by Aggrey Sam
–First Hornets game I’ve been to in ’09. Accordingly, my seat is up top, despite open seats along the baseline. The nerve of these dudes.
-Plenty of empty seats in the stands, too. The atmosphere is night and day compared to last season. Actually, it was a lot like this when I first moved here, before the All-Star break. The food, however, has not suffered. Red beans and rice, fried chicken, greens and a corn muffin.
–On to the game. The leftover chippiness from Saturday’s Game 3 is apparent, especially between Dahntay Jones and CP3. D-West starts the scoring with a foul-line J, followed by a K-Mart dunk. Regardless of stats, West has clearly been exposed as fugazi in this series. Word to Tim Thomas.
–Nene hits a baseline J, then Rasual Butler is plucked by Chauncey in the backcourt, leading to a putback by Jones.
–It gets worse. Despite the benefit of some tight officiating early (no matter what the fans think), the Hornets are down 13 with a little under eight minutes to go in the first quarter.
–Personally, I’d call a timeout here, but Byron lets them play on, and Peja hits a trey. Shows how much I know.
–Chauncey knocks down a crazy deep 3 immediately afterwards, killing the Hornets’ (and the crowd’s) momentum. This will become a theme.
–Observation: Tyson Chandler is ridiculously ineffective with his back to the basket in one-on-one situations.
–Now K-Mart is hitting jumpers. I’m thinking, if he and Nene can do that consistently, game over I must be a genius, right?
–Posey checks in for ‘Sual. Sean Marks also enters, to loud applause.
–Hornets timeout. 25-8 with 4:25 to go. In the first quarter.
–Denver’s scoring is remarkably balanced. New Orleans’ energy is remarkably lethargic.
–K-Mart drops CP with a hard pick, then CP finds West for a dunk before engaging K-Mart in some posturing that results in a double tech. Turning point?
–Not to be. Jones ends the quarter with a triple. 36-15, Denver. Turning point, indeed.
–The Hornets shot 6-19 from the field. The Nuggets were 14-20.
–’Melo came to play tonight? It’s a wrap. I feel bad for ‘Sual. He’s been abused something terrible already by both ‘Melo and Chauncey. ‘Melo hasn’t missed yet. I almost forgot how nice he is.
–Posey is getting some scrappy buckets and making open shots. However, the Hornets are down a dub and playing basket for basket with Denver. Their ballhandlers, outside of CP, look scary. CP doesn’t look so great himself. Sloppy.
--Birdman is hitting fades? No words for that.
–Roy Jones Jr. is here.
–Nene is abusing Tyson in the post now. This is really hard to watch.
–Is that a fighting spirit I see? ‘Sual gets fouled from behind by Anthony Carter on a breakaway, then goes over to challenge old AC, before JR Smith (the voice of reason!) intervenes. Tech for ‘Sual.
–Chauncey is so cool. After a semi-melee between ‘Melo and Posey, he shoots while the refs sort things out.
–Linas Kleiza scores five quick points toward the end of the half. Denver leads, 61-39. ‘Melo has 20.
–New Orleans starts the second half with a turnover, but CP gets it back and finds West for a J to cut the lead to 20. Nene comes right back with an and-one.
–’Melo is focused and physical. He’s either draining jumpers or going right to the rack. Technician.
–Chauncey isn’t hitting the rim on his shots. Wet. Same goes for Peja. Air. Boos commence.
–K-Mart hits from 15 feet to put Denver up, 72-41. Hornets timeout. Sean Marks won’t save the day, people. Neither would Julian Wright, but let the kid play anyway. Couldn’t hurt.
–Denver isn’t letting up. 80-48 with 3:30 left in the third. Folks are already heading for the exits.
–Jones hits a J to put Denver up, 88-50, at the end of three.
–Dahntay is the only starter to start the final period on either team. CP ends up with four points, six dimes and six turnovers.
–Julian with a spinning lefty (!) fade from the foul line. What did I just say?
–Kleiza pushes the lead to 40 with a trey. This is when I wondered if a 50-point win was possible.
–The fans realize that the Hornets quit. A lot of Saints comparisons floating around.
–Stats have become irrelevant; I just want to see if the Nuggets can double up the Bees. 97-53 with 8:22 to go.
–Doubled up like Betha! 111-55. Jason Hart and Johan Petro sightings. The revenge of JR and Birdman is in full effect. JR is extra mature, too. Hornets fans still love Bird.
–Well, I guess we can safely say that series preview was just a little bit off. Hey, at least people here have a reason to drink tonight. Unless…last night was the hangover.