January 26th 2008, that was the last regular season win for the Hornets at the A&T Center. Since then it’s been a very up and down time for the franchise, but today’s win should show you this is a very different team to the one of 2008, perhaps a better one at that.
The Hornets are 3 and 0. I find it really odd to write such a thing, but it feels oh so good. Today’s game was another example of how the team’s defense has mightily improved because they showed they can defend when needed.
This isn’t a case where Chris Paul and David West are carrying the team, it’s a collective, highly confident team that plays to their strengths and try to be the pace setters.
Today’s game was built on a huge 3rd quarter for the Hornets, the starters came out aggressive trying to get every shot in the book. Then after a little mini Spurs fightback (like 2 consecutive baskets) the bench did their thing working out the lead to 16. I have to say it’s quite invigorating to watch a basketball team play well like this after the past two awful seasons.
So let’s head over the jump to a 3 game win streak, booyah!
- After a poor start Chris Paul did his thing working the Spurs over for 25 points. San Antonio does a good job of taking away the passes Paul usually finds, and force him to be a scorer, he was happy to do just that.
- David West is off to a great start for the year. He’s hitting most of his jumpers, playing tough inside and more importantly doing a good job on defense. Towards the end of the 4th the Spurs showed the true sign of respect, doubling (or attempting to) West in the post.
- Have to love Marcus Thornton‘s performance, he was terrific off the bench. After a poor pre-season Marcus is coming into his own putting up a big 17 points giving the bench some much needed firepower. What I loved was that he was doing it in his old fashion, hitting face up jumpers, driving and the like.
- For all the hate he gets Willie Green did a very nice job tonight. He actually played a little bit with the starters, hitting jump shots and three’s and trying to facilitate the ball a little. His defense is where he shows his true value. Green did a decent job trying to contain Ginobili even if the Argentine was still scoring, he made him work for every point.
- Emeka Okafor is showing us why we traded for him. Tonight he did a fantastic job of running the floor, cutting, pinning his man to work for his points. His free-throw shots look B.E.A.utiful cashing in 3 of 4. Defensively he is making the painted area his making sure that no easy baskets were had, San Antonio finished with 40 points in the paint.
- Trevor Ariza had a shocker, in my mind. He did his best to contain Ginobili, but for the love of god his offense is frustrating. He needs to understand that if he’s driving to the lane, it’s for a dunk or layup, not to facilitate the ball. Catch and shoot or drive and dunk, easy enough to remember aye?
- Jerryd Bayless turns the ball over at an alarming rate. He really isn’t a good passer but you can tell he’s trying to fit into that role. I hope he improves, but for the moment let’s wait and see how he does over the next 7 games before we come to a final judgement.
- The Spurs commentating.
- That 4th quarter run by the Spurs. I mean if Jefferson had hit that three it was a tie game. Listening around the Hornet sites people are a little to dismissive of how close the Spurs really came. Okay sure the NBA is a game of runs, and I knew that San Antonio was going to make theirs sooner rather than later. But it was very concerning with the ease at which they did it. It’s nice that we were about to dispel their run with clutch performances by CP and others. But I think we really need to make sure that teams work hard for their runs.
- So many defensive three seconds, sweet lord oh mighty.
- Other than the 4th quarter I have to say that the Spurs crowd was rather quiet, what’s up with that?
- David West went out with an injury, not sure if it was his back, but he came back in. (Oh nice pun…).
Next game is against the Rockets on Wednesday, a nice long break for the team.
Final Word: Undefeated