Ladies, ladies, ladies…and gentlemen, welcome back. If it’s your first time here, we always have room for more. Did you watch that game? I almost hope you said no. The (at the time) 16-win Toronto Raptors beat the New Orleans 96 to 90. Like the game on Sunday, this was an ugly, ugly loss.
Before the game, I wrote down a few questions I had for the team. 1) How will Chris Paul play against an inferior team? 2) How would Carl Landry play? 3) How does the team react to the loss to Houston–is the team focused? Is there a positive answer to any of those questions right now? I’m usually a very optimistic guy but it’s rough when the best thing I can think of is: At least the Jerryd Bayless trade didn’t come back to haunt us. Let’s see how things worked out.
1) Chris Paul is playing some of the worst basketball of his life. He was the third best point guard on the floor tonight. Hornets fans hear all the time about how Paul just wants to win, yet he has consistently not played up to the level we all know he can achieve. He had 7 points on 3 of 10 shooting, only 5 assists and finished -5. At times he just stood at the 3-point line or hid in the corner and didn’t move. In the third quarter he didn’t touch the ball on four straight possessions. This is not how winners play. Winners don’t take plays/games off like Chris Paul has recently. Is he tired? Does he want to save himself for rest of the season and playoffs? Does he just want to play for (gasp!) another team or with another superstar?
2) One of the few bright spots for the Hornets tonight, Carl Landry looked great. He had 17 points on 8 of 10 shooting. It’s nice to see someone off the bench attack the rim and play in the paint. He is settling in nicely.
3) The team looked slow and flat for most of the game. They finally woke up late in the fourth quarter but by then it was too late. Defenders were getting beaten off the dribble, there was a severe lack of help on defense, the rotations were slow and everyone was stagnant on offense. Not what I wanted to see out of the team.
Let’s do this…
The Persian Army (of 300 fame) Villains of the Game Award
We’re mixing this up tonight since I cannot give this coveted award to just one person. So welcome to the club: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan and Chris Paul. Calderon wins for his 22 points, 16 assists and 7 rebounds. DeRozan sneaks in here with his +27(!) on the night. Chris Paul earns it for lack of effort. If he plays well in New York tomorrow night, I may just lose it.
-Trevor Ariza had a game to forget. Not even his defense was good tonight as defenders were smoking him when attacking the basket. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter and finished -17 on the night.
-As Rohan over on At The Hive points out the Hornets did well on the defensive glass tonight. That said, I would have liked to see Aaron Gray instead of Jason Smith tonight. Smith finished +7 on the night but he did absolutely nothing. Gray has actually played decently when given the chance. I just don’t understand the DNP the last two games.
-Well hello there, Jarrett Jack! Along with Landry, Jack made me happy. He had 17 points on 9 shots. Jack drove into the lane and attacked the basket. At around 9:10 left in the second quarter he drove into the paint and scored with a nice layup. It was a nice play but bugged me because Paul is better than Jack, yet he hasn’t been making, let alone attempting, those type of plays.
-Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @NOLAJake
Really not much else to say. Let’s just move on from this game and focus on the next. I’ll see you all tomorrow and hopefully this makes you feel better.