Did a little gameday Q&A action. Check it out here.
And then check out the game on ESPN. The Hornets kind of need this one.
Did a little gameday Q&A action. Check it out here.
And then check out the game on ESPN. The Hornets kind of need this one.
I did a lil Q&A, a lil pregame fun, with Sophia from the Portland Trailblazers blog Bust a Bucket. You should go check out my answers over there, although they would have been a bit different had I known Devin Brown was going to be traded today. You should also go solely to witness that most brilliant and rare of creatures that is not one but two female NBA bloggers previewing a game. The concept is mind-blowing, I know.
TT6: What’s the deal with Brandon Roy’s on-again off-again hamstring injury? Is it correct that he’s not playing tonight?
Sophia: Roy remains ineligible to play tonight. He was reported to undergo PRP Therapy last week and he’s still recovering from that. The team has been fairly mum about the actual injury and the severity, however he was diagnosed with a hamstring strain. He missed a game, then returned to play, then went back with trainer Jay Jensen to get a second opinion during the team’s most recent road trip. Needless to say, this particular injury and the management of the situation has caused many fans consternation. What IS the deal with Brandon’s hamstring? No one quite knows.
Sophia: There really are a number of reasons. Before Roy was sidelined with the injury he was playing phenomenally in December and January. He had a bumpy start to the season in some respects but really turned up the intensity and took on more scoring and assisting responsibilities when first Greg, then Pryzbilla went down. He showed why he deserves to be an All Star. Martell Webster has been shooting lights out for the last month or so. His confidence is soaring. He’s been active defensively (sometimes he gets lost on that end) and has been rebounding more. He’s really stepped up with the extra minutes he took on. The depleted bench includes Dante Cunningham, Jeff Pendergraph and [sometimes] Patty Mills. Dante is my absolute favorite role player. He has played extremely well and is becoming an excellent defender. He has shown the ability to play well against opposing 3′s and 4′s. Defensively he’s absolute money , he’s rebounding monster and he can shoot. By far the best surprise of the season. Jerryd Bayless got a couple starts and has seen increased playing time. He has had some monster games and is a real spark-plug. He has had some crappy games, but overall he has really stepped up his play as well. The work he put into his shot this past summer shows and he has logged more assists and rebounds than many thought he was capable of. I cant forget Juwon Howard either. He has been absolutely key to dealing with the “no center” situation. He’s played many minutes and is rebounding, defending and adding a little toughness and attitude that Joel would have provided last season. I wont go all out and say Howard is the reason the team has kept afloat, but he’s a big part of it. So ok, tons of people have stepped up. Any Blazer fan can argue that any one guy has done something that is the key to keep the Blazers winning, but truly its been a total team effort. Every night they have played like they have nothing to lose with this “us against the world” attitude. I love it.
TT6: Who have been Portland’s ‘”X-factor” players this year?
Sophia: OOOOOH ! I really want to write “Dante Cunningham” for this but that isn’t honest. I would have to say Brandon Roy. He’s our All Star and is AWESOME! He is Mr. 4th Quarter, Mr. Fearless Leader , Mr. Play-When-Injured. He’s been this team’s everything (cue love music) and without him this season or long term, I shudder to think what the Blazers become.
It’s funny, I spent so much time getting hyped up for “THIS IS THE .500 GAME GUYS, AND WE HAVE THE KNICKS/RAPS/CRAPPY TEAM!” only to have the team continue to lose. And then the Hornets end up getting to .500 in about the most unlikely and unpredictable way possible: 1) On the road, where they were 2-13, B) Against the Jazz (yes, I consider the Jazz the most unlikely road win, even over the Lakers. The Hornets have put together some great wins in LA). And then they actually went into OKC and put in a nice balanced effort last night to string together their first road win streak of the season and a 4-game win streak overall.
