the fast break.
Truthfully, we didn't learn anything new from this game. The adage sticks: the Hornets stand a great chance to win if Paul and one other player are hot from the field. As we mentioned before, not one Hornet was "hot" by any stretch of the word. Consider that until late in the fourth, when Peja and DX made a few shots, no other Hornet (besides Paul) was in double figures. I know, I know: Dave Berri teaches us that points are not everything. But you still need them to win.
Not that other Hornets were trying to score; they just couldn't hit their shots. Despite his 15 boards, David only put up 12 points on 16 shots. Granted, some of those shots probably shouldn't have happened, as DX would have been better served to pass out of coverage, but for the most part he was missing shots he normally hits.
The bottom line in this story is that the Hornets gave up a close game to pretty good team. We can chalk it up to poor shooting, but I can't help but worry that we actually looked worse with West in the lineup than we did without him. Let's hope the guys find their stroke soon because we're going to need it for San Antonio and Portland.
Couple of observations before I leave you:
- David looked strong coming out the gate. He missed a few shots early on, but he finished the first half with 8 points and 10 boards. I was kind of hoping that he could manage a sort of "statement" game to quell his All-Star detractors. Looks like the opposite actually occurred. Bummer.
- We made four field goals in the second quarter and blew an 8 point lead. I know we don't usually win second quarters, but that one hurt.
- Peja only scored 11 points on 11 shots. The lone three he made came late in the game (off a ridiculous pass from Paul). It was prety clutch since it was a must-hit bucket that put us in striking range, but that moment was unable to erase the horrible performance that was the rest of the game.
- Julian Wright got some minutes tonight. He came in with a lot of energy, forcing turnovers and using his octopus-like powers to shut down shooters. But then he started biting on double teams and leaving his man wide, wide open. Doesn't matter your wingspan, no one was guarding those shots.
- Corey Maggette caught fire late in the fourth, hitting four shots and a handful of free throws that prevented the Hornets from ever getting any momentum. Hate it when a player seems so unstoppable when you absolutely need a stop.
- The Warriors trotted out a lineup in the fourth of Ellis, Jackson, Maggette, Turiaf, and Biedrins. I remember thinking, "Wow that's a pretty good group, there. Wait, why does this team suck again?" Perhaps missing Ellis hurt them early in the season, but this team could end up making a run later in the season if it keeps sneaking up on teams like us.
- Ronny Turiaf is starting to look a lot like 70s-era Sonny Rollins. Just saying.
Photos courtesy of espn.com
Composed to: Beck's Sea Change
The opponent's take: Golden State of Mind