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Game 74: Hive Five

Now, remember kids, there are only three MVP candidates. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. ESPN has this on lock down, and when have they ever led you astray? There's a reason they call it wisdom of the crowds, okay?

  • 4:41 J. Wright dunk (C. Paul assists)
  • 3:56 D. West jumper (C. Paul assists)
  • 2:39 C. Paul layup
  • 2:01 D. Brown layup (C. Paul assists)
  • 1:19 C. Paul jumper
  • 0:34 C. Paul jumper
  • 0:19 C. Paul FT made
  • 0:19 C. Paul FT made

In the span of eight possessions and four minutes, the Hornets scored 14 points, with Chris Paul accounting for every single one. In eight possessions, the Hornets failed to score once- the time when Paul slipped on a wet spot and the shot clock ran down. While LeBron and Kobe and Wade are having imaginary wars waged on their behalfs, C. Paul is doing his thing and doing it well.

The reason I bring that all up was the guy sitting in front of me. Every time Chris Paul did anything, "carry. That was a carry." Chris Paul drives, spins in the air, finds David West. Carry. Chris Paul crosses two guys, floater, and the contact. Carry. Chris Paul crosses, stops on a dime, dribbles under the legs with one hand, 20 footer. "I could do that with these refs." Yeah, okay, sure. Go back to cheering for Mike Taylor .

It's tough to say that the Clippers didn't win this game for us as much as we did. I mean, if I had to characterize their performance in one word, it would be "stupid." I was quite tentative going into the game, with West, Chandler, Posey, and Peja all injured. But I severely overestimated the Clips.

Let's start with their D on David West. The guy was badly, badly hurt. Everyone could see it. On offense, he got within 15 feet of the hoop maybe once all game. Plain and simple, dude was limping up and down the court. And yet, the LAC bit on pump fake after pump fake after pump fake. 'Bite' is something of an understatent. Randolph, Kaman, and Associates charged towards him like rampaging rhinoceroses. There were so many things they couId've done to him tonight. Even the most terrible of traps could have had West in serious trouble, due to the lack of mobility. Yet, LAC decided not to bring help even once. Instead, the single coverage defender routinely flew past, leaving West an easy pass or shot. It pained me to see such abysmal defense, even if it was by the opponent. Of course, credit to West for gutting through it. 19 points on one foot is commendable, regardless of the opponent. Byron Scott had a nice hug for West when he took him out, something he normally doesn't do, and all the bench was standing up to congratulate him.

The Clippers bombed the hell out of the net from long range. While 11 threes went down, I'm still filing this in the stupid category. It's simply not good strategy to rely on the three so heavily when the opponent is missing its starting center, has its backup center in foul trouble, and its starting power forward playing on one ankle.

Finally, the in game entertainment.... UGH. I swear, they turn the music volume up to twice what the Lakers do in the same building. The PA guys routinely missed the start of play (following timeouts, etc.), blasting music for a good 5-10 seconds of any given possession. The main entertainment was provided by some fellow named "DJ Dense." I don't believe that requires further comment.  Chants of "Fire Dunleavy" rang out every time the Clips called for time. It was more a circus than a basketball game. Okay, I'm done ranting about the LAC. 

Anyways, some bullets:

  • CP was also a demon on defense. At one point in the fourth, he came up with 3 steals over 6 possessions, including steals on back to back possessions. As Lee noted in the game thread, apparently this is Paul's 5th 30 pt/10 ast/5 stl game of the season. Sure, it's a cherry pick state, but the rest of the NBA, combined, has zero.
  • What happened to Chris Kaman? I'm assuming he was playing with some sort of injury... because he looked really slow. I mean, he was struggling to keep up with David West. This is certainly not the Kaman I remember, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and call it the flu.
  • Devin Brown played some very nice minutes. 10/4/2 and a team high +13 is nothing to sneeze at. I would have loved to see Mo knock down a couple more shots, but the bench is rounding into very good shape as we approach the playoffs. Between the new and improved Hilton, Sean Marks, Mo, Brown, and Daniels, this bench is not nearly as bad as people think. Problem is, we need Tyson and Peja to return for it to mean anything.
  • Julian Wright had the jumper going, the defense flowing, the boarding... rowing. Okay, I'm running out of words. JuJu really only had a couple plays specifically set up all game (the vicious alley oop comes to mind). Most of his 18 points came off his hustle, or his confidence in stepping into open jumpers. It seems sort of silly to say it, but he is this team's X-factor. He is the one guy that could potentially put this team over the top, because what he brings is not guardable. You can shut down the three shooting of a Peja, but how do you defend hustle? The JuJu Starter/Peja Bench bandwagon? I'm the conductor. All Aboard!
  • I do have one nice thing to say about the Clips. Eric Gordon and Baron Davis play off each other real well. They know of each other's presence at all times, and do a great job of setting up threes. It's a somewhat short backcourt, but with a healthy Davis, a more than adequate one.

Hornets stay in the Golden State for one more game, before it's back to business.