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New Orleans Hornets Defeat The Denver Nuggets

Monty Williams is in disagreement with Swarm and Sting's predictions....

With 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter the game was close with the Nuggets battling to retain their lead. But as with most games Chris Paul entered and took control both offensively and defensively leading the Hornets to a 101-95 win. The Nuggets battled hard throughout the game always hanging round. And because of that they took the lead late in the 3rd as New Orleans shot a mediocre 7-19 from the field.

Don’t be fooled about the 101 points, this game was won with defense. Let’s head over the jump because the Hornets are 2-0!

Good Stuff:

  • I’m hoping with most recaps I can start off with the “Good” and start off with Chris Paul because my goodness did he play well down the stretch. For most of the game CP was very quiet. In fact Paul didn’t start getting involved until to the mid-late portion of the second quarter when he hit a layup and an assist to Marcus Thornton for 3. Paul ended the game with 18 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds, Oh and umm…0 turnovers! Well done CP.
  • Since this game was about defense you have to give props to Emeka Okafor because defensively he was outstanding. Remember last year how the Hornets were one of the leagues worst when it came to defending the paint? Well how about only giving up 34 points in the paint today. This credit goes to Emek who is officially back from his trip to Africa with Michael Douglas (See Bucks Recap). Number 50 finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds and an amazing 4 blocks.
  • With everyone harping on about how Indiana got the best of the four team trade I think the Hornets may be sneaking up on the pundits wary predictions. Trevor Ariza showed his value tonight harrassing Carmelo Anthony throughout the game. While Anthony posted decent numbers he never seemed comfortable in the game, never really “taking over.” Ariza finished with 4 steals once again and is adding immense value to this team.
  • I really wanted to write about David West first or second but the defensive effort by the formentioned players was to much not to talk about. But don’t feel as if DW didn’t play well because he really did. David had a bigtime miss match against Sheldon Williams and for the most part took advantage in the post. Defensively he was solid, grabbing rebounds and making sure his help defense was better. I know Ariza and Okafor were outstanding defensively but David deserves props for how he’s been playing “team defense.”
  • After mentioning most of the starters I think it’s time to talk about the good side of our bench. In the second quarter most of the bench were subbed in and put the lead out to around about 10. It’s exactly what I wanted. Willie Green was being aggressive driving and dunking and hitting some nice jumpers, Thornton showed his value once again finishing with 10 points on 4-9 shooting (2-2 from three). As well Jason Smith contributed with 6 and Peja with 7. It’s tremendous to see the bench being able to score as they had 37 points. If you had told me that before the season I’d had burst out laughing.
  • More of a team thing but for the most part it was nice to see us rebounding the ball. Sure we lost the battle (37-35) but we won the war (The game). The key for this team is not to have those nights where we get out rebounded by 10+.

Bad Stuff:

  • I have to say that for all the praise I gave the bench just then, they took most of it back when they gave up a lead in the 4th and let Denver extend it a bit. If it weren’t for Chris Paul I would say this would have been a lose. I mean things happen, it’s sports, but we have to make sure we don’t let teams get a jump on us like that.
  • While it says D.J. Mbenga had a +10 on the (+/-) I have to say I am very unimpressed with him. He makes a tonne of mistakes on defense and at this point is probably our biggest liability back on that end. Offensively he contributes nothing, but that is somewhat expected. If he is to remain the backup center he has to add value on the defensive end or the name Aaron Gray will be shouted from the bleachers.
  • Bayless needs to make better passes he had 4 turnovers tonight.
  • Not entirely a bad thing but Marco Belinelli was off tongiht. It’s to be expected, but as long as someone picks up the slack then it’ll be alright. Just to sort of combine the two, Marcus Thornton and Belinelli were a combined 6-17 from the field for 15 points, not entirely all that bad.

Other observations:

  • Where’s the crowd guys? I mean I know the whole CP3 thing would’ve scared off some fans but I mean come on, there were a tonne of seats in the Arena tonight (and against the Bucks too).
  • I was reading on some Denver sites and they really thought they lost that game more than we won it. I’m sorry guys but the Hornets led for most of the game and even when you were winning you looked awkward doing it. Sure you’re a great team, but if it wasn’t for all those 1st half free throws (24 of them) you would’ve been in some serious trouble.
  • Our commentators a bias as heck. Gil and the white guy, don’t know his name said a variety of things that had me cringing saying, “Umm that’s not the case guys.” They would say something really stupid like “Williams got lucky there” or “Melo scores despite the great defense by Ariza.” Sure in some cases it’s true but don’t talk about how a player got lucky or fortunate. I know with all local TV stations the commentators are going to be seriously bias, but can we not end up in the Clippers mold (they compared Craig Smith to Lebron James…).

Next up is San Antonio tomorrow at the A&T Center.

Key Word: Toughness

Topics: Aaron Gray, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, D.J. Mbenga, David West, Denver Nuggets, Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith, Jerryd Bayless, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Thornton, Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets, Peja Stojakovic, Trevor Ariza, Willie Green

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