Moving!

What’s up everyone? I’m pleased to announce that ‘At the Hive’ is now part of the Sports Blog Nation. You can find me over at www.atthehive.com. It’s been a very fulfilling 13 months of blogging at this location, and I’m looking forward to the new site. You can expect to get the same bad jokes, just in a cooler looking format. I’d like to thank all my readers tremendously as well as Ron Hitley of H247 for continually linking to my work.

This site will remain up for archival purposes.

Hive Drive ~ Game 4

Pretty lame, now all my predictions have come to naught. The series is tied 2-2, and all of a sudden there is a pretty big chance that we might actually lose. The defending champs definitely did not play like this in New Orleans, let’s hope that doesn’t change for Game 5. Still, one good thing about this game, it keeps the streak going, every team wins at home, meaning the Hornets get the series in 7. But anyways, onto the actual game:

1) The Spurs were fantastic, it kills me to actually say that. Expect atthehive to tell you to “tip your hat to them” (like he does every time we lose a game), because Tim and Tony were consistent throughout the game with their shooting and that’s what kept the lead going. That and the Hornets struggling to shoot. But, some credit is deserved by Duncan, who had 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Compared to the first two games, he’s picked it up pretty well (perhaps it had something to do with his fever, but I’m saying it was the Hornets’ defense). One of Coach Scott’s key points was keeping T-Park out of the paint, well, he got there every time and hit almost every layup; he finished with 21. Obviously something needs to be done defensively on Parker driving to the hoop. Ginobli wasn’t great, but he somehow finished with 15 points.

2) The decisive third quarter struck again, for the Spurs, who outscored New Orleans 30-19 in the period. The Hornets were down 13 at halftime, an amount they could have come out of. Unfortunately, the Spurs of San Antonio stayed hot the whole time, and the Hornets shooting started getting worse. The Spurs got up 20 and stayed there pretty much for the rest of the game. That became a huge hole to climb out of, especially when Timothy and the Spurs stayed consistent in putting points up.

3) Chris Paul was on fire in the first half, partially, too, in the second; he absolutely could not be stopped. He had 14 points before the break, and 9 after; he certainly did his job, but only got 5 dimes to go with his points. Obviously the major reason had to be the otherwise-hot David West, who shot a pretty pathetic 4-15 from the field. Fluffy was certainly pissed throughout the game, he was pretty angry and aggressive to the hoop. Hopefully the 17-foot assassin can bounce back in New Orleans, we’ll certainly need him to do well in order to get a win. Tyson got in bad foul trouble early in the fourth, but at that point I think we had already lost. He had just 4 rebounds, perhaps a reason why the Hornets were out rebounded 45-36.

4) I don’t know what to put here, so I’ll say Ime Udoka was pretty solid today, finishing with 15 points. I’ve always liked his name because I thought it was pronounced I’m Udoka. Unfortunately it’s pronounced ˈiːmeɪ juːˈdoʊkə, (or Ee-May Udoka for all you people who don’t memorize dicionary pronunciation keys), which obviously is not as cool. Lame.

Hopefully the Hornets will win again in the Big Easy, that’s a big game right there. We will have to wait and see if the two teams continue their home court dominance, which we all hope does happen. My prediction? At this point, following the oh-so obvious trends we’re seeing, Hornets in 7.

Look below for atthehive’s patented “Hive Five” style recap.

The Hive Five: Game Ninety-One

Sigh.

“Guide us, O Great Leader.”


First and foremost, don’t bring any referee complaints into this one. We got outperformed in every possible manner. Rebounding? Check. Tim Duncan very nearly outrebounded our starters by himself. Turnovers? Check. Chris Paul forced and forced and forced (uncharacteristically). Aggressiveness? Check. The Spurs went to the line twice as often as the Hornets, and though Duncan got numerous touch fouls, the point is he got touch fouls going towards the hoop. Shooting? Of course a check.

Then there’s the one thing we have to change back in New Orleans: don’t bring the double on Duncan until he puts the ball on the floor. Timmah’s a terrific passer from the paint, and given the opportunity, he will pick you apart. It’s far easier to pass while holding the ball instead of dribbling it. Throw in the fact that Duncan usually goes into this weird little bendy thing with his head projecting far ahead of his body whilst driving, and it makes it even more obvious that he needs to start dribbling.

