Phoenix 109 (29–21) | New Orleans 100 (26–22)
It was closer than the score looks thanks to a last minute push by the Bees, but I think this one would be easier to break down with some good old fashioned "pros" and "cons." Who's with me?
- After defeating the Grizz on Saturday, the Hornets cam in today and almost upset one of the better Western Conference teams... without the help of CP.
- DX battled hard all night versus Amare Stoudemire, which is no small task. He showed a little reticence to attack early on, but got comfortable pounding the rock in the second half. He finished with 20 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 0 turnovers in 38 minutes.
- Our rookies continue to shine despite the heavy burden placed on them by CP's injury. The two combined for 41 points, 18 assists, 8 boards, 2 steals, and 6 treys tonight.
- The Bees won the turnover battle and held the Suns to a paltry 6 for 21 from beyond the arc.
- CP has impeccable sartorial tastes.
- We drew so much iron. So much. Yes, we shot 45% as a team, but I've never seen so many in-and-outs.
- The Suns shot 51% from the field. This was partially due to the fact that the Suns can just plain shoot, but it didn't help that Robin Lopez, Amare Stoudemire, and Channing Frye exploited mismatches all night long.
- Mekatron played 24 minutes. How are we sitting our (very good) center when we're getting out-rebounded in a tight game? Sure, he only had a few boards while he was on the court, but the Suns' big men were abusing Songaila all night. I mean, it's not like Mek's jumper was off. What gives, Bower?
- Despite great performances (and steps forward) for the rookies, they still made quite a few mistakes. Both guys tried to do a little too much, which resulted in a handful of really poorly selected shots and 7 combined turnovers. They are making steps forward, but they've got to reign it in a bit. Remember the rules of teamwork: "Don't be a hero. You have teammates. And they love you... if your name isn't Mike James."
More (insightful!) thoughts after the jump.
Overall, we played this team close and closed the deficit to 3 in the closing minute. We just couldn't quite pull it off. Sure, CP probably could have helped close that gap and ice the game, but let me ask you a question: if we're headed to the lottery, is it so bad to let our rookies work out their big stage jitters a bit?*
*Sorry to sound a little fatalist, but even with a healthy CP this team didn't quite look like they were ready to compete with the likes of the Lakers or the Nuggets. I may be alone in this, but if we don't really have a shot at contending, I'd rather get a lottery pick than get embarrassed by a 1 or 2 seed.
Still (the point, I know), if we're looking towards the future, then maybe letting the rookies get some meaningful playing time (especially against good teams like the Suns) could really help down the road. I mean, think of what would've happened if we gave JuJu that chance. Or Hilton? Ok, maybe not Hilt, but you get the point.
One final thought for you: I brought my girlfriend to this game, and she remarked that, for someone who recently had surgery on his knee, CP sure was using it a whole hell of a lot. I mean, I love having CP on the bench during games (not the whole game). He'll direct guys, cheer them on, and basically run the time outs. He did all of that tonight, but all that standing, sitting, standing, etc. seems like it might be hurting more than it's helping. I'm not a doctor or anything, but maybe one of these would help. Just a thought.
See you guys Wednesday.
Composed to: ABC's The Lexicon of Love
Opponent's Take: Bright Side of the Sun
Suns vs Hornets boxscore