We’re glad to have you with us.
Fun fact: I believe the Hornets now have the youngest head coach in the league, since Williams is slightly younger than the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra.
We’re glad to have you with us.
Fun fact: I believe the Hornets now have the youngest head coach in the league, since Williams is slightly younger than the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra.
Hornets aren’t as good as they have been the last two years and Dallas I mean Oakland I mean Golden State I mean fuck (which team are we again), well, my team has gotta take advantage of these fools without CP3; it’s our big chance to run a team ragged and let our talent lag get lost in the run and gun style we run without their ability to sub, you know, with all their injuries–wait, what, our injuries, our short bench? Don’t worry about it.
Tip. We win. That Ju-kid steals it and quick foul, take it out of bounds and then they score? That was quick. We got our own tricks, ha ha. We’ll just let Anthony Tolliver score the first 14 of our 18 points. D-Leaguer? Not anymore. Won’t see him coming. Okafor two quick fouls. Sucker! Oh wait, we don’t have any bigs either. No answer to David West inside or out, why is he running and working hard on defense? It’s a waste of time. (He’s killing us, though). We’re running up and down, though; what more could you want (it’s a game of attrition, how could this not work?). Songaila fouled makes both free throws. Damn! Who would have thought it? Hornets up 4 at the end of the First: got ‘em right where we want ‘em.
That Marcus Buckets kid’s supposed to be special? He’s 0-1. Mwwwahaha. We’ll shoot him back to the bench. Wait, what, we’re 2-8 from 3? Shit. Keep shooting. Buckets 0-2 now. What’s that, Smart, West is 8-15 for 18 with 6:18 to go in the Second? What the fuck? Chris Paul looked good in warm-ups, think he’ll suit up at halftime? Maggette’s jumper is falling. That’s something Thank god West picked up foul 2 and is finally sitting.
Posey in. Is that good or not? Old, flu-ridden bastard. Que pasa, Silas? Zero offensive boards and our best rebounder has 2? West has 8 and Songaila 4? Don’t worry about it. C.J. Picks up foul 3. Shit. Wow, that Thornton 3 was a curveball. How’d that go in? Finally get a fast break our way and Posey holds Ellis, holding up the break, no call? Whatever.
Collison pull up 3 with 32 seconds left in the Second for the 2-and-1, didn’t he do that at the end of the First? Well at least we’ll, aarrrrggghh! Just….Wright cross court for the buzzer-beater. Never mind.
West picks up his double-double forty seconds in. Thunder dunk from Okafor. Damn. We’re losing? I guess it’s because we can’t hit anything from 3. Cut in then, ah, see you missed. Oh, wait, another way late whistle? Sweet, we’ll take it. Steal, there we go. Wait, did C.J. just pass it to Bower? Fuck!
Why does that Mo Pete keep hitting 3s? That’s our thunder. HOLD ON. 11-3 run, that’s what I’m talking about. What, Turner, we’re still down 13? Shit! But the crowd’s back into it now. Hornets lead down to 9. Keep it gunning, guys. Wait Mo again? What’s with that guy?! Steal to end the Third and Devean George dunks it home. Yeeeahahahah!!!
Run keep going keep going run and shoot 3s and yes that is what I call coaching suck it now because we’re tied, bitches! Mo Pete fouled on the 3. Misses all 3 FTs!? Wouldn’t have happened if he had jacked that shot up quicker! Back now to us, up 2, 34-11 Warriors run!!! Wait, why did that Buckets kid score 2 in a row? I thought he was taking it off tonight?
Another 3, this one missed. So what? That’s not the point. What is with that David West?!? Ah well, defense is overrated. We’ll just keep shooting to defend him. There we go, Reggie Williams hits another three. He hit over 40% in the D-League, why would he shoot any worse now? Can’t make a 3 you don’t take. (Weird how the Hornets were killing us with their bigs and then went small.) 30 point swing in the last 10 minutes or so. And they say I can’t coach. We’re shooting 9-11 from 3 in the Fourth. Now that’s coaching. If we can just shoot this well every game, no one will be able to beat us.