Why was our defense so bad? Reason #1: defensive switches. I counted at least seven occasions where Chris Paul, Mo-Pete or General Pargo were walled off by a screener, the screener’s defender took the original dribbler, and another Hornet rotated to guard the screener himself. This left CP3, MP, JP, whoever it was floating around guarding nobody. Byron Scott seems highly wary of the mismatches produced by the screen game, but this strategy is just ridiculous. As long as the offense reorients itself, and kicks two shooters outside before the defender realizes where his new assignment is, there’s going to be a wide open jump shot every time. The best option would be to go over screens as much as possible and let the help defense come to the rescue. TC and DX are underrated as far as the rotation D they provide. We can sit here and say “oh, they won’t shoot like that again,” but what if it happens again? The Hornets can’t afford to lose the next game, fluke or not, so they need to guard both the jump shot and the drive.

Our defense also suffered due to our closeouts on jumpshots. Were they lacking? No. In fact, they were probably just as solid as the closeouts we made in Games 1 through 3. The problem was who was closing out, not how or how often. Tyson Chandler and David West were forced to contest jumpers in the corner on too many instances- a couple of times, they already had box out position before being forced to vacate the area. The stat sheet will say the Hornets got crushed on the D-glass (37-26), but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort as in Game 3. With DX and TC unable to get rebounds, and Peja stuck at the three point line (where all the cool kids were hanging out tonight), who’s getting the rebound? Chris Paul? The General? Yeah, that’s what I thought. On to the factors:

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NOR

89.0

89.9

43.3%

11.0

21.3

14.6

SAS

112.4

56.6%

18.4

23.5

16.9

1. Shooting (X) David West went 4 for 15, and I credit Oberto almost entirely. Fabricio anticipated every dribble and every cut West was going to make and had great footwork in getting to his spots. Also, just noticed this, but why the @#% did Pargo have 14 FGA? Mike James played much of the garbage time so the 4th quarter didn’t inflate Pargo’s FGA too much. Bonzi Wells had just 5 looks and he converted 3 of them. The General with almost 3 times the attempts of Donatello? Really?

2. Turnovers () As I mentioned earlier, Chris Paul forced the issue uncharacteristically. You could make the case that if he hadn’t, the game would’ve turned into a blow-out much sooner. Forcing comes with its costs, and one of those is turnovers. He finished with 4, but the rest of the team did a good job.

3. Offensive Rebounding (X) I have no doubt in my mind that the player to watch on Tuesday will be one Tyson Chandler. When was the last time he had more fouls than rebounds in a game? Answer: January 24th, 2007. When was the last time Tyson didn’t attempt a field goal? Answer: May 2nd, 2006 when he played 4:53 in a first round game for Chicago. I’m calling a 20/20 right now. You heard it here first. Mark it down. Book it.

4. Free Throws (X) I’m tempted to give a check because as much as San Antonio drove, they didn’t draw *too* many fouls. But when the leading foul drawer on the team (Paul) goes to the line 4 times, you have a problem.

5. Pace (89) Exact same pace as last game. Some final notes: Pops played Kurt Thomas a mere 8 minutes in this game. To me, that’s a great coach at work. Instead of worrying about his player’s ego, etc, he went with the guy who was getting the job done (Oberto) even though Thomas had played double digit minutes in 16 straight games. Expect to see Oberto back on West in Game 5; I wouldn’t be surprised if Fabricio were made the starter. Melvin Ely played exactly four seconds and still somehow registered a -3 differential on the game. After going a combined +48 in two home games, Chandler has been -15 on the road. Parker and Duncan had more assists than the entire Hornets team combined.

The Hive Five: Game Ninety

They’re four time champs for a reason.

Est-ce qu’ils parlent le français à La Nouvelle-Orléans?”

“Uhhhh…”


It was our second straight Game 3 loss on the road. But unlike in Dallas, we executed well until the very end. Honestly, I can’t complain much about the Hornets’ effort at all. Tip your hat to Tony Parker for a fantastic game, credit Ginobili for being much more aggressive, and credit Duncan for beating West to loose ball after loose ball. New Orleans started off with great intensity but it waned down the stretch. San Antonio’s defensive strength only got stronger. In the end, you knew the Spurs were going to win a game… right? There’s absolutely no way we went to S.A. and swept them. They’re still the champs, they still play inspired defense, and they’re far better and more versatile than the media gives them credit for.

