The Hive Five: Game Seventy-Five

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

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

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

Playoffs, here we come!

He stole my basketball! Waaah!!!!

We’re finally in, after a few seasons of mediocrity, and boy does it feel good. This game almost ended badly, though. The game defining run took forever to come, but come it did. Unexpectedly, we have #3 to thank. CP registered his 11th 25-15 game of the year, extending his lead over the rest of the league combined to 3. That fake pass dribble thingy on the break? I don’t think anybody, including David West, realized what just happened until they showed the replay. Every time you think he can’t play any better, he just pulls out something new. Of course, that makes comments like Kenny Smith’s sound insane: “I’d have Jason Kidd starting on the Olympic team instead of Chris Paul.” Good thing he’s not coaching. You could really sense CP and Bonzi gelling offensively in this game. They frequently talked strategy (the wild gesticulations gave it away…) on the bench, and both knew the other’s location at all times. That’s the sort of thing that really helps come playoff time; Byron Scott has done an amazing job acclimating Wells with various floor combinations. He knew where to position himself for boards when Chandler was on the floor, and changed his positioning well based on who was out there with him. That’s something you didn’t see every time in his initial Hornet appearances. This guy grows on me by the game.

Okay, now onto the bad. The defense we played was absolutely inexcusable. Letting the New York Knicks shoot 57.5 eFG% from the floor is jaw-dropping for a team that’s supposedly a top 10 defense. Tonight was not a case of bad shots dropping for New York; instead guys like Nate Robinson and Mardy Collins drove through the paint unopposed. This latest downtrend on defense has been troubling to say the least, especially when you consider it’s come against the likes of New York, Indiana, and Cleveland (you might even argue that the Miami game could’ve used some better D). The key thing to note is that the Hornets haven’t been a team that flips the switch on and flips the switch off this year. Granted we had a couple close ones against Memphis, but in general, New O has smashed poor teams defensively. I’m feeling mighty nervous about Sunday’s GSW game.

I thought Peja’s two aggressive takes to the rim were impressive. He gets blocked down there more than anybody on the team, but his strong lay in over David Lee with 4 left was reminiscent of Jordan (and by Jordan, I mean a 5 year old Mike).

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NYK

92.0

119.6

57.5%

22.5

29.4

17.4

NOR

128.3

56.0%

28.6

22.5

6.5

1. Shooting (X) We shot the lights out, but they shot the… chandeliers out. I can forgive Zach Randolph going 10-18 from the floor, because he’s a troubled talent. Jamal Crawford also got most of his off jumpers. Nate Robinson, and Mardy Collins, though, seemed to drive at will. I sure hope all this changes on Sunday.

2. Turnovers () 15 assists and 2 turnovers for the MVP. Remember when every time somebody mentioned assist to turnover ratio, Jose Calderon was the first guy they’d praise? Well, those days are over.

3. Offensive Rebounding (X) When there’s a lack of effort, the first things you see go are defensive intensity, and rebounding. We saw both leave the building early. Chandler led the way with just 8 boards, while New York had two 8-rebound guys en route to out-boarding us by 7. All that said, Bonzi Wells was a beast on the glass. He picked up 5 in 21 minutes, in addition to barely missing another double digit scoring night.

4. Free Throws () Great to see CP gets his FT stroke back. He hit his first 12 before finally missing. Another thing missing today: the MVP chant wasn’t too audible, and Hornets’ fans got made fun of by the NYK commentators. Which was obviously annoying. We finished with 86% shooting from the stripe, and if the playoffs started today, we’d go in as the third best FT% team in the West.

5. Pace (92) The return to New Orleans was nice, and the guys established some tempo; however, I didn’t like the energy level again. That lack of energy led to some terrible looking defensive possessions, and lackluster rebounding. Did anyone else think Isiah’s reaction to the loss was really odd? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach have such a big grin on his face on the postgame handshake following a loss. Pat Riley didn’t seem to care at most points during the Heat game, or occasionally showed some emotion; Isiah, on the other hand, almost took some kind of perverse pleasure in watching his team fail (this is all deduced from my unparalleled face reading abilities). One unique thing about this game was our blocking- for all I’ve said about lack of defensive intensity, David West rejected 4 looks, and Chandler sent back three. Finally, the trend of Peterson starting and Wells closing is slowly but surely getting set in stone as the season winds down.

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. The crowd was strangely more lethargic than usual this game, until the end. Perhaps, like the Hornets, they found it hard to get up for the Knicks.

  2. Haha, that would be a valid reason. Although the Hornets not getting up for the Knicks is less excusable. This game just makes me think we’ll come out and Smash Golden State on national TV though… ahhh can’t wait til’ tomorrow!

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