Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Archive for December, 2008

Free Ju-Ju…kind of.

By on December 31, 2008

Or at least let him be heard. Score one for the Hype. Mo first off the bench and Brown a DNPCD last game. Now let’s see Marks sit and Ju-Ju get some burn. Then we’ll declare total victory. Nothing against Brown or Marks, just trying to recognize who can most help us win. Ju-Ju helped accelerate this team from a playoff team to a contender at the end of last season, and most of us Hornets fans want to see him get his fair shake this season. Ryan McNeil, over at Hoops Addict, had a chance to talk to Julian about his playing time this year, and here’s how it went down.

I thought so.

OK, that’s really the only point of this post. In case you weren’t aware, the Wizards were one of the only teams the Hornets didn’t beat last season, and Stevenson absolutely, inexplicably, beasted us from three both times. And, as we learned tonight at Ernst Cafe, at the Hornets post game show, the Wizards were also the only team Chris Paul had yet to grab a win against. Guess he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

Combine this with all sorts of helpful things like San Antonio losing to the Bucks and Cleveland getting beat by Miami (Why does this matter to the Hornets, you ask? It doesn’t. We just don’t like them. See below), and it became a rather neatly pleasant night, in which the Hornets retook first place in the Southwest Division. Oh, and as mW strangely (accurately!) predicted in the comment thread on the previous post, Devin Brown indeed registered a DNP-CD tonight. You would think I’d feel vindicated. But no, go figure, I’m guilted into feeling bad about it because it’s his birthday. Sigh. Devin Brown. Why’s it always gotta be so messed up, with you?

CP had a triple double while not exerting himself to play particularly well (by CP standards, naturally), TC registered a solid double double himself, Rasual Butler scored 21, Posey was Posey, and DWest was DWest (which is to say they were excellent in their usual ways), and the Hornets pulled away in the 4th. And that’s about it. Oh, except… why did CST interview Jannero Pargo and yet the arena announcer folk didn’t even tell us he was in the house? Aw. Party foul.

For those of you who keep track of this kind of thing at home, this was the third straight 18,000+ sellout. And with the Saints’ season over, let’s just say I don’t see the crowd thinning out anytime soon. Higher and higher, guys. And take the pride with you on the road!

Do Not Turn On NBA TV Today

By on December 30, 2008

No, seriously. Have you seen the ads for this? Because today is LeBron James’ 24th birthday, they’re doing 24 hours of LeBron, “a full day of around-the-clock LeBron-centric programming featuring games, highlights, classic performances and exclusive access to the Cavaliers’ superstar.” If you have NBA TV, you know I’m not making this up. It’s ridiculous. Here’s the network’s schedule for yesterday and today.

You know what? I have nothing against LeBron. He’s a great player. But the hype machine surrounding him is wearying. Handing out confetti to fans to throw like he throws chalk (a gesture which, as we’ve griped about before, he appropriated rather than invented)? Basketballs placed mysteriously all over the city of New York? I’m sick of him, and I don’t even think I’ve viewed more than one Cavs game this year. No, seriously. The only one I’ve seen is when they came to New Orleans Arena to play the Hornets. So explain to me how I’m so over him. Explain to me how I think, “Cavs… ugh” and switch to another game.

Could it possibly be the ubiquitous chalk commercial? Like, can I watch sports for 4 minutes without seeing this ad? Please?

So really, whenever I see the ad for this 24 Hours of LeBron nonsense, I just laugh. Because how is that different from every other day of life watching the NBA? Obviously, whoever came up with this campaign has a poor sense of irony. Or maybe not. Maybe they’re evil and trying to taunt us.

Really, my favorite thing about the NBA.com/Nike “Happy Birthday LeBron” article feature commercial is this quote that appears near the bottom: “I’m young,” James said. “But I’ve got an old soul.” BWAHAHAHAHA! That is just one of those things you aren’t really allowed to say about… yourself. Others can say it about you, yes. It may even be true. But how full of yourself are you, to claim that about yourself? I cringed reading that.

Whatever, NBATV. Way to completely whore yourselves out to Nike.

We can top this, though. Oh yes, HornetsHype.com can. What Hornet birthdays are coming up?

  • Tuesday, Dec. 30– Devin Brown: Oh, hey now, happy birthday, Devin! That must’ve sucked to be on the Cavs last year. I bet no one even got you a cake.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 13– James Posey: … Heh (pause)… Hehe… Now this is something I can work with. Stay tuned. Whatever, Nike. We’re gonna do twenty-FIVE hours of James Posey. Or wait, wait, wait. Are we doing it by age? Thirty-two hours of Pose! Even. Better.

