A marquee matchup, a marquee let-down as Paul's Hornets offer no support

Hornets-Jazz: New Orleans Embarrassed By Utah

No defense, no intensity, no heart by everyone not named Chris Paul. It’s not that we lost, because like I said numerous times I expected it, but it’s just that we did it by not playing tight defense and no one really stepped up to help Paul. Jazz fans continually talk about Paul’s inability to step up against Deron Williams, but it’s Paul’s team-mates that haven’t shown up. It’s almost like they don’t care when Chris is giving it his all.

The game was competitive for most of it as the Hornets got within 5, but a couple of great plays by Al Jefferson on both ends of the floor and this game was done. Some will credit the Jazz for doing a great job of stepping up when it matters, but I think we have to acknowledge the fact that New Orleans stepped down.

When Monty Williams demanded intensity the Hornets gave nothing, when Monty asked for execution the Hornets gave turnovers and bricked shots. If New Orleans is to get back to the form they had earlier in the season they have to start right now. Road trips are tough, playing in Utah is tough, but this is the NBA not AAU basketball. If you can’t grind out wins on the road you don’t belong in this league.

I was intending to be more positive because for most the game New Orleans was in touch with Utah. But everything crumbled in a crucial time of the game and that is why I still think this team has a long ways to go.

Good Stuff:

  • I think there’s only one good thing from this game and that is Chris Paul. Last game I had two because you had to find more than one positive, but in today’s game CP was the one and only. You could tell he wanted this game so badly, he knew that if were to pull out this one it might signal to him personally that the team is coming along. It’s a shame that the Hornets team played so badly because Paul and Williams were dueling. CP3 finished with 17 points on 8 shots, 9 assists (2 turnovers), 5 steals and 3 rebounds.

Bad Stuff:

  • So many things to criticize but I’m going to put all of the starters in on this first dot-point. Trevor Ariza did not show up today. When we needed his shooting touch, his aggressiveness towards the basket or even his ability to draw attention he gave us squat. Emeka Okafor was downright “D-League” terrible. He looked like a lost lamb out there and I would have rather of seen D.J. Mbenga out there. David West showed up for one half and Marco Belinelli didn’t effect the game outside of a couple of three’s. These guys need a fire lit under their asses because they seem depressed out there.
  • The bench did us no favours either as they let a 1 point deficit get out of hand to 16. It seems my eyes didn’t fail me when I observed the fact they didn’t gel very well. Jarrett Jack seems tentative at times and cannot run the offense very well. Defensively they give up shot after shot in the paint and there’s not stingy-ness out there.
  • Willie Green gets his own dot point because he is killing me inside. He has brought nothing to the team in the last 5 games, absolutely nothing. I fail to understand how he’s getting time over Marucs Thornton, at least he looks non-retarded out there.
  • If it wasn’t for a few late offensive rebounds the Jazz would’ve killed us in that department. At no point was I confident we would secure the rebound or even block a shot. Our interior defense has regressed to the 2009 version.

Outrageous Observations:

  • Many will say Deron Williams outplayed Chris Paul but if you watched the game at all you would’ve seen that it was the Jazz outplaying the Hornets. Casual NBA fans look at individual comparisons as the same as team comparisons and that does it little justice. Jerry Sloan knows how to game plan against this team, he likes the colours of New Orelans he just has our number.
  • The Spurs cannot lose, they are on a 12 game win streak, god damn.

It’s no time to hit the panic button even if it seems like I painted another bleak picture. This team is still and should be considered a 6-8 seed in the West (and that’s being optimistic). We have to also realise that playing on the road in Utah is always a tough thing to do. Next up is the Portland Trail Blazers and it may appear that Brandon Roy and Joel Prezbylla are coming back for that game, things cannot get worse for this team. Wait scrap that they can…

Final Word: Disheartened

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Tags: Al Jefferson Chris Paul D.J. Mbenga David West Deron Williams Emeka Okafor Jarrett Jack Jason Smith Marco Belinelli Marcus Thornton Monty Williams New Orleans Hornets Utah Jazz

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