Beat the Hornets by 10. Let’s party like it’s 1999 or I’m coaching against Avery. Nothing as sweet as your nineteenth win.
Last night was huge for TEAM THORNTON. Huge. Hornets Hype’s favorite rookie (Can we make him our mascot? We could put him in the banner… would that be weird? No, OK. It would) came crashing out of the gates in his first NBA start, putting up 9 points in the first 5 minutes of the first quarter. He would quiet down after that, finishing with 19 on 8-12 shooting, but he and Darren Collison, in that crazy fast three-headed guard lineup that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, played a huge part in 10-1 run the Hornets went on in the last three minutes to squeak out yet another close game over the Blazers.
Highlights of Lil Buckets’ big debut night included a sick alley-oop from Chris Paul and a flagrant 1 foul when he elbowed Rudy Fernandez while fighting through a screen (whoops). Portland fans, feel free to come call me a Dusche Bagel, but he totally Euro-flopped. He whipped his head back and dropped like a rock, even though the replay showed Marcus’ elbow never even touched his chin. (Not the first elbow, the second one. Leading with the elbow into the chest was a foul, though flagrant is a stretch.) But enough on the foul because it didn’t end up being an issue; it was a solid debut and my favorite part of the night was the big smile on Thornton’s face when CST interviewed him postgame. Or maybe it was the rare smile on Chris Paul’s.
These close games, wow. WOW. When was the last time the Hornets were in a game that didn’t come down to the very last possession? (I checked. It was when they lost to the Spurs five games ago. Before that it was the Clippers win. People, that’s only TWO games out of the 14 they’ve played in January that weren’t close. And neither of them were by more than 8 points either. Between this team and the Saints the other night, I’m going to develop weird hand tremors and a heart condition.) But you know what? Don’t look now, but this team has become fun to watch. They’re coming out scrappy, and they’ve fashioned themselves into ice cold closers. With the West as crazy as it is– the Hornets are currently in a three-way tie for 9th place but are only 2 games out of 4th– they’re going to need these close games.
And finally. Chris Paul.
You know, I was going to elaborate, but what’s the point? Is there a verb that even describes what Chris Paul did last night? Or is he himself the verb? Yes. That’s what we’ll go with: The Blazers were Chris Pauled.
UPDATE: Lil Buckets shoutout on The Basketball Jones today! It’s at the very end after the Whoa Boy (which– I’m just gonna ruin it for you– is Chris Paul).
A lot of people aren’t particularly impressed with the Hornets winning seven out of their last eight games. The margin of victory, until last night’s blowout of the Clippers, was never more than five points during their six game win streak.
The numbers do not reflect a significant improvement on offense or defense. The streak might end up being just a bunch of fool’s gold. And it’s true, they’ve been close, up-and-down, streaky games, and sometimes it just seemed like an accident that when the 48 minutes were up, the Hornets were on top.
If that’s an accident, it’s the sort of accident championships have been based on. Am I saying this is a championship caliber team? No way. But what I’m saying is there are a lot of teams in this league that are more or less equal in terms of talent/record/whatever. And it is the small, almost accidental things that put teams over the top of each other in the standings. You can break down stats and make arguments, but it just is. There is no such thing as “you didn’t deserve to win that game.” There is only “you won that game,” or “you didn’t.”
Meanwhile, don’t look now but, although he started about an assist and a half behind him last month when he came back from his injury, last night Chris Paul tied Steve Nash to lead the league in assists with 11.2. His jumper has started to come back on, as well. And he and Emeka Okafor have really started to click in the last few weeks. David West and James Posey, two players who started out the year below expectations, have turned it up a few notches during this streak. Peja’s been having some sweet first halves. Marcus Thornton is, wonderfully, back to his crashing, shot-swishing self that was on display in November. Last night he actually got an and-1 on one of his drives to the basket. The poor kid gets mugged under the basket on a nightly basis and rarely gets calls– such is the life of a second rounder– and yet he’s always back at it, crashing the boards and trying his best to finish amongst a lot of guys a lot taller than he is.
