I owe you kids a recap (or two). I know, I'm a slacker... happy holidays.
Against the Warriors, the Hornets did not look good. But they did get the win, so there's that.
Looking at some of the stats from the game against the Warriors, I'm not sure you would've believed the Hornets were on their way to a win. In the first quarter, the Warriors made 60% of their field goals. During that same stretch, the Hornets only managed to rattle home 42% of their shots... and still led 27-26 at the end of the quarter. That was thanks in large part to a strong rebounding effort. The Hornets, led by Big Oak with 14 (9 of which were offensive), cleaned up on the boards. Final tally in that category? 52-38.
The Warriors finished the first half with 57% shooting. But the Hornets were able to continue outrebounding them, and the good guys got to the free throw line and also connected on some three pointers to end the half up 58-56.
Luckily, the rest of the game featured more down-to-earth numbers from the Warriors. There were some worrisome moments when it looked like the game was going to slip away, but the Hornets managed to hang on for a 108-102 win in a tight contest (neither team ever led by double digits). You can't exactly complain about a win, but when your team just barely squeaks by a depleted Warriors squad... it's hard to get enthused. Just take it as more proof that the Hornets are tought to beat at home and really, really.. really.. terrible on the road. More thoughts after the jump.
- Monta Ellis was just about unstoppable. He went into halftime with 23 points on scorching hot shooting. Of course, it's easy to be scorching hot when no one is preventing you from driving to the basket. I know Chris Paul is playing on an injured ankle... but I'm not sure we have anyone that can effectively guard Monta -- even when our guys are completely healthy. The Warriors guard made it to the hoop time after time. It was similar to a game he played against the Hornets two years ago that the Warriors ending up winning.
- LSU alum Anthony Randolph blocked 6 shots in the first quarter. Yes, 6 shots. Re-read that: the man had 6 blocks in a 12-minute period of basketball. That doesn't happen. Except in NBA Jam.
- Another Warrior that really impressed me? Stephen Curry. He finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Those are the types of numbers Chris Paul put up in his first couple of seasons. Hats off to Dell Curry's son. He looked good out there. Except for one notable moment...
- At one point, Stephen Curry recovered a loose ball and was taking it up the court. He got to the top of the key, and Chris Paul basically just picked up Curry's dribble. The rookie had no idea anyone was tailing him and -- for a brief moment -- actually kept moving forward as if he still had the ball, while CP trotted off in the other direction (Stephen then fouled Chris to prevent a fast break).
- I'll take this opportunity to highlight one of the Hornets. Not Chris Paul who put up a (for him) routine 20 pts, 7 ast, 5 rbd, and 1 stl. Not David West who had 14 pts and 8 rbd... a stat line that's become a good night for the moody forward. And not even Peja who contributed 13 pts on decent shooting.
- Rather, I'm going to congratulate Julian Wright. His 8 pts (4-6 shooting), 6 rbd, 1 ast, 2 stl, and 1 blk isn't a particularly noteworthy performance. But this was his best game of the season. Not just for what he gave the team in 20 minutes of action... but for how intelligently he played out there. Of the 15 or 16 times he touched the ball, he did the right thing every single time except once in the second quarter when he made an ill advised outlet pass after pulling down a defensive rebound. Other than that, he was solid. And it was great to see him out on the floor in productive minutes.
I'll be honest... I just barely tuned in and out of the Hornets-Bulls game, so I don't have much to contribute in the way of commentary. And I unfortunately can't explain the trouble we've seen on the road. How your team lets the Vinny Del Negro-led Bulls go on a 42-13 run over the second and third quarters is beyond me. These Hornets are just a completely different animal on the road. And I can't help but remember 07-08 when they went 5-1 on a tough end-of-season road trip (with the only loss coming against the soon-to-be champion Boston Celtics). Sigh. We're living in different times.
Hornets at Rockets tonight. 7 pm. Check it.