You know what else makes children cry? Chris Paul not getting to start the All Star Game.

Let me repeat that, in all caps, in case you didn’t get it the first time. CHRIS PAUL MIGHT NOT START THE NBA ALL-STAR GAME.

Yes, we are talking about the man who is widely regarded as the best point guard in the game and the future of the point guard position. At the moment, in the vote count for guards in the Western Conference, Chris Paul is in third place, trailing Kobe Bryant (1 million and whatever) and Tracy McGrady (746,098).

I’m just going to cut to the chase here. I hope no one minds. And here is the message I’ve come to you here today to deliver: If you voted for Tracy McGrady, you are a douchebag. I don’t care what country you are from. You’re still douchebags. Let’s just skip the PC bullshit and say it: This is China’s fault. And we all know it. Clearly there is no other explanation for 762,162 people thinking Yi Jianlian is better than Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, and Danny Granger. Or how about the 211,017 people who think that Rafer Alston (Houston!) is better than Brandon Roy?

09p823pohifglskjhfiug137`p20592y5ilafkhslk…. ggggg… rr. bl

Oh, excuse me. I spontaneously died on my keyboard while typing the previous sentence. You know how I feel about Brandon Roy.

Come on, China. What happened to loving the game of basketball? What happened to a sincere appreciation for the sport and those who excel at it? Chris Paul even visited your country this summer! And I bet he was nice to people while he was there. Because that is the kind of person he is. Well, you know what? Tracy McGrady wasn’t nice to the place where I live. As a matter of fact, he was outright goddamn ignorant. Maybe you should all stop for a minute and think about that.

Or don’t. Stop instead and think about the numbers.

Chris Paul

  • leads the NBA in assists (11.3)
  • leads the NBA in steals (3.0)
  • 20.1 ppg
  • 5.2 rebounds, which is hard to do when you are LESS THAN SIX FEET TALL
  • widely regarded as the best point guard in the league and one of the top 4-5 players
  • team is currently 18-9

Tracy McGrady

  • leads the NBA in nothing
  • leads his team in nothing
  • 15.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.8 rpg (despite having 8 inches on, well hello, what a coincidence… Chris Paul)
  • widely regarded as an aging supertalented player who gets injured all the time and has never won a playoff series
  • team is currently 20-11
  • has only played in 23 of those games because of injury

If those stats weren’t enough for you, consider the following summary of what happened during the final 3:35 of the fourth quarter in tonight’s game against the Indiana Pacers, as brought to you by our friends At the Hive:

  • 3:35 Chris Paul makes driving lay up
  • 3:11 Chris Paul makes 11 foot jumper
  • 2:42 Chris Paul makes driving lay up
  • 2:42 Chris Paul makes free throw
  • 2:23 Chris Paul steals ball
  • 1:45 Chris Paul makes jumper
  • 0:30 Chris Paul makes 15 foot jumper
  • 0:02 Chris Paul assists on David West’s 17 foot jumper (Hornets win 105-103)

11 points in three minutes to utterly decimate the Pacers’ souls and take over the game, and this man is not an All Star starter.

Do you require more analysis? No. You don’t. I am telling you you don’t. The statistics say you don’t. Common sense says you don’t. OK, forget about Chris Paul for a second. Yes, really. Let’s just forget about the stats I just cited and pause for a moment… and think about the fact that, the way the All Star balloting is set up (it’s stupid, you know it’s stupid, I know it’s stupid, but we must operate with concise guerilla voting tactics within the confines of its stupidity here), if voting ended today, the West would start Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady. The West– home to the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd– would not start a point guard. That is just disgraceful. It’s a travesty. It’s a joke.

What is the logical conclusion to be drawn here? If you are one of the 746,098 people who voted for Tracy McGrady, then you can give yourself an extra special pat on your own back, because you, my friend, are a douchebag. Douche. Bag. If you think you can live with that, fine. But just remember… at the end of the day, a douchebag doesn’t have a brain. It’s just a somewhat archaic feminine hygiene product.

So if you are reading this post thinking, “Wow, did this person just imply that the citizens of an entire nation are douchebags?” then you have it right. Yes. Yes, I did. I want us to be perfectly clear on that point. And I didn’t imply it. I flat out said it. (OK, you got me. Obviously they can’t all be douchebags, since there are way more than 700K people in China. But these voters are.)

