The Hive Five: Game Fifty-Six

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

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

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

A 4 game sweep of the Phoenix Suns? Just another story of this Hornets season. We’ve now beaten the Marion version, the visibly worse Space Cadet adaptation, and the surprisingly good Shaq-and-Marion-less edition.

Unbeknownst to many, Tyson Chandler learned his mad ball-handling skills from the Diesel himself.

This game started off with a really strange feel- that’s probably the most fouls I’ve seen called in a first quarter in a really long time. Also mysterious tonight was how many fouls Shaq got away with. The play where he slapped Pargo right across the left arm with a ref standing right underneath them? The play of the night was obviously Tyson doing his best Dwight Howard impression; the craziest thing was how strong he finished that dunk given the distance he took off from. Random notes: I’m glad we traded Bobby and not Pargo. I’m not basing that off one great Pargo shooting game but instead on the fact Pargo takes more shots in the rhythm of the offense than Jackson did. This is quantifiable by the 62% AST rate PArgo has on his jumpers, as opposed to Bobby’s 42%. Wells sat this one out with a bruised Achilles, so he’ll still be looking to contribute to his first Hornets’ win next time out. Phoenix sorely lacked a guy who could guard West (Marion) or Paul (again, Marion) with any sort of consistency tonight. West is becoming increasingly adept at drawing fouls, whether on the drive itself or with good position down low. As our FT/FG numbers have shown all year (and for a few years now), we’re dead last when it comes to getting to the line, but if West can develop this aspect of his game some more, we’d be set. Speaking of the factors, today saw one of the more interesting lines we’ve had this year. And one last thing- if you watched the ESPN highlights linked above, the commentator’s “he’s nauseous, he throws up” in reference to Paul lobbing to TC is one of the more inventive phrases I’ve heard in a while.

 

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

PHO

99.0

104.0

54.1%

32.9

13.9

18.2

NOR

 

121.2

57.8%

17.8

13.9

11.1

1. Shooting () How crazy was that third quarter? Watching the Hornets play the Suns has been awesome all four times this year, simply because both teams have run their offenses so well. While I wasn’t surprised to see Steve Nash shoot so infrequently, I was surprised by him playing only 31 minutes. And while the Shaq-Marion deal has been maligned heavily (and rightfully so), one thing O’Neal definitely does is create space on the floor for Amare and Co. Including tonight, STAT (one of the stupidest nicknames in the League, by the way) has averaged 30+ since the Space Cadet made his latest stop among Earthlings.

2. Turnovers () After that brief lull in picks, it’s been nice to see Paul back on track in the steals department. While he’s no Eddie Jones, Paul now has 18 steals in the past 5. And a day after turnovers (and missed FT’s) doomed New O against the Wizards, CP and crew took great care of the ball.

3. Offensive Rebounding (X) The biggest change from last time due to Shaq was our performance on the glass. I just checked our first 3 OREB% performances against the previously Marion-led Suns: 27.8, 32.6, and 26.5. Tonight, we had one of our worst games on the O-glass, at just 13.9. That said, Tyson did make his presence felt, posting his first double double in the last five games. David West weirdly had just one rebound about midway through the third, and finished with just 4. And I realize I’m being greedy here, complaining about a 25-15 night by Paul… but hasn’t waiting for that elusive fourth triple-double been excruciating?

4. Free Throws () I’m tempted to dish out the dreaded red x here, but after last night, it was really refreshing to see New O go 16-18 from the line. Amare did get to the line 10 times, but he’s definitely a very difficult guy to guard. Staying on the subject of fouls, one totally underrated but awesome move by Byron: sitting Tyson all the way from when he picked up his 1st foul to almost 4 minutes left in the second (about 10-11 minutes in total). At the rate fouls were being called during the stretch he sat out, it was way too risky to keep him in. Right when the pace of the game picked up, guys started jacking up threes, and contact was rendered less likely among bigs in the paint, Byron put Chandler back in. The more of these subtleties I see, the more I realize how great a coach he is.

5. Pace (99) “We like to play an up-tempo style,” said CP post-game. By my count, this is the second time in four Suns game we’ve played at their pace. The more of these fast games I watch, the more obvious it is that our offense could function just as efficiently (if not better) at a much faster pace. The downside of that, though, is the hit our defense could potentially take. Point is, we played really fast basketball today, and we played really well. Though we were up comfortably for much of the second half, I really only let out a sigh of relief when Barbosa fouled out. And to conclude, I’d like to present this handy Paul vs. Nash table charting this season:

 

PPG

APG

SPG

TOPG

RPG

+/- avg.

Wins!

Paul

29.0

11.0

4.0

1.0

4.5


+11.7

4

Nash

18.9

10.8

0.3

5.0

2.5

-6.3

0

 

 

Good riddance Phoenix, it’s been fun.
WORDS: || AP (through NBA.com) || Five Observations ||

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

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

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2 Responses

  1. Good stuff. Phoenix looks noticeably better with Shaq off the floor and vice versa. you have to wonder about when the Suns themselves might start admitting to themselves that they made a mistake. Marion guarded from the 1 to the 5 night in and night out.

  2. It was great to see Tyson have such a quality performance, when he’s seemed to suffer against the larger centers this year, like Dampier and Yao. He really played well on both ends tonight. Of course Shaq got his points, but almost all of them were dunks where he caught it directly under the basket. No one can stop him from there.

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