After stout wins against the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards the New Orleans Hornets had to make the Philadelphia 76ers pay for what they did a few weeks ago in the city of brotherly love. Tonight the Hornets did just that pulling out the 84-77 victory making sure their mini-streak stays in tact.
With the Hornets up comfortably in the fourth with 6 minutes to go Monty Williams subbed in his starters for the closing stretch. Instead of extending an eleven point lead the Hornets offense stagnated and the defense disappeared (Houdini act I know). Philadelphia hit the boards getting second chance opportunities. It was no surprise to see the Sixers get a possession worth about 1 entire minute and with that they got within 3.
However some clutch plays by Chris Paul and David West in the final minutes helped the Hornets prevail as a driving CP3 finished off the game to give the Hornets the victory.
A tough win against a mediocre opponent, I’ll take it, I guess…
Before we hand out the grades, how good has the Hornets defense been of late? In the past three games New Orleans has held their opponents to an average of 79.7 points per game, that’s outrageous! Okay let’s move on.
Chris Paul: C+
Not a great night for the All-Star guard. Jrue Holliday gave Paul fits all game long. However Paul was key down the stretch making sure that the Hornets got decent looks even if the average on-looker had to cringe. Cp3 finished with 15 points on 11 shots, 5 assists, 2 steals and 3 rebounds.
Marco Belinelli: C
I have to say it now, if it has already not been said, that Marco Belinelli is a stop-gap solution to the Hornets 2-guard position. He doesn’t seem to possess any ability to create his own shot and he just isn’t as active as I’d like to see. He did have a decent game so maybe my judgement is a little harsh, still I just want to see more production from that starting position.
Trevor Ariza: D+
After two really top job games Trevor Ariza hit the floor hard tonight. He returned to his usual brick shooting ways, he repeatedly took crummy looking jumpers and was never interested in driving to the hoop. 2-11 from the field and 0-4 from three point range, ouch.
David West: A-
While it wasn’t a stand out game for David West it still was a nice one to watch. He did get out-muscled on the defensive rebounds a number of times, but he still managed to do his thing on the offensive end. He ended up with 17 points on 13 shots, 8 rebounds (5 offensive), 3 assists and 3 blocked shots.
Emeka Okafor: B
The offensive game for Oak was decent tonight, he was active and trying his best to get some shots around the hoop. But his inability to snag defensive rebounds tonight drags his grade way down. It usually isn’t a regular occurrence that teams have big offensive rebounding nights against the Hornets, but tonight it was the case. Any sign of activity on the block by the opponent allowed them to snag the rebound, the big-men just weren’t switched on tonight. If it weren’t for the rebounding of the 76ers they may have struggled to score 60.
Wild Card Grade, Willie Green: A-
Tonight it was a comeback game of sorts for the Green Machine. He was extremely productive off the bench dropping 11 points on 6 shots, had a few rebounds and an assist. It was much welcomed for the team because in recent weeks the bench has been no where to be seen. Tonight was no different really, there were large stretches where no one would score, it’d just be a conglomerate of jumpshots meshed together. It doesn’t seem like anyone is willing to get to the hoop and only Willie Green was interested tonight, and that’s why he gets my Wild-Card Grade.
Okay boys and girls, next up is the Golden State Warriors a team that will give us fits. They can drop a tonne of points and our offense stinks bigtime. We don’t usually punish weak defensive teams and this will be no different.
Final Word: Painful