What can we all do about it? I don’t know. How do you compete with a nation of All Star-voting douchebags, when that nation is bigger than America? That is a question I am not sure how to answer. And as a small-market team, it’s already hard enough to compete with the douchebags in larger American cities with crappier players than CP. (And don’t think you’re off the hook, America. The 200,000 people who voted for Gilbert Arenas, despite the fact that he hasn’t played a minute all year? You douchebags deserve a special shout out.) But there’s one thing I know how to do. And that is check the friggin’ checky box. Check it next to CHRIS. PAUL. I urge you all to do the same. Don’t do it for me. Do it for the sport of basketball.

And so we’re not all really, really embarrassed come the All Star break.

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN A PUBLIC SERVICE. BROUGHT TO YOU BY HORNETSHYPE.COM. THANK YOU FOR READING. AND HAVING A BRAIN.

Seriously. No questions. Or I will have to kill people.

Seriously. No questions. Or I will have to kill people.

Turns out there’s some fight in our Hornets after all. The day after being embarrassed on national television in what will henceforth be known as the Christmas Day Massacre, the guys pulled out a gritty, scrappy 88-79 win against division rival Houston. They played without Peja. They took the floor against Yao Ming with Tyson Chandler’s main backup on the bench in a suit. They battled foul trouble. They battled poor three point shooting. They battled a team they couldn’t put away until the end of the fourth quarter. They battled the ghosts of the past two dismal games.

It was one of those heart wins. And for a moment, I saw that–something– I used to see. I saw it on my laptop, through the Rockets TV feed. I saw it in Tyson Chandler’s twelve rebounds. I saw it in Rasual Butler’s hustle.

So Niall, over at Hornets 247, posed the question earlier today of how you adjust your expectations when you don’t feel like you have a chance to win it all anymore. You’re not as good as the team you need to get through to make it to the Finals. You’re not rebuilding. What do you hope for?

I can’t answer that question, partly because I don’t want to admit we’ve gone that far. And partly because it’s a hard question. What are you gonna do? Tell the team you’ll fix them? You can’t. Put your blinders on and ignorantly talk trash about how you’re gonna dominate? You won’t. Stop blogging? Not about to happen.

So the Hornets are not a team of destiny. What else am I gonna say? I’ll be there, come hell or high water?

Well, that already happened. And I don’t believe in destiny.

So I guess I’ll just be there.

Oh, and guys? …Thanks.

Ho, ho, ho, and all that holiday whatever.  It’s snowy in NY and 29 Farentheit, unlike Nola, where it’s a cloudy 20 Celcius.  Although I am a natural devil’s advocate, who springs into optimism when confronted with waves of doubt, and a cynic when everyone else is on cloud nine (where does that saying come from anyway, what is “cloud nine”?), the internet has fallen silent like it was the night before Xmas, so I’ll just reflect on a Black Friday Redux abbreviated and not-really-at-all-daily version of our S#*t List here and now:

