Dear goodness what a game. If your the type of person that loves high scoring, up-tempo type basketball turn away now because this game was not your cup of tea. The Boston Celtics came into this game down one Kevin Garnett and one Rajon Rondo. Those Hornet commentators describing this a “the win of the season for New Orleans” should immediately sticky-tape their mouth shut. No doubt was this a big win for the team. What it was not was a monumental turn around for a team still demonstrating their inconsistency.
The game itself though was fantastic. Two defensive powerhouses going at it, truly a great thing to watch. It was a back and forth game for the most part until New Orleans pulled away in the third to garner an eleven point lead. This was quashed in the fourth as the Celtics held their opponents to 0-9 to start the quarter allowing them to get right back into the match. Some of that was in part to the Hornets bench flunking out, but the team was able to hold their own with David West and Emeka Okafor constantly being active and getting lots of scrappy points. In defensive games like these you have to get those.
So let’s head over for a New Year and a new way we recap here on Swarm and Sting!
What were going to do is give out some grades, simple as it may be it will help us gather a well rounded idea of how the team performed. Also we’ll give out a “Wild Card Grade” to the player off the bench that produced well enough or poor enough to garner our attention. So let’s get into it.
Chris Paul: A
Listening to the Celtic commentators was flat out terrible. To summarize here’s what one of them said about Chris Paul, “Paul is a great offensive player but a terrible defender.” Well that same terrible defender stole the ball 6 times tonight, leads the league in steals and also grabbed 4 defensive rebounds. Don’t forget what he added on offense though, 20 points on 15 shots and 11 assists. A truly masterpiece like game.
Marco Belinelli: C+
Have to say that throughout the entire game Marco Belinelli wasn’t all that spectacular. But his defense down the stretch as well as his bigtime three pointers were key to tonight’s victory.
Trevor Ariza: B+
Remember this is a grade across the entire game but Trevor Ariza was the reason we won this game down the stretch. His big time, in your grill, all over your face three point shot over Paul Pierce was back breaking for all fans. You could hear the moans of the Boston crowd as soon as the ball gracefully went through the hoop and made a air-shattering swish. In addition to that shot Ariza played great defense on Ray Allen to force a long contested three point shot to finish the game. While he only had 7 points, 2 steals, 2 rebounds and 1 assists his fourth quarter performance will boost his grade.
David West: B+
It seemed throughout the game that David West was plugging along, quietly producing on the offensive end. His rolled ankle is a big concern but he still churned out 19 points in 17 shots, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
Emeka Okafor: A
Any time Emeka Okafor is active on both ends of the floor the Hornets usually play much better. When he runs the floor, hustles and blocks shots it clicks everyone into gear. New Orleans inconsistencies are in large part due to Okafor and his play. When he contributes the team plays better. Every team needs an active big-man and if Emeka can start to realize that’s what he’s there for then maybe this team can start to play better over longer stretches.
Wild Card Grade, Willie Green: B
This really was a starters game (Paul, West and Okafor all played 40+ minutes) but you have to applaud Willie Green‘s contribution and coming back into the team. Well done Mr. Green.
Next up is the Washington Wizards and it will probably be a let-down game knowing this teams inconsistencies. I really hope it isn’t but we need to perform like this night in and night out.
Final Word: Seize