The New Orleans Hornets have improved their record to 20-14 with an emphatic win over the Washington Wizards in a game which had the Hornets trailing for most of the proceedings. Excellent play from Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor gave the away team some balance allowing Chris Paul to take over in the fourth quarter. Washington led for most of the game at one point being up by as much as 13 (in the second quarter). But Paul and his merry band of men rallied in the fourth quarter to pull out a come from behind win. With 4 minutes left and up by a nervous 5 point lead Marco Belinelli drained a couple of fast break three pointers and Ariza produced a humiliating dunk on Javale Mcgee. The game was then done and in the books as New Orleans won 92-81.
So let’s head over the jump for some grades, it’s time to educate.
Chris Paul: A
In just 31 minutes Chris Paul gave John Wall every lesson in the point guard manual. CP3 just mugged and harassed Wall all game long. His final steal of the game was testament to the game long beat down. I have to say though Chris showed up when we needed him to, in the fourth quarter. The final 4 minutes were his and it’s how it should be every game. Final stat-line is 13 points on 12 shots, 11 assists on 1 turnover, 5 rebounds and 7 steals. (Oh and after picking up 2 quick fouls in the first, he didn’t commit another one for the rest of the game, nice discipline.)
Marco Belinelli: C+
Go back to yesterday’s recap and read Marco Belinelli’s grade. The exact same storyline occured tonight as the Italian sharpshooter rose up from obscurity in the fourth to drain two money-balls to put the game out of reach. And his defense is surprisingly good.
Trevor Ariza: A+
Cherish these games from Trevor Ariza, hold on to them and never let go. It is truly mind boggling to even think that Ariza would not only produce 22 points, but to do it efficiently on 16 shots, but that’s exactly what happened tonight. The swingman played to his strengths and took advantage of a mismatch on the wing. Also his defense was outstanding tonight (he had 5 steals). I think it is safe to say this is the best all around performance from Trevor we will ever see.
David West: C+
Tell me David West had 10 points in any game and I’ll tell you we lose. Not tonight (thanks in large part to Ariza and Okafor). West did play a nice rounded game (10 points on 12 shots, 5 assists and 5 rebounds). However it seems his ankle is bothering him some and he just isn’t moving with the ease at which he might like to. Playing 37 minutes isn’t what we’d like to see to often, but if it leads to a win then I’m all for it.
Emeka Okafor: A
The ole Oak tree is coming along to the party. The Wizards have some height and so Emeka Okafor‘s 17 points (on 8 shots) and 15 rebound game is a bit more impressive. We all know Chris Paul can’t do it on his own so it’s a great pleasure, yeah pleasure to watch productive play from the center position. I have to say it’s almost calming when the pivot is operating with efficiency. I hope for the long term though that our bigman realizes that he must do this more often than not.
Wild Card Grade, Jarrett Jack: B+
When Chris Paul picked up 2 quick fouls to responsibility to keep the team on pace was squarly on the shoulders of Jarrett Jack. It was nice to see the veteran step up to the plate trying to get his shot going and substitue Paul with ease and clarity. It’s a shame that the bench isn’t showing up, but getting 12 points from someone is something.
Okay nice win for the team getting back to back road wins, we hadn’t been playing to well away from New Orleans so some gritty, against the grain wins is what the team needed. Next up is the Philadelphia 76ers and the Hornets will be looking for revenge of sorts after blowing it on the road. That game is on Monday at the usual time of 8pm ET.
Final Word: Mugging