And– at the risk of going all Bill Simmons on you– the team looks like they like each other again. A few games ago, after a particularly vicious block, I saw David West reach over and give Okafor a back-of-the-head slap that almost send him into next week. Bobby Brown, say what you like about his shot selection, is infectious in his excitement when he leaps around the bench after a big play. Players are talking on the floor. Everyone on the team was messing with Posey when they announced on the jumbotron that it was his 33rd birthday last night. Chris Paul is smiling as he weaves in and out of the ranks of his competitors on his way upcourt— shut up. I’m just playing. Of course he’s not.
And now I remember how much I love pulling for this team. I’ve seen them shine, I’ve seen them fall, but damned if it’s not fun to see them climb.
Unstoppable (Adjective): 1) Incapable of being stopped.
Chris Paul could not be stopped tonight. He had 30 points, 19 assists, and 9 rebounds. He was 7-7 in the third quarter. He was inside, he was outside, he was in the lane (finally, yes, we can all exhale a bit to see him dominating from there for the first time since his ankle injury), at the line. There was a stretch of the third to fourth quarters in which he had 22 out of the Hornets 24 points. There was a point when the Nuggets made a mini-run to close the gap, and Chris Paul checked back into the game, and his very presence, solely by being on the floor, was magic.
And there it was, in the building tonight, the Thing We Don’t Talk About. The players knew it. The fans knew it. And then in the fourth quarter I noticed something. Namely that Darius Songaila and Emeka Okafor weren’t on the floor, which was a little unusual. And that Devin Brown was, which was also a little unusual (but unsurprising considering neither Collison nor Thornton had a good showing tonight). The Hornets went with a crunch time lineup of Paul/West/Posey/Stojakovic/Brown. I think it is not coincidental that those five guys were all there last April, and were playing inspired and scrappy ball tonight. I think they wanted to close this out. And I think they deserved to.
If you’ve ever seen the movie The Sting, it’s about two con men who get revenge on a big mob boss by running an elaborate con and cheating him out of a quarter million dollars. But, the one character warns the other, taking the boss’s money isn’t going to be enough– it’s not going to change the past. And at the end, the other guy turns to the first guy and says, “You’re right. It’s not enough…. But it’s close.”
Did it really happen?
It happened without Chris Paul. It happened without David West having a good game. It happened by dominating the boards. It happened against the team with the best record of this young NBA season. And it happened on national TV.
Oh my gosh, is my Marcus Thornton love veering into inappropriate and all-consuming territory? Ever since he first stepped onto the floor, I just knew this kid could play. In the first four games of the Post-Byron Scott era, the first of his young career in which he’s received non-garbage minutes, Lil Buckets is averaging an efficient 16 pts in 20 minutes. He just has the self-confidence of a kid who believes he’s going to be a player in this league. You can’t coach that. You can’t buy it. It’s something I wish Julian Wright had. In the first half, Buckets was taken down by an Amare Stoudemire flagrant 1. A little while later, he cuts to the basket along the baseline and lays it in, right in front of Amare.
mW: Wait, was that him just popping back up, or did I see swagger?
Ticktock6: That was totally swagger! I love it!
I was all forlorn when he tweaked his ankle late in the game. He was easily going to set himself a new career high (it’s only 20, after all– he’ll surpass that in the next few weeks I bet). He tried to walk it off, but Jeff Bower was having none of it, and called timeout. But, a few minutes later, there’s Lil Buckets jogging out of the locker room. He spent some time bouncing up and down, stretching it out, and clearly wanted to get back in the game. The coaches elected to sit him. But it just confirms what I suspected: Buckets is indestructible. He certainly crashes the boards in the shadows of much larger players like he is. In summary, my love for my pet rookie knows no bounds.
But. Lest Darren Collison feel left out, I will say that I am dazzled by his speed every time he runs the floor. On one fast break, mW turned to me and said, “He looks like he’s just jogging, and yet he beat everyone down the court.” And the Suns are a running team! He’s going to wreak havoc against unsuspecting bench squads when Chris Paul comes back. Believe that. And that driving layup that sealed the game was positively CP-esque.
Emeka’s block on Amare. Eeeek.
