Thunder-Hornets: Poor Free Throw Shooting Equates To 97-92 Loss

Chouest-Watch is back on as the billionaire sat court-side Friday night

Well for all the off-court mayhem that has ensued over the past week it was finally time to see some proper basketball as the Oklahoma City Sonics or Thunder, whatever you call them, came into town. The key to this game was simple, force everyone other that Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook to score and keep them off the line. The Hornets did neither as the two combined for 54 points, 16 assists and 8 rebounds.

The first half was a good one for New Orleans, probably the best of the season. Things started off well as many players contributed then Jarrett Jack came in and started to really work things playing by far his best game as a Hornet. Things turned sour though with an abysmal third quarter which resulted in just 12 points. It was mainly due to poor ball handling as you couldn’t count the number of turnover on your hand.

New Orleans was resilient always staying in touch, but as the title says poor free throw shooting cost them the win as Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza clanked 5 misses in a row. For good measue Marco Belinelli got in on the action missing one as well for the sixth in a row.

I know they aren’t the best free-throw shooters but the play-calling was all wrong. Rather than get plays for Chris Paul, David West or Marco Belinelli the team went straight to the two worst free-throw shooters on the court. It resulted in a loss.

Tough one to swallow so let’s head over the jump for more head pounding misery…

Good Stuff

  • David West played a stellar game and showed exactly why he’s an All-Star candidate. He finished with 24 points on 18 shots, grabbed 13 rebounds (6 offensive) had 4 assists and 4 steals and all around great performance.
  • Chris Paul had another decent night finishing with 18 points on 10 shots, 7 assists on 3 turnovers and 5 steals. He goes about his business casually and I would say it’s a bit too casual. None the less he showed why he’s the best point guard in the league, he just has to help us out in the fourth and not run plays for Okafor or Ariza
  • Jarrett Jack as mentioned above had the best game as a Fleur de bee representative. His energy off the bench was spectacular and it’s what we’ve all been wanting out of him. It gives a much needed two point guard punch that’s remanisent of the Paul-Collison combo. Jack finished with 13 points on 7 shots, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
  • While Marco Belinelli didn’t have the most efficient game his aggressiveness to score is a much needed trait. Monty Williams said that over the past week he was less aggressive and you can see him trying to make an asserted effort into taking on more of the scoring role.

Bad Stuff

  • It may seem above that I was very unhappy with the way we played but I really wasn’t. This was a game we had a chance to win and all we needed to do was execute in the 3rd and the game was ours. It was a terrible way to open up the half with D.J. Mbenga turning it over among others we really have to do a better job of executing.
  • Trevor Ariza continues to be a black hole on offense. When he is the creator I cringe and nearly throw my laptop across the room. It really kills me inside…
  • Emeka Okafor has to want to dunk the ball, go up strong! The number of times there was a chance for an “And-One” or something of that nature is annoying the heck out of Hornet fans. I do remember a time when we said during the preseason that Okafor had improved his free-throw shooting and that he wouldn’t be a liability, boy were we wrong…
  • Really, poor contributions from needed contributing players cost us the game. The Sonics (Thunder) received contributions from Serge Ibaka and Jeff Green and it showed.

Other Observations

  • Yippy! There was a very nice crowd at tonight’s game, 14 448 to be exact. That’s what you want to see more often.
  • Hornets were wearing their new gold-uniforms. I like them.
  • It seems the Hornets may be slipping in the Western Conference seedings but they have to keep plugging along remember it is a marathon, not a sprint.

Next up is the Philadelphia 76ers an atheltic team that will give us trouble. Hopefully we can show up physically and pull out a win. Keep an eye on Swarm and Sting for all Hornet owner related news and remember to checkout Save Our Hornets a site dedicated to getting more underprivelaged youths to Hornets games.

Final Word: Forfeiture

Topics: Chris Paul, David West, Emeka Okafor, Gary Chouest, Kevin Durant, Marco Belinelli, New Orleans Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Russel Westbrook, Trevor Ariza

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