It wasn’t until about ten minutes after the game ended that I realized the Hornets were a winning team for the first time this season. I think At the Hive put this aptly when he observed that this year the Hornets have “a very random resilience.” I don’t know if it’s having young rookies with fresh legs come off the bench or Byron Scott getting fired or what, but the Hornets aren’t caving and getting steamrolled when things aren’t going their way quite as badly as they were in the beginning of the season or even last year. They’re winning games they aren’t supposed to win. They’re taking care of business at home. They’ve got to be up there at the top of the list in terms of the percentage of close games they’ve played in/won this season. (Hello, stat people? Does this observation have validity?) And they’re winning games against teams that are ahead of them in the standings, ie: the teams they need to beat to grab a playoff spot. And they have the Nets this Friday.
And… oh, what the hell. Go team.
P.S. I’m going to be at Chris Paul’s bowling event this afternoon. It’s being taped to air on ESPN in February, so I can’t tell you who won or anything. But check my twitter @ticktock6 for updates!
By ticktock6 on January 3, 2010
A little background: The Hornets held a 94-93 lead over the Rockets with 43 seconds left when Carl Landry ran over James Posey and subsequently fouled out. Rick Adelman was apparently incensed about this and made a few cutting statements to the media after the game. I have to say the officiating was pretty bad in this game– probably the worst I’ve seen at a home game this season– but it was also evenly bad. There were plenty of unbelievable calls that had the home crowd yelling and booing as well.
I know this is a floppers’ league, but come on. Can we at least pretend not to be so obvious about it?
From the AP recap:
Landry said he didn’t run over Posey intentionally and that Posey “tried to flop a little bit.”
Posey said he’d recognized the play Houston was running and moved into Landry’s path.
“He didn’t even slow down and he just ran me over and I was able to get the call,” Posey said. “It was just one of those heady plays, just saving it for a stretch like that.”
But the quote in Landry’s home paper is a little different:
When Landry ran over James Posey while looking to post up — the call that most infuriated the Rockets and fouled Landry out of the game — the Rockets had gone more than two scoreless minutes, putting Paul in position to adroitly guide the Hornets through the final minutes.
“I knew (Posey) was going to be there,” Landry said. “I tried to flop a little bit and get the call to go my way. They were at home. I guess it didn’t go our way.
The NBA: Where Complaining Because the Other Guy Is a Better Flopper Than You Happens.
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.”
In case you turned off the game, the Hornets bench went on a 28-16 run in the fourth quarter and managed to close the gap to 9 points in the last minute, before finally losing to the Lakers 110-99. There’s about a minute left. The Hornets foul. I thought nothing of it– it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to be doing. It’s under ten, you have timeouts, things can happen. We’ve already seen one game this year (the Dallas overtime win) where it did happen. Clock runs down. Hornets foul again. There’s 4 seconds left and they have the ball. It wasn’t really until then that I notice the crowd is booing. CST does a close-up on the Hornets bench, and it’s Posey (you might have known he’d be behind something like this) and Armstrong hollering at the rookies to go, go, go. Collison throws up a shot that doesn’t make it, game ends.
What’s the fuss? Apparently the Lakers fans have some sort of taco promotion if they score over 100 and hold their opponent to less than 100. It wouldn’t have annoyed me so much if I hadn’t seen fans of two other teams, the Raptors and the Blazers, complaining on Twitter earlier in the night about the exact same thing: fans who cheer at the wrong times because they want free food. We’ve got one of those food promotions too, for Popeyes, only luckily ours is fairly new and people don’t usually make a huge deal over it. I think it’s tacky.
But then I check Twitter and see several people in my feed making fun of the Hornets bench for trying, and man, that got me fired up. “If they had played that hard the whole game they wouldn’t have been down 20!” “Lakers fans shouldn’t be embarrassed because they cheer louder for tacos than the game– the Hornets should be embarrassed for losing!” “The Hornets are poor sports for not rolling over!” (I made sure to bookmark that one for days when I need a good laugh.) Etc. One of these people was an ESPN writer, which is kind of inexplicable to me.
You people did notice that this wasn’t exactly the lineup that lost the game? The Hornets had three guards out there under 6-4, and were playing 6-9 Darius Songaila at center. I mean, that’s not exactly an NBA lineup. That’s serious small ball, and they were pushing the pace.
