The Hive Five: Game Eighty

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

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

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

Wow. I can’t even describe how @#%! angry I am right now. We just lost to a shorthanded Kings team without Kevin Martin. This is the same team that destroyed us a month ago. We’re coming off an ugly loss at Los Angeles. We were a half game ahead of the second seed in the West. I thought the guys would be a tad bit more motivated. I was apparently very wrong, and I’m just flat out disgusted right now.

Contrary to all logic and reason, the Hornets didn’t seem to care much about this game.

Right before the second of Artest’s 3 threes, I just had a gut feeling that if it dropped, we were done. The Hornets proved me right. That last minute was filled with some of the worst basketball we’ve played this year. On the all-important possession on which we needed a defensive stop, we completely hounded them. The shot clock ticked down, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, and it seemed like we could get possession right back, down by 6 and with 30 seconds left on the clock. 9 seconds, 8, 7, 6… and tweet! Personal foul on Peja. A random hand check out on the perimeter when Beno Udrih had nowhere to go. That play pretty much epitomized our awful defense on this night. Of course on the next play, we threw away the inbounds pass. Byron Scott, that was seriously THE worst inbounds play I have ever seen in my life (the one where Mo-Pete’s pass was blocked). I don’t care how well Garcia defended it, absolutely nobody moved! Chris Paul just stood there, David West stood around the same spot, Mo-Pete stayed in the back corner… it was like we expected them to let us pass it in.

But enough about the last two minutes. The rest was pretty bad as well. Beno Udrih had 4 fouls halfway into the second quarter, and didn’t pick up another one all game. That’s totally inexcusable, especially because he came back to bite us by repeatedly breaking Chris Paul’s ankles. A lot of analysts have been knocking Chris Paul’s defense, and I really hadn’t been sure what to make of it. His play tonight confirmed all their assertions- the guy just isn’t a very good on the ball defender no matter how great he is in the passing lanes. Morris Peterson was caught flat-footed on rotations repeatedly. And this is the one that really gets me: why does Julian Wright not play big minutes any more? Byron Scott has some serious explaining to do- Wright comes in for a few minutes, makes a great defensive play, throws down a dunk, and works his butt off, and he’s benched the rest of the game for that effort? For Mike James? Are you kidding me? If there’s one thing this game confirms, it’s that the small ball (two 6 foot guards playing at the same time) experiment is a joke. Tonight marked the first time in a while that David West didn’t start the second with the reserves.

I just don’t understand why Byron Scott is trying all this new stuff with so few games left in the season. Why did we go to Tyson Chandler for awkward looking drives on the first two possessions of the game? For much of the first quarter, it looked like we were fooling around with odd, never before seen offensive strategies. Chris Paul didn’t turn up past the screen once, instead kicking it back to the wing every time. Don’t tell me that’s because of Sacramento’s defense- he had the corner turned every single time and just stopped. Tyson needs to keep some of those offensive rebounds instead of wildly knocking them back towards the hoop. He doesn’t have great touch on those tips, so why not bring them down (especially since he had great rebounding positioning on all of them)? Too many questions. Just way too many questions. I normally might talk about the numerous times David West got hacked under the hoop without a foul call, but honestly, we played such poor defense that I don’t care. Congratulations Hornets, you just defeated yourselves. Congratulations on the Lifetime Achievement Award, Kobe Bryant, it’s all yours. New Orleans, I bet you’re feeling pretty good now about starting the slide down the slippery slope to 5th place in the West. If San Antonio wins tomorrow, we might be in some serious trouble.

Remember when we were on that awesome winning stretch, annihilating teams like San Antonio and Dallas by 20+. Yeah, neither do I.

Pace

Eff

eFG

FT/FG

OREB%

TOr

NOR

99.0

91.9

40.1%

25.6

22.4

17.2

SAC

94.9

53.2%

14.1

12.5

17.2

1. Shooting (X) CP seems to have forgotten how to hit his unguardable floater these last few games. He missed two point blank ones today, which if he makes give us the victory. Last 4 games, he’s shooting 16-48, or 33%. Look for every fickle ESPN, SI, and Yahoo! writer to jump off the Chris Paul bandwagon come tomorrow. I don’t care what they think, I’ll still be riding it- this guy is simply too good and too talented to let this become the norm. He might be struggling now, but picking against him in the playoffs is liable to get you burned.

2. Turnovers () That inbounds turnover really stands out, but in general both teams were even in the category. Tyson Chandler had 4 turnovers (watching the game, it certainly didn’t seem that way), and David West finished with 3. One thing that’s been standing out to me recently: the Hornets don’t take any charges. They aren’t a very athletic team defensively, so not taking charges allows them no chance to stop driving wingmen. John Salmons proved this point twice today, after Kobe burned us last night.