  1. “REVENGE”: the dumbest question slash lazy media phrase of the week.  Did the Hornets get “revenge” this week on the Spurs for last year’s Game 7 loss?  We quickly all said no.  Stupid question, move on.  Nonetheless several media outlets have dubbed the Lakers’ beating of the Celts as “revenge” for their loss in the NBA finals.  Listen.  Do you people know what the word revenge means?  If the Lakers beat the Celts 20 times this season, the Celts would laugh after every loss and wear their rings to the post-game show.  Got it?  No victory, or set of victories, short of beating the Celts in the Finals will be revenge.  Same for the Hornets.  If we knock the Spurs out of the Playoffs this year, on the road, in Game 7.  Now that’s revenge.  Use a dictionary people.
  2. LEBRON’S CHALK: let me say for the 587th time, you stole it from Kevin Garnett.  So it’s not yours.  Why not pretend you invented dunks too?  Oh, and thanks for that commercial that airs every twenty seconds.  Only the sweet bass funk running through that ad spares it from the wrath of the almighty.  [EDIT: as I went to save this post and get more coffee before coming back to finish, that stupid music was running through my head, Damn you Lebron!)  But even all that’s not enough to get the chalk on this list.  Nope.  Someone would have to, say, hand out white confetti to everyone in attendance at the game you premiere your new Nike shoe (“Chalk”, I kid not), and have them all throw it down pre-game while you throw up your chalk.  Oh wait, you did that yesterday?  What a whore.  Let me say it again.  Lebron is a whore.  I don’t care if his team went nuts in the last minute to win that game.  It was the Wizards.  Even Mike James looks good on that team.  The other James’ focus should have been on his team.  On the rings.  Not his self.  Not his Nike promotions.  Call me old-fashioned.
  3. PANICKY FANS: yes, I love you all my fellow Hornets’ fans.  But calm the fuck down.  We’re barely a quarter of the way through the season.  We’re injured.  How many of our games have we been missing a starter or two?  A lot.  Of course these guys are off rhythm.  We made the move that shored up our second unit in Daniels, only now he’s out.  I still say our starting five (when healthy) is one of the best in the League.  Posey?  One of the best sixth men in the League.  And that still leaves Butler and Wright, two very talented guys on both ends of the floor.  There’s a reason that Lakers and Spurs fans don’t usually demand trades quite as often as fans like us.  They know it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  We just have to keep working and gelling and making everything click.  Because we’ve seen what this team can do against good teams, not just losers.  While Pargo and Wells brought their own kind of special to this team last year, I refuse to believe that the difference between us last year and this is them, and that we’re worse now.  Bower’s assembled a talented team, and when all healthy, I think they can beat any team in the League.  So relax, folks, it’s a long season.
  4. DESTINY: okay, I picked up this a little early because Bob Costas had his annual football meltdown over this last weekend, but I know TT6 hates it too.  So let me preemptively explain: no team controls its own destiny.  It’s out of your hands.  It is forewritten.  That’s why it’s called Destiny.  For example, last year, it was Destiny that Lakers-Celtics ended up in the Finals.  Neither team chose that Destiny, neither team “controlled” their assent into the big Games.  Stern Destiny chose them.  If the teams could control it, whatever that “it” was, it wouldn’t be Destiny.
  5. HOOPS ADDICT: who asked, is Lebron unguardable?  Please.  Maybe someone should watch the tapes of every Cleveland loss.  Take, for instance, I don’t know, his game against the Hornets.  It’s called James Posey.  I’ll tell you what, it might even be called Rasual Butler.  For short periods, I’d even be willing to have Ju-Ju on him.  Lebron is not unguardable, he is just unguardable by certain players.  Kobe, with Posey in his grill, hitting shot after shot the other night, was unguardable.  Chris Paul, weaving through four defenders in and out and back into the paint again only to turn on a dime and drop in a teardrop over the outstretched arms of a seven footer is unstoppable.  Those guys can only be stopped if they stop themselves.  Lebron?  Guardable. 
  6. BYRON SCOTT: deservedly, was Coach of the Year last year.  But like Coach Scott no doubt repeatedly tells his players: it’s not last year.  I love Coach Scott.  I think is offense works for our personnel, when healthy.  But he has to recognize that Brown is not Stojakovic.  One cannot do the same things as the other.  At this point, why not start Butler and Peterson at the 3 and 2?  Because then the second unit is too thin?  Well, how about Julian?  Start him at 3.  I mean, isn’t that ultimately what we drafted him to do?  To be the guy when Peja starts to slow down (or gets injured)?  Oh, Byron says he doesn’t know his position spacing on the floor.  Really?  Why would that be?  Because Byron’s tried him at the 1, 2, 3, and 4.  I saw him play three of those (1, 2, 4) just last game (and interestingly, not the one position that is his “natural” position).  Coach.  I love you.  But play Wright.  Play Peterson.  USE YOUR BEST PLAYERS.  Great that Bowen, Ely, and Brown are loyal guys, but they just aren’t as talented.  Birdman, for example, violated your trust, and he was banished.  Look how that one worked out.  We complain of not having reliable back-up bigs and he’s having a nice year in Denver (add to it he would have came cheap).  Any way, certain guys, work ethic and loyalty aside, should be used sparingly, in support roles.  Butler’s earned his minutes this year.  Fine.  Hilton is finally being given a chance to make it or break it on his own; he’s not looking over his shoulder and worrying if he’s going to get yanked after every dumb play.  Good.  He’s done both good and bad, but he’s progressing because he has the time to learn on the floor.  That’s the opportunity Julian should have.  Give him his minutes.  Get him into the game.  It’s the only way he’s going to learn.  Additionally, while we have all secretly hoped that Marks would be DX-lite, he’s not; and Byron has finally seemed to grasp this.  I do believe in you Byron, I really do.  But even you might have to prove the least bit flexible to make that push for the Rings.  Sigh.

But all said, Hornets’ fans, there is something to be happy about.  Despite our high expectations for this season, and despite what some call “struggles”, at least we’re not the Wizards.  Now that is a last-year-playoff-contender this-year-a-really-really-really-struggling team.  So it could always be worse.  Besides, some teams come late to the party and make long runs through the Playoffs.  Not to mention, that we still are poised to end up as a 2-5 seed without making a massive surge foward.  I believe.

Geaux Hornets!

Dear Hornets:

By on December 25, 2008

Even MVPs have off days.  Not every basket falls.  Some days you’re just a step slow.  Sometimes the other guys is just better than you that day.  We still love you.  We still believe. 