That said, this game eerily mirrors the regular season series. During the season, we won by an average 24.5 points in our wins and the Spurs won by an average 10.5. The Hornets won the first two games of this series by 19.5 and lost tonight by 11. That has to provide some solace. Throw in the fact that we played with nothing more than house money, and I’m already looking forward to Game 3. A quick player by player breakdown:

Chris Paul: What can you say? He came out looking for his own offense more than I’ve seen all season. That’s a sure sign he knew his shot was on. CP3 went 15-25 and torched Tony Parker at will. He made a Dwyane Wade like overhead flip shot. He made Tim Duncan look silly by turning him around and laying it past his outstretched arm. Sure, TP was more than willing to return the favor, going for 31 himself. But has any guy this young and experienced ever had a playoffs like this?

Bruce Bowen switched off the Paul assignment onto Peja, and the stat sheet won’t show how much Bruce hindered Predrag. Yes, Bowen’s the dirtiest player in the league. But he’s also unmistakably a difference maker defensively. He fought through numerous screens and made sure he knew where Peja was in transition. Do those two things and you’ll limit Peja every time. One thing the Serb did do well: taking Bowen off the dribble. He did it three times (surprisingly easily) and we may need a little more of that in Game 4.

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NOR

89.0

111.2

50.6%

18.1

26.8

11.2

SAS

123.6

54.7%

20.0

30.2

11.2

1. Shooting (X) Bruce Bowen killed it again. I don’t know how many more games he’ll burn us before Byron Scott makes a change, but the defense was tremendous in Games 1 and 2 despite allowing Bowen open shots. So I think it’s worth it, at least one more time, to let him shoot and cover everyone else tight.

2. Turnovers () Two outstanding teams playing a very clean game. Every team with playoff aspirations needs to be watching this series.

3. Offensive Rebounding (X) The rebounding started off fine with West extremely active on the boards. Suddenly someone turned the switch off, Duncan beat more athletic Hornets to every loose ball, and I counted two occasions (with the game still in hand) where David didn’t even try to go after a loose ball. Tired legs? I really hope not.

4. Free Throws () Other than the third quarter, New O kept the foul situation under control.

5. Pace (89) This game was dominated by the two point guards. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen two point guards go head to head and play at this high a level; usually it’s one PG playing phenomenally with the other one slightly off or being outperformed. I’ve called Tony Parker the best lay-up maker in the NBA for a long time. He may lack the ability to dunk in traffic, but he can score with either hand, off the glass, over outstretched hands, after double clutches, and on reverses. In fact, he could probably do all five at the same time. And then Chris Paul… Chris Paul…

Chris Paul Blog Day!

Welcome, everybody, to Chris Paul Blog Day! Stay tuned all day (and night probably) to read great insights from some of the best bloggers on the web. I’ll be linking, and providing a small summary of what each article is about. If you didn’t sign up before, feel free to link any work you may have done in the comments. I’ll surely give it a read and link to it. Still not sure what’s going on? Check the announcement page. Many congratulations to Kobe Bryant for his first MVP, but this is Chris Paul Blog Day!

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Sports Attitude kicks off the festivities with the first Chris Paul post of CP3 day, not only talking about Chris’ accomplishments, but also offering constructive criticism of how the MVP is voted on.

With Malice takes advantage of the time difference from here to Japan to get in the first of what will be three posts. Behold Radioactive Chris Paul!

Ironically enough, Kobe will earn his first MVP later on during CP Day. TWolves Blog expounds on why this shouldn’t be the case.

With Malice strikes again, this time via a guest blogger from ‘Five Tool Tool’. He explores how CP’s different from other short guards of our generation.

Hoops Addict put up a great piece last month on CP and the MVP race. Today, they talk about his desire to go beyond individual accomplishments.

Finishing up a terrific trio of posts, With Malice says Paul’s season is merely the tip of the iceberg. Chris Paul Blog Day might just be getting underway here, but they’ve already celebrated the hell out of it in Japan.

What makes a point guard truly great? Khandor’s Sports Blog has your answer(s).

“It’s hard to realize, on a game by game basis, when you’re used to seeing it, that what you’re watching is the future unfolding,” says Hornets Hype. I couldn’t put it better than that.

You know how everyone keeps calling CP3 the second coming of Isiah? Upside and Motor convincingly argues that not only do they have the wrong guard pegged, they’re looking at the wrong sport altogether. Paul’s most parallel star doesn’t even play basketball.

Gaines Family Blog makes, uhh, a more eccentric comparison

He might be 6’0″ on a good day and the smallest player on the court, but Chris Paul will not back down even if you’re Superman. Hornets247 attests to that.

This one isn’t an “official” CP Blog Day article, but it’s a piece about him nonetheless. Don’t let the face fool you, #3 is one guy you don’t want to mess with.