Two of those guys were rookies. Three of them were under the age of 23. Four of them have been in the league three years or less. Darren Collison is a rookie. Marcus Thornton is a rookie, who was 0-4 in the first three quarters, and is fighting for a spot in the starting lineup, while trying hard to get out of a three game shooting slump. Bobby Brown, who didn’t meet a three ball 4 seconds into the shot clock he didn’t like all evening, has to prove he shouldn’t be glued to the bench forever when Chris Paul gets back. Julian Wright is playing to get back in the rotation. Darius Songaila was trying because he is a bench vet who always tries. They’re playing for minutes. They’re playing for their careers.
It’s embarrassing the Hornets bench tried to erase a lead?
I’m sorry, have we met? I’m Ticktock6, I’m a Hornets fan. I was sitting in the stands all forty-eight minutes of a 58 point home playoff blowout, for which I did not receive free food. A blowout in which a bunch of veteran bench players managed to turn a thirty point deficit into almost a sixty point hole by completely giving up. That’s embarrassing. The point of this isn’t to get into a game of “who’s a better fan,” but some people last night on Twitter were trying to tell me the meaning of embarrassing.
You know what? I don’t play basketball. I wasn’t on the floor in LA last night. The bottom line is, I don’t have to live with giving up at the end of a blowout. The five guys on the floor do.
But it still looks like Rondo started it. And if Chris Paul tried to follow anyone into locker rooms and had to be prevented by security, it’s not on this video. (This is from the Celtics’ feed, by the way, since CST didn’t show the end-of-the-game scuffle.) It looks like CP and Paul Pierce were talking when Rondo butted in and got up in Chris’ face. CP immediately sticks his hands in the air and backs up, talking the whole time. Pierce steps between the two, and meanwhile Eddie House grabs Rondo and hauls him off. And then a couple of seconds later, Devin Brown comes and drags CP off in the other direction and that appears to be the end of it.
Yawn. And there we have the genesis of yet another exaggerated headline featuring Chris Paul.
By ticktock6 on October 31, 2009
I’m sure some of you remember the infamous Rafer Alston/David West/Chris Paul incident from 2007-08 (Rafer went on national TV the day before the Rockets arrived in New Orleans to play the Hornets and said David West wasn’t a star, the Hornets kicked their butts into next week, and Chris Paul was very, very sarcastic in his postgame comments– actually, it’s by far the rudest I’ve ever seen him in a press conference).
Well, the Hornets play the 3-0 Boston Celtics on Sunday. And, coincidentally or perhaps not, this happened to pop across my Twitter feed last night:
Look, forget about what Rondo said. I’m sure every point guard– in his own mind, anyway– thinks he’s the greatest. Forget about the fact that he totally has it backwards; put Chris Paul on the Celtics with Pierce, Garnett, and Allen, and they’d win like 75 games, is more like it. The funniest part about this is, I cannot imagine what Perkins was thinking, telling that to a media guy. I mean, what did he think was going to happen there?
This is terrifyingly like poking a dragon with a stick. OK, the Hornets look like a massive work in progress still, while the Celtics already seem to be clicking the best out of the potential title contenders in these early days of the season. So it’s not like we’re expecting a huge victory Sunday, or anything. But the fact remains that you don’t poke a dragon with a stick. It breathes motherfreakin’ fire. It’s not safe. I’m not saying the Hornets are going to come out and win this game, bulletin board material or not. I’m just saying if they do, the Celtics will know who is to blame.
As for the Hornets, I would print this out. I would stick it up on the wall wherever. And I would make certain Chris Paul sees it.
Edited to Add: As I’d hoped, here’s At the Hive with the statistical debunking of Rondo’s statement.
Oh, those crafty Northwest Division teams… Couple of old rivals cruising for a revenge beatdown in this list. Well, we hope, anyway.
Once again, shout out to Celtics Blog for organizing the whole preview thing.
Here are all the links you need to catch up on what all our big rival bloggers think their teams are going to do this year. (I haven’t read them all, but let me hazard a guess that everyone thinks their team could win the Division except the Grizzles and maybe the Rockets.)
New Orleans Hornets
San Antonio Spurs
And once again, shout out to Celtics Blog for putting together and hosting the whole NBA preview shindig!