3. Offensive Rebounding () David West led the way with 2 offensive boards, but Tyson Chandler had a really down night with just 1. This was the kind of game where the poor defensive effort could have been overcome by a stellar OREB showing. With Brad Miller out, everything looked to be in our favor, but things just didn’t fall into place.

4. Free Throws () This game was a lot closer than it should’ve been, once you consider how many free throws Sacramento missed. Normally a very solid shooting team, they missed eight out of fourteen attempts. Just odd. We did get to the stripe a ton, and we drew a ton of fouls, but as I mentioned earlier, our propensity to draw fouls gradually decreased. We should’ve taken it hard at the two Kings with 4 fouls- Moore and Udrih- but we didn’t.

5. Pace (99) We played far, far faster than we should have. Sacramento plays a fast paced style of basketball, and it’s embarrassing we couldn’t slow them down with their injuries. They didn’t have their two best players- Martin and Miller- and we still lost? Having taken the cold, cold shower that was the statistics, I feel slightly less incensed. So I might as well insert some of the more positive aspects of the game that I wrote down during the contest: Comcast Sports Net Sacramento did a cool feature on Peja at the beginning; it’s clear that that franchise and city still really miss him. He laughed with the commentators for a while, who kept showering compliments on him. Sacramento looks like it has its frontcourt set for the next decade or so with Shelden Williams and Spencer Hawes. Shelden might be a tad undersized at the 4, but he has tremendous power underneath the hoop and easily outpowered Chandler for one of his shots. His free throw stroke needs some work, but he even showed a nice touch on his jumper. Hawes brought great finesse offensively, and played some very aggressive defense on Chandler. I think Artest got really lucky in hitting that last triple, but overall he carried Sacramento down the stretch. At halftime, they showed some clips of Sacramento’s last “Fan-tastic Finale.” The Maloof Bros were giving away an ungodly amount of SWAG to the fans- plasma TV’s, SUV’s, you name it. So an eventful night in sum: Golden State pulled even with Denver for the 8 seed, Minnesota knocked off Memphis in an epic Western Conference thriller, Mike James (as Ryan would say) “made our eyes bleed,” and Kobe Bryant wrapped up the first MVP of his career without playing a lick. Call me depressed.

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

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

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

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10 Responses

  1. Just throwing this out there… SWAG stands for “Stuff we all get” – so why would things that only one person gets (Plasma TVs, SUVs, etc.) be considered “stuff we all get?”

  2. Ughh…the game was so bad the comments are devolving to grammar issues…and worse, I have nothing basketball related to add. Damn.

  3. “Kobe Bryant wrapped up the first MVP of his career without playing a lick”

    Or, played half the season with a dislocated pinkie while averaging 28/6/5 and leading an injury-riddled team to first place in the West…. but who’s counting.

  4. @bdball3

    Lol, because not only person gets them… the idea is that all of them do.

    @mW

    Hahaha, don’t mind him, he’s just a natural grammar nazi.

    @now

    Look, I’m not going to get into the stats again. Kobe has been far worse statistically than Chris Paul or Lebron James. And I meant “without playing a lick today,” not “without playing a lick this season.”

  5. The playoffs will reveal all. The voters will look foolish (again) if they vote for Paul and he gets bounced in round 1 or 2.

  6. What do the playoffs have to do with regular season success?

  7. Everyboyd already knows Kobe will get the lifetime achievement award like you say. now, just go look at the stats before you talk, please. look at Per’s, offensive rating, defensive rating,,, jeez its not even close. LBJ and CP3 are goign to be robbed. Just plain robbed

  8. I know I lost a lot of respect, MVP-wise, for Lebron when the Cavs started to lose games. I thought the same when Kobe let the Lakers fall to the Griz and Bobs. Only now CP is unable to lead his team to victory against the injury-depleted Kings. So I have to in all fairness be skeptical of him as well. Numbers be damned. Kobe put up 50 in one of those bad losses. Who cares? His team lost. Same goes for CP. If he can’t muster the troops to pull out necessary victories, you have to hold that against him. That said, I hope he rallies the Bees to two huge victories and shows the world why he should be MVP, no matter how that vote plays out.

  9. I agree mw that the Cavs have sucked lately, but hwo can you fault LeBron when hes putting up the stats? I think theres nothing more he can do individually as a player. The rest of the blame can only be placed on his teammates who it’s their fault if they can’t get fired up.

  10. Just throwing this out there… SUV stands for “sports utility vehicle” so why would things we all get be considered “sports utility vehicle”? LOL

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