It’s always great to see fans acknowledge opposing players around the league. That’s why this post by 48 Minutes of Hell is so refreshing- it comes from a Spurs’ fan. Much kudos to him, and good luck to San Antonio as the series movies forward.

This was published yesterday at the FanHouse, hat-tip to Hornets Hype for the link: Chris Paul could one day be the greatest of all time.

Huge news: Tyson Chandler contributes to Chris Paul Blog Day! Today is the big man’s daughter’s birthday, so happy birthday to her as well. Check it out! In case you can’t tell, I’m really pumped! Yeah! Wooo! Thanks for your contribution, Tyson.

Sportsology 101 chimes in and looks back at a post they did a few weeks back.

So far (other than the Tyson post) we’ve seen only the on court persona of CP3. Hornets.com rectifies the problem; Jim Eichenhofer talks about Paul as a teammate and his experience working for the Hornets.

So far we’ve had a T’Wolves blog, and a Spurs blog contribute; now here’s the Suns blog ‘Bright Side of the Sun’ with some photoshop wizardry.

The Sports Beat upgrades the day from “CP Blog Day” to ChrisPaulaThon’08. Honestly, I kinda like it.

First, Tyson Chandler, then Hornets.com, now ESPN.com. Ted Bauer contributes to CP3 Day by producing a torrent of video links. Thanks Ted!

Another ESPN contributor, Alejandro de los Rios, details how he went from hating CP to getting to know him on a personal level. Definitely a great read on Blog of New Orleans.

Hardwood Paroxysm does a Photoshop accompanied by a (pretty funny) article. Add “Warrior Paul” to the list of Photoshops for the day, we’ve already had “Radioactive Paul” and “Phoenix Paul.”

On NBA.com: John Schuhmann talks about his own experience with Chris Paul and the humility CP has off the court.

Chef Who Dat writes a message to Kobe Bryant. And rocks a mustard seed yellow, Italian-crafted, double-breasted suit.

Statistics don’t tell the whole story, according to Feet in the Paint.

Fouled Out has a nice collection of Chris Paul videos.

A Kobe Bryant Blog comments that the timing of the day is off (I didn’t know the MVP would be announced on CP’s birthday) but offers a great article about CP3.

The Dream Shake Rockets Blog reflects on a tough season and thanks Chris Paul for keeping the playoffs watchable.

A Brazil based blog normally in Portuguese takes the effort to wish CP3 a Happy Birthday (in English). Feliz aniversário!

It’s not what he’s done, it’s how he’s done it says mW of Hornets Hype. Catch HH’s second post here.

We Rite Goode provides a simple test to see if you’re Chris Paul’s superior… or if you’re Deshawn Stevenson’s inferior.

A letter to Chris Paul from Toronto guard T.J. Ford via Raptors Blog ‘Jamario Moon HQ.’

Hive Drive ~ Game 2

Another extremely well-executed third quarter surge for the Hornets which resulted in another Hornets blowout in the end. Wow, playing like this, everyone hitting shots, crowd going wild, the only wildcard left is how the Hornets play in San Antonio. My prediction, same as the Mavs series, we’ll lose Game 3 or 4, and then finish it in 5. Or maybe 6, if the Spurs are able to redeem themselves and somehow stop the unstoppable force that is the Hornets.

1) Ceee Peee Three was finally an offensive powerhouse again. Since Game 3 of the first round, he was doubled and couldn’t drive to the hoop and score, and we hadn’t seen the dominance he had in the first two games. But today he dominated like the MVP he ought to be. He was able to drive right through Duncan and Parker, and had way too many awesome crossovers and moves in the paint. Wow. He finished with 30 points and 12 assists, of course, finding Chandler on the oop, and most importantly Peja on the three.

2) Peja was awesome himself. I have to look at the box score to see if he actually missed, because he was on fire. Every catch and shoot shot went straight in, all those off balance threes. Remember that one guy on ESPN who said signing Peja was a bust? Well, that guy was stupid, (editor (atthehive)’s note: It was Marc Stein.) Peja has done this the whole season, and once again comes up big in the playoffs. The third quarter ownage was really because of Predrag’s shooting. Oh yeah, finally TNT got some decent coverage on those Peja on a stick heads, they had a nice zoom-in on them after the Peja shots, but still not as many as I originally expected. Better than yesterday, at least.

