This was a game you could not miss, and in fact, I did. I caught the replay and was going crazy at the events that unfolded in one hell of a basketball exhibition. These Hornets have in fact put my heart into a crazed funk. In the last 5 games New Orleans has had 3 overtime games and won them all. This one takes the cake.
The Memphis Grizzlies led for most of the game, right up until the end of the third quarter when the Hornets forced 8 defensive stops in succession. Not only was this absurd, but they were able to convert thanks in large part to Chris Paul. The real magic occurred though, in the fourth quarter and overtime with one Marcus “Buckets” Thornton. He proceeded to drop all 17 of his points in the final two periods on 10 shots. In addition his defense was outstanding as he tipped balls, jumped passing lanes and hustled for easy baskets at the other end. Even though Buckets has statiscally had better games, this was one of his complete ones. Down by one with about 15 seconds to go Marcus tipped a sideline inbounds pass that allowed CP to steal, push the ball, pass to Okafor and then receive a pass from the center for the reverse layup to give New Orleans the win.
The constant bickering as to the amount of time Thornton receives will be held on momentary pause. Enjoy this win folks.
- Have to keep it going with Marcus Thornton. His spark in the fourth was needed beyond reason. The thing that makes him so valuable to this team is his scoring punch. We all know of the Hornets offensive struggles, but when MT5 is clicking those issues seem like a distant memory.
- Chris Paul had a nice game finishing up with 20 points on 14 shots, 12 assists on 2 turnovers, 3 rebounds and a blocked shot. It was one of his better games, but he did start off cold. Also when was the last complete dominating game from him? A long time ago it seems. Hold this game up in high esteem though he had a good one.
- I know I should go to the next starter but the bench really seems to be clicking into gear. The second unit has copped a lot of criticism in the past couple of months, much of it warranted. However watching them play you can gradually see them coming together and knowing how to play with each other. They didn’t put up big stats tonight (other than Thornton) but the bench back-court is holding their own.
- Another game, another double-double for Emeka Okafor. We’ve highlighted in the past that the ole Oak tree has had a terrific January and he is indeed performing at a higher level. The argument could (and should) be made that this dude is an all-star. He finished with 11 points on 9 shots, 11 rebounds (6 offensive!), a blocked shot, steal and a huge assist bounce pass to Marcus Thornton.
- David West turned in a big game tonight securing 10 defensive rebounds. Yes, you thought I’d talk about his offensive game, shame on you. Dee Dubya as he’s known here, played the defensive glass like he never has before. Statistically speaking, David is a mediocre rebounder (15% of all defensive rebounds are secured). Tonight though he was grabbin’ them like no other. He finished with 19 points on 15 shots, 11 rebounds (10 defensive), 3 blocks, 2 assists and 1 steal.
- Trevor Ariza had a shocker offensively, well he would have if it wasn’t for his free throws (7-9).
- Our backup bigmen are getting us no where, I fully expect Dell Demps to be actively looking for one at the trade deadline. Jason Smith has been figured out offensively and sucks defensively. Aaron Gray is a load, but is rarely active.
Other “Awesome” Observations
- 15, 961.
- If you didn’t know, that was the attendance tonight, stand up and do the Carlton everyone!…Okay maybe not.
Post Game Quotes
- “When Emeka made the bounce pass, it was the slowest bounce pass in the world. It looked like that goofy better basketball video where you throw with one hand and it gets stolen.” -Monty Williams
- “He won the game for them. He played 22 minutes and had 17 points.” -Lionel Hollins, Head Coach for the Grizzlies on Marcus Thornton’s play.
- “I try to give the team a lift whenever they need it. That’s what I tried to do.”-Marcus Thornton
- “I was like one of the Honeybees, cheering my tail off for him” -Willie Green on Marcus Thornton
Next up is the Atlanta Hawks on the road, the Hornets are on a six game win streak and will try to continue their recent form of closing games. The Hawks will be looking for some type of revenge, they really looked the better team the last time these ballclubs met. Should be a tough matchup, see you guys then!
Final Word: Buckets