See you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

mW

The Saints playoff run in 2008 made everyone teary-eyed with Katrina sob stories. Haters of the Hornets accused New Orleans’ NBA team last year of having the same appeal in an extremely pejorative way. I never saw it. In fact, I saw only hate from the League, other than giving us the All-Star Game. So sorry we’re not a big market like L.A., Boston, or New York. Maybe we should clear some cap space so the League would care. Until then, I hold my ground, that the League is against us. Case in point, the NBA refereeing system that rewards certain teams and punishes others on a strange, hazing-type, respect system, where superstars get calls, and “good defenders” never get whistled. It’s a joke. It’s by far the most subjectively called sport in the world, which seemingly allows individual refs to write their own versions of the rulebook. And they’ve always hated on us. Only I don’t know why.

Okay, superstars get calls. Obvious. For a non-biased example, Kobe got several ridiculous calls tonight, while Bynum got hacked several times with no call. That said, the referees completely killed this game. How can a team make a run when there is totally contact uncalled at one end and at the other every little contact draws a foul? The refs were horrible. Horrible. And while they totally fucked the Hornets tonight, the refs horribleness wasn’t limited to just that. I already pointed out the Kobe-Bynum discrepancy. Ridiculous. But they weren’t consistent from quarter to quarter or even play to play on how they called the game. Read the rulebook, bitches. A foul is a foul, no matter who commits it, and no matter who it is committed against, and whether that player is in foul trouble, the clock is expiring, or if he complemented your mother.

For those of you that may be watching from home, what may not be clear, is how upset the crowd was. I have never heard the NOLA crowd upset about so many calls. Yes, yes, we’re all homers, and yes, shove your jokes about the Hornets players’ bitching rubbing off on us. That aside, that given, and compared to that norm: people were loud, booing, screaming, jump-out-of-their-seat so mad that they couldn’t even coalesce their rage into a cohesive attack of boos, screams, or curses; it was just a cacophonous explosion of disbelief. I’ve never seen so many 40-year-old dads tell the ref to fuck themselves in front of their kids. Okay, maybe in front of the kids belonging to someone else, but the crowd was incensed most of the game. Some random big black woman behind us pierced my eardrums all night. Usually I’m that guy. Our season-ticket holder “neighbor” actually left some time in the second half he was so pissed. Listen, anyone that knows me knows I give respect to the Lakers. As of today, they’re playing better than us. Fine. But let THEM prove that. They don’t need the referees’ help. But then again, maybe this makes the Xmas showdown with the Celts look better if both teams come in high. Think about it.

David Stern says Tim Donaghy was a liar and there was no big NBA conspiracy. I say David Stern is a bigger cheat than Tim Donaghy ever was. Let’s say it again just because Stern is trying so hard to sweep him under the rug: Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy. Why? Yes, I told TT6 I wanted to do this post in a game when we won (and I should have after the Spurs game), because there are serious issues with NBA refereeing that need to be addressed regardless of the outcome of games.

Look at the numbers, they don’t make sense. Our shooting percentage was less than 3% worse than the Lakers, we made 3 more three pointers, there was only one more rebound for them, we had 5 more assists, 3 more steals, were tied in blocks, and only had four more turnovers, and six more fouls. Where does that 13 point differential come from? It’s about timing, not quantum. Sure, they can give a bunch of meaningless fouls to even the numbers out. Any good conspiracy is self-effacing. But you need to question when they occur. What was happening? Was a team making a run? Consider that we got the Lakers in foul trouble early and had an 11-6 or so differential in free throws attempted early. They ended up taking 10 more overall. That’s a big switch.

At the end of the day, the Bees were baited into believing the game would be called one way. CP was drawing all the contact fouls and our guys were aggressive on defense to great effect. Suddenly, CP is getting hammered and getting no calls and our every defensive play is a foul. I call bullshit. I call Tim Donaghy. It’s a verb now. I’ll say again, Stern wants that name to disappear. He wants to pretend no ref ever tanked a game. I say we never let him or the general public forget. This game was Tim Donaghy’d. It was bullshit. Absolute bullshit. Way to showcase the sport on national TV. Blow your whistle every three seconds. It was bullshit. Horseshit. Donkeyshit. Monkeyshit. Any shit you can think of.

At the end of the day, though, that shit smells like Tim Donaghy. Or David Stern. Whatever.

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I tried to get www.ihatethelakers.com, but no luck. Someone already had it.

It is all your holiday wishes come true. Believe me. They are wishes you didn’t know you had, but still.

I promise that now your life will be complete.

Merry Christmas and a Happy LakersGame Day!

The rhythm of Mo Pete, the dancing of TC and the lyrical stylings of Mr. Ryan Bowen