3) Mo Pete was terrific and was essential to building up that momentum. Morris holds somewhat an underrated role on the team (compared to Paul, West, Peja, etc.), but his hustle and shooting have been key to the Hornets. He shot 5-5 with 12 points, plus he had 3 assists, I think all of which went to Peja three’s. Great effort by him the whole playoffs, Mo Pete is just frickin’ awesome. He doesn’t take over games like Pargo or Paul, but he is the consistent force in the Hornets back court that drives these runs.

4) Do the Spurs just quit after the Hornets start doing well? Seriously, Parker 11, Ginobli 13, and Duncan slightly better with 18. The defense on them was great, I’m not saying it wasn’t, but they were not able to do anything against the Hornets surge. Parker had his fair share good drives and layups, but none of them played with the intensity of a team down 1. D West had a pretty crappy day, 2-11, but the Hornets still won fought through it, proving their versatility.

The way the Hornets have won so far echoes the regular season exactly, with third quarter dominance and subsequent blowout victories. The Hornets won twice against the Spurs in the regular season with a 24.5 point margin, and the Spurs won 2 in a 10.5 point margin. So it’s very likely San Antonio could rattle off two outstanding games back in Texas. But just based on home court advantage, N’awlins will be in position to win it if we can steal a win on the road within the next two games. I honestly have to wait and see how the Spurs play in San Antonio to make better predictions on the series.

Hive Drive ~ Game 1

Well, I caught the game on TNT, and unfortunately I have to say I never saw as many Peja heads, or “Serb-sickles” as expected; all I got were a few fleeting glimpses of them running around after a Predrag triple. But instead of drowning you in my despair about the lack of coverage the Peja heads received on TNT, good news everyone, the Hornets won!

1) The biggest story had to be Hugo as Super Hugo, who later came out as Inferior Hugo in the 2nd half. That was a great dunk, Hugo really had it done through the ring of fire, until the cleanup crew panicked and sprayed fire extinguisher chemicals all over the floor. Not Hugo’s fault at all, but it was funny listening to the TNT commentators poking fun at him. Hugo is in his rookie year in 07-08 here, and he looks to ‘bee’ here for a long time as our mascot.

2) But in all seriousness, David West, AKA the 17 ft assassin, X Factor, Fluffy, etc. was an absolute beast today. His 30 points came throughout the game, he had his right/left hand finishes, off the dribble, and catch and shoots to score, he pretty much did everything. His offensive intensity really carried N’awlins through this one, and then add his 9 rebounds and block. CP3 had an easy offensive option in the 17 ft. assassin, who knocked down everything today, really winning the match-up over Timothy. Every time the Spurs made a slight run, D West came and hit a shot in their face. Kurt and Oberto could absolutely not defend him. Coach Pop will definitely make him a priority on D for Game 2.

3) Chris “MVP” Paul was absolutely fantastic as well, but the stat sheet doesn’t show it as well as the actual game did. The game seemingly started like Game 1 against the Mavs, with Ginobli and the Spurs going up 11. Paul was able to make a lot of good plays, setting up Peja and D West time after time. He ran the offense really well. The 13 assists doesn’t show how many plays he was able to set up. Plus, that run we had in the third, was all Paul with his shots and big passes. And count those last two buckets he made, those were huge in stopping any chance at Spurs comeback.

4) The D on Tim Duncan was fantastic. He was limited to just 5 points off 1-9 shooting, that was the key point here for New O. In the 37 minutes he played, Duncan just hauled 3 in boards, the doubling on him was a great idea. Ginobili and T-Park were both able to get their drive-in layups, but the D on Duncan made the difference. That’s taking out a huge chunk of the Spurs offense, around 20 points which Tim normally gets. Bruce had a good three-point streak, we were scared for a bit, but he failed to do it again in the second half. I don’t think Bruce could repeat that in other games, it’s not much of a concern unless he’s left that wide open too often. Ginobli, though, had 7 assists and his 19 points, and many of those assists went straight to Bowen on threes. Still, the Hornets did a fairly decent job on Parker and Ginobli defensively, and an excellent job on Duncan.

The Hornets continue on the streak they started during the season, winning against the Spurs at home on blowouts. Hopefully Game 2 will be another W, but Coach Pop will be sure to get Duncan involved more offensively and D West covered a lot more. However, expect Fluffy to continue his dominance, I honestly don’t think Francisco and Thomas can guard him at all. Bonzi had a nice 10 points off the bench, hustling on the rebounds, while General Pargo played a more limited role. I still think JP will break through again, so nothing to worry about. And lastly, the CP3-Bowen exchanges were slightly weird and funny. Remember this?

That’s all, expect atthehive to have his usual “Hive Five” later.

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