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Game 82: Hive Five

For all the trials and tribulations of 2010, at least the guys went out in style.

Did the suddenly porous defense of Houston ameliorate the process? Sure. But tied up in a neat little bow, we got contributions from each player very symbolic of their seasons as a whole.

Marcus Thornton came with the quick punches, 20 points on just 12 shots. It was the cherry on top of a truly expectation-defying rookie season. Over 37% from three, over 50% from the floor overall (eFG%), and a tendency to carry the bulk of the team's scoring responsibilities when on the floor (25% usage). There will be much, much more to say about Marcus' season and where he goes from here. For now? A lot of us compared Thornton to a young Jason Terry, in terms of shot selection, offensive style, and even the quick release of each shot. MT has had a clearly superior offensive rookie year; he's surpassed Terry in virtually every meaningful category. Indeed, much of Terry's value (value he still retains much of today) came from the tremendous growth he experienced from Year 1 to Year 2, but at the moment, Marcus is well ahead of schedule. 

Collison flashed the scoring ability he's shown all year, the ability to create with ease, and also the turnovers, which like them or not, have certainly been a part of his game. Losing Chris Paul always meant this season would be a disaster, but can anyone honestly say watching Collison this year hasn't been fun? There's so much CP to his game, and yet so much else that's vastly different and uniquely DC (I still say Collison can shake a man one-on-one better than Chris can).

And DX always seems to have these late season surges. Tonight's game was eerily similar to this one from 2007- Hornets out of the playoff picture but West still playing hard every minute. I don't want to say I'm "looking forward" to the end of West's contract in 2012, but the ability to restructure contracts is always helpful. And yet, West surely has at least two more quality, if not All-Star caliber seasons, left in him.

Okafor too had a game that exemplified his season- pretty good rate wise, but left on the bench for long periods. Mo-Pete was unusually effective, as was James Posey. While Darius Songaila had an off day to end things, Julian Wright was able to bring some modicum of energy in another lost season for him.

Sixteen teams head into post-season play on Saturday; we, on the other hand, can turn our eyes to the one thing we've really won in the last year- the draft.