Peja for threeeeee… actually, I’m not going to dwell on that, like the national media did. We knew he still could. Him outrebounding everyone on the Hornets and the Suns? Well. All right. That deserves a shout out.
Loved the standing O from the crowd when the Suns called timeout three minutes in. Hornets were up 11-2, and it just goes to show that fans appreciate hustle. And, seriously, the Hornets best closer is not Chris Paul. It is, hands down, “Shout!” on the jumbotron. By my informal count, I am not sure the Hornets have ever gone on to lose after that song is played. “A little bit louder now… Hey-ey-ey-hey!” … Game over.
Earlier this season I began to have a sneaking suspicion that maybe Devin Brown has got some things going for him that go beyond what we see on the floor. Darren Collison in the paper thanking him for helping him out on the floor… he’ll throw out some genuinely intelligent quotes (one time he was the Shirtless Locker Room Interview on Hornets Tonight, a fact which caused me to be extremely put out… except what he said was so not-dumb I couldn’t even find it in myself to hate on it)… last night he was waving his arms pumping up the crowd. The very foundations of my world have been rocked. Devin Brown is shooting from three in a way that some might describe as anti-detrimental. Devin Brown, I have to say, played well last night. But… what would I do without Devin Brown mockery? What is my place in such a lonely, stark, and frightening new world? I feel lost and helpless, like a small sea creature caught up in the whirl of great tides that I cannot fight or understand.
Oh, Devin. Devin.
So yesterday afternoon I was joking around that, instead of my regular snarky one-liners on Twitter during the game, I would comment upon Cavs/Magic Game 4 entirely in haiku. Well, this didn’t quite pan out the way I expected, since one of my domains got hit by a spammer from Sweden who generated 150,000 spam comments and caused my entire account, including this blog, to be suspended by my host. If you came here last night, you might have noticed the fact that the site was, you know, missing. Sorry about that. It’s fixed now. But it caused me to be on the phone with tech support and as a result I missed most of the game.
True to my word, though, I hopped on Twitter with around 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter and did live game commentary through the rest of regulation and overtime entirely in haiku. I decided to put all my haikus together, just for fun:
Dougie loves LeBron
but that pesky man named Skip
oh he’s just a friend
Superman at line
strangely strong under pressure
hit one to close out!
Rafer is so clutch
oh wait forget I said that
jack another one
GET THE DAMN REBOUND
IT’S OUT OFF OF DELONTE
lucky break Magic
Not too much time left
live or die by the jumper
time to live or die
Come on Feel the Noise
watcha gonna do Magic
inbound play is key
Swish goes the clutch shot
so this makes Rashard Lewis
King of what Kingdom???
he tripped over his own feet
travesty ends not
“What it comes down to”
“is Cavs are inferior”
“wasting our time” – M
Fatigue a factor?
how bout monstrous ass screwings
by men in gray shirts?
DUNK THAT SHIT DUH-WIGHT
the only way to live now
is fight through this hard!
Holy MF shit
was that shot from in orbit?
make your own fate now
They don’t need no crowns
these Magic know how to make
their own destiny
“I’ll tell you how big”
“that play was,” says Doug– wait Doug
how big was what now?
tune it out with the music
that plays in your head
Chosen One watches
as a taller star is made
in these late moments
In an apartment
somewhere in corporate land
two puppets are sad
Some scattered thoughts on Game 1:
The Hornets are a disgrace. I don’t care that Tyson and Peja are out. I don’t care that Hilton got injured when the ref (allegedly by accident) tripped him and sprained his ankle. And I don’t care that our trainers apparently don’t do any exercises that strengthen our players’ ankles. The Hornets should be deeply embarrassed. They just lost badly to a team that gave up 140 points to the Clippers and had lost six straight. And we are a playoff team, let alone a contender? A joke. I’m more horrified than the Comedian unable to deal with the biggest joke of all.
Don’t worry. TT6 will have a new hotness bracket up soon. At least then we’ll see something tangentially Hornets-related that doesn’t make me want to put my fist through a wall. As they’re playing now, the Hornets don’t deserve to be in the Playoffs, and fuck it, because Stern wants Shaq in anyway. So I say, just give it to him and the Suns. We don’t deserve it.