The Hive Five: Game Eighty-Seven

WORDS: || AP (through NBA.com) || Five Observations ||

NUMBERS: || Box Score || Shot Chart || Play-by-Play ||

VIDEOS: || ESPN || NBA.com || Yahoo! ||

Woooo! We did it!!

Even the refs must’ve enjoyed the Hornets’ play this series.

Hats off to all the Hornets for an amazing game and an amazing series. Virtually every analyst out there doubted that we could defeat the Mavs, wrote off our regular season as flukey, said we would be doomed by playoff inexperience. Charles Barkley said that if there was one guarantee he could make, it was that New Orleans wouldn’t get past the first round. Only 3 out of 8 ESPN writers picked the Hornets to win the series (all three said 7 games). Mark Cuban went as far as to call out Chris Paul about his “toughness.” (Hat Tip to reader Colin) Is 24, 15, and 11 tough enough for you, Mark?

Chris Paul just put up 24.6 ppg, 12.0 apg, 5.6 rpg, and 2.0 spg for the series to humble his veteran, experienced, “knows how to play the game” counterpart Jason Kidd. I feel giddy thinking about how much this guy is going to improve in the coming years. What more can he possibly do? 30/15/10? I don’t know. Paul’s performance overshadows David West coming into his own in Games 4 and 5. The Mavericks had no answer again for West, who hit 10 of 17 shots on the way to 25 points. He let the game come to him, deftly passing out of the post to set up teammates when he couldn’t get a look himself. West has developed so much as a player this year that his isolation plays have come to be just as reliable as Chris Paul’s. If there were any lingering doubts as to the validity of West’s All-Star selection, you need look no further than this series.

Of course, the play of Jannero Pargo deserves its own paragraph. After dealing with Jason Kidd’s potentially career ending foul in the classiest of ways, Jannero ripped Kidd’s (and other Dallas PG’s) defense to shreds. For the second straight night, he carried the bench on his shoulders with an assortment of tough layups and even tougher jumpers. His defense on Jason Terry was so invaluable that Byron Scott elected to leave him on the floor instead of sending in Bonzi Wells. Some people will certainly be wondering why Wells got as few minutes as he did in the series, but I’m not reading anything into it. This might sound strange, but the series wasn’t as physical as the numerous altercations made it seem. This was especially true on the offensive end for the Hornets where Dallas simply didn’t body up ball handlers as much as it should have. The next series with either San Antonio or Phoenix will be far more physical, and we’ll have an extremely fresh Bonzi Wells to throw at them. It’s simply another example of outstanding coaching by Byron Scott.

Jerry Stackhouse’s outstanding series merits its own paragraph. The versatile swingman broke out and absolutely torched the Hornets with his 12 for 38 in 5 games. He came up with a clutch, game-changing airball down the stretch, had his bench role usurped by Devean “Please Don’t Trade Me!” George, had his dignity smashed to the ground in the form of two massive Tyson Chandler blocks, and got himself thrown out with a move even a rookie wouldn’t be stupid enough to try. And those are merely the Game 5 highlights. Hey Jerry, go ahead, keep calling Coach Scott a sucker. You’re the only one who doesn’t realize how funny that is.

I still remember Baron Davis throwing the ball up court to Jamaal Magloire with the buzzer going off in the background, and Tracy McGrady walking off dejectedly on his home court. It’s been a while since we won a series, but it’s still just as awesome to experience that feeling once again.

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

DAL

81.0

116.0

48.2%

18.3

33.3

9.9

NOR

122.2

53.8%

19.2

31.6

9.9

1. Shooting () It’s amazing that we shot above 50% on a night where Peja went 2 for 12 from the field. But our two stars distanced themselves even further from Game 3 by hitting 20 out of 36 attempts. Jannero Pargo had a little something to say about the field goal percentage as well. How good is the decision to move Bobby Jackson and increase Pargo’s minutes looking right now?

2. Turnovers () The fifth straight game this series where the Hornets had a turnover rate of 11 or less. It doesn’t get better than that.

3. Offensive Rebounding () Dallas did the whole rebounding thing all 5 games this series. But you know what? We made up for it in so many other areas. That alone is enough to make me happy.

4. Free Throws () The best thing about this series: our guys showed the ability to adapt and change what might have been a fatal flaw. Of course I’m talking about fouling. As the series progressed, we regained our biggest defensive weapon and we’ll need it against San Antonio.

5. Pace (81) The slowest game of the series nearly saw us collapse by speeding up the pace too much down the stretch. Thankfully we got the basketball into the hands of free throw shooting extraordinare Peja Stojakovic who more than made up for a bad shooting night by sealing the deal. Some closing notes: another thing the Hornets need to take with them to the second round- the knowledge that a playoff team on the ropes never gives up. New Orleans seemed almost surprised by Dallas’ comeback. A better team like San Antonio will take advantage of that. Julian Wright moves to the center of the key on David West postups far more often and successfully than Morris Peterson. I wonder whether that’s a strategy thing with JuJu’s quick legs or something Mo Pete needs to do more often. Whatever it is, that cut is very effective and makes West’s back to basket game much more dangerous. Finally, Chris Paul’s line tonight: 24 points, 15 assists, 11 rebounds. Baron Davis’ line 6 years ago and virtually to the day in the clinching game in Orlando: 28 points, 10 assists, 11 rebounds. That’s some eerily similar stuff.

WORDS: || AP (through NBA.com) || Five Observations ||

NUMBERS: || Box Score || Shot Chart || Play-by-Play ||

VIDEOS: || ESPN || NBA.com || Yahoo! ||

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5 Responses

  1. Chris Paul and David West. What more can be said? It was a great, great game to attend. The Mavs killed the crowd in the 3rd quarter, but the party was going in the 4th. I never really thought the Hornets would let this one go, but Dallas had a surprising amount of fight in them. I think you’re right to say that the Hornets didn’t expect it. But that’s something to be wary of next time.

    Moving on up!

  2. Spurs are a tough match-up, but I wouldn’t want any other coaching staff in-house to try and figure it out.

  3. Hornets ftw!

  4. I will be at Hornets vs. Spurs game 1 and will have pictures and thoughts on my blog so check them out…. http://www.junior-johnson.blogspot.com

    just like ticktock said… Paul and West… what more can be said?? Nothing…

  5. [...] At The Hive: "Chris Paul just put up 24.6 ppg, 12.0 apg, 5.6 rpg, and 2.0 spg for the series to humble his veteran, experienced, “knows how to play the game” counterpart Jason Kidd. I feel giddy thinking about how much this guy is going to improve in the coming years. What more can he possibly do? 30/15/10? I don’t know." [...]

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