The Hive Five: Game Seventy-Three

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

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

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

Nothing like winning a game you have no business being in.

 

It wasn’t a pop your jersey kind of night… unless you were Morris Peterson.

This game was just flat out poorly played; we came up with the win simply because we annihilated them on the boards (way more on that later). I hate to say this, but this was easily Peja’s worst (and laziest) defensive performance of the year. He had no footwork in guarding Turkoglu, and that was what ended up dooming him play after play. He continually declined to come over for help defense, and at least twice tonight I heard another Hornet yelling, “Peja, switch over!” I feel bad slamming him like this, but at the end of the day, that is what happened. What many people fail to understand is that Peja is an integral part of the defense, because he’s on the best offensive player every night. So as he plays, the defense will end up playing, regardless of our possession of perhaps the best defensive point guard in the game, and a great shot alter-er in the middle. And this lackluster effort certainly wasn’t all on Peja. Rashard Lewis was obviously a very difficult matchup for David West, but West was the biggest culprit in not closing out shooters. I realize Orlando is a fantastic three point shooting team, but when you make no attempt to close out a long range gunner, you give yourself no chance. Numerous guys didn’t foul hard enough when they did foul, allowing “easy” three point opportunities. I hope we can come out tomorrow, and take out all of this frustration by smashing Miami. As much as I’ve criticized the guys here, it’s good to keep it in perspective. Off games like this can happen at any time in the regular season and we just won a really off one. We’re 4-1 on a 6 game road trip with the Heat next. And we’re atop the Western Conference. I can’t fault Peja for having an off-night from the floor, since it happens to everybody. Morris Peterson, thankfully, kept us in this game by getting blazing hot in that third period. Without him, I think Orlando wins by double digits. For whatever reason, the guys have lacked energy throughout this trip- that was apparent in Indiana, Cleveland, Boston, not so much in Toronto, but more than ever, tonight.

 

 

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NOR

89.0

110.1

44.8%

24.4

42.9

14.6

ORL

 

109.0

58.8%

13.5

6.3

14.6

1. Shooting (X) Since I already covered the Magic’s shooting, might as well point out some positives here. Definitely was digging the Hilton off glass from 15. If he can develop any sort of consistency on that shot, we might be on to something. And Bonzi Wells just continues to make me look stupid for making fun of his turnaround fallaway. He hit another one today, along with a trifecta. Jeff Bower, you are a genius.   

2. Turnovers () Minus the offensive fouls, we were in great shape on the turnover front. That said, it wasn’t CP’s day as far as passing was concerned. His looks weren’t all that sharp, as exemplified by the play where he threw it away on a fast break.  

3. Offensive Rebounding (√√√√√√) What can you say? THE reason we won this game. We rebounded nearly half of our misses, and we rebounded 95% of theirs. If you ever want to learn how a team can win a game whilst getting outshot by 15% (!!!), go find the tape of this game. Here’s a stat for ya: Jannero Pargo had as many offensive rebounds as the entire Orlando Magic team combined. Dwight Howard had Zero OREB’s. The Magic had the fewest OREB’s in franchise history. We outrebounded them 51-30. You get the picture.

4. Free Throws () Lots of “eh” calls in this one I wouldn’t mind giving back to the Magic. I think Mo-Pete certainly pushed off on the inbounds play, and that it should’ve been a no-call. I think Hilton Armstrong held D-Ho on Howard’s 4th foul (a loose ball foul). And I think every Hornets’ offensive foul call was warranted except for the one where CP pulled up for an 8 footer, and Carlos Arroyo fell to the ground as though he were auditioning for a remake of Saving Private Ryan.

5. Pace (90) Orlando dictated the tempo for the majority of the game. I found it hilarious the Magic commentators sounded like they lamented that CP wasn’t taking over the game. They definitely gave off a “Yeah, we’re winning by 10 now, but Chris Paul is going to take over, just watch” vibe. Which almost didn’t happen. Thank goodness Peja hit the straightaway three, this was a frustrating night he’d be better off forgetting. That’s a good segue to my most crucial observation for the night. I really don’t like the way this team currently deals with frustration (well okay, everybody excluding Chris Paul). Throughout a season, and especially in the playoffs, frustrating moments are going to occur, referees are going to make bad calls, opposing players are going to talk trash. The way you respond when the other squad is in the midst of a 10-0 run, with their home crowd egging them on will determine how good of a team you are. And, as I say, this Hornets roster has a lot of work to do in that regard. Interestingly enough, our two All-Stars lie on opposite ends of that frustration spectrum. My biggest gripe is with David West; every time a call went against him tonight, he promptly got into the referee’s face while heading back on D. The very next offensive play, instead of fixing what he did wrong previously, he’d do the exact same thing (ie, ram his shoulder into his defender) even more aggressively. It was his frustration that caused him to repeat that cycle, and make overly aggressive post moves normally not in his repertoire. Chris Paul was entirely the opposite. For three quarters, he put up jumpers that missed, and crashed into charge-drawing guards. With his back sharply kneed by Dwight Howard, and his team down 10+ on the scoreboard, the dude had to have been mad. But he translated that anger into a visible change in his game; for the last five minutes, there was no way he was putting up a shot unless it was two feet from the rim. There was no way he was getting called for a charge, as he zig-zagged laterally in order to avoid defenders. Every New Orleans player is going to get frustrated. That’s the nature of the game. Whether they follow the lead of their All-Star power forward or their All-Star point guard will determine how far this Hornets team goes in the playoffs.

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

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

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

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3 Responses

  1. Out of the people were don’t let their frustration ruin their game, I think we can add Peja. He doesn’t get mad (even at himself). He gets even.

  2. As a former official at the H.S. and summer collegiate level, I can say that at any officials’ camp, they teach you one thing. Players play the game and officials call it. If players are worried about how the game is called, then they’re not playing.

    That said, I loved Mo-Pete’s veteran effort tonight. That is exactly what we needed, when we needed it. He knew shots weren’t falling for everyone, so he took the lead for us in just flat out-hustling the Magic. He looked like a love-child born from Peja and Ryan Bowen. Gritty performance.

  3. @ Peja

    Well put, he always has that self satisfied grin on his face regardless of what’s going on. I wish all our young guys could pick that up from him.

    @ Mikey,

    Thanks for the officials’ point of view, it seems like too many guys (esp. superstars) just get concerned with drawing whistles instead of trying to score. And LOL at the love-child, hahahahah.

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