Game Notes: Hornets at Celtics
The Peja Show can’t stop Boston.
by Jonathan Evans
After dismantling the Bulls Friday night, today was the Hornets turn to try and give the unbeaten Celtics a run for their money. While hot shooting and CP3 doing what he does kept them close, it was no match for the Celtics late who turned it up and cruised to a 97-87 win. Here’s how it went down…
– Emeka opens up the game with two turnovers in 30 seconds. That’s probably not the best way to endear oneself to a new set of teammates. On the other end, the Celtics look lethargic from the jump. Maybe it’s the awkward 6pm start time but almost everything’s coming up short so far as they seem to just be going through the motions.
– Bobby Brown checks in for CP3 halfway through the first. It seems somewhat surprising to see Paul head to the bench so early into the game. Insert joke here about it being Bobbys Brown’s prerogative to play.
– A long rebound off a Bobby Brown miss sets up a Celtics fast break. Pierce to Rondo to the trailing Garnett for the slam. 11-10, Hornets.
– Posey, checking in for Julian Wright, gets a warm reception from the Celtics crowd. I would imagine that after having to rely on Marbury and Mikki Moore one would gain more appreciation for a quality role player.
– Pierce drives by Posey, slices through the lane, takes hit from Hilton Armstrong and finishes with the and-one. That makes ten points for The Truth so far, all of which coming off of Pierce trademark drives to the basket. Not explosive or flashy but deliberate, kind of awkward, and ultimately effective.
– Perkins takes his turn abusing Armstrong with an impressive McHale up and under move for two. Perkins has definitely raised his ceiling from fake-ass Charles Oakley to vital cog on a championship team.
– Hornets start the quarter small with a backcourt of Paul and Brown. It’s not good for their size and is proving to be not good for their field goal percentage. After hitting one to open the quarter, the CS Fullerton product has badly missed three from deep. Somewhere Marc Stein is displeased.
– An observation on just how deep Boston is this season. For Wallace, his second unit frontline of himself, Sheldon Williams and Marquis Daniels is arguably better than his starting front line from a year ago in Detroit.
– Double techs called on Paul and Rondo as the two get tangled under the basket. There’s some holding, then some talking, then some posturing. Hopefully it means this matchup will start heating up.
– Hornets pick and roll has gotten Boston to switch on multiple possessions but hasn’t been able to capitalize. Offensive fouls and general sloppy play keep me from taking them seriously. And just as I write that David West falls down. The traveling violation is the 11th turnover for the Hornets so far. Boston capitalized as consecutive Hornets turnovers result in back-to-back threes from Pierce. Cs +11.
– Pierces drives by Julian Wright, no baseline help from New Orleans lets Pierce cruise in for the slam.
– On one end, Hilton Armstrong soaring one handed rebound putback slam is athletic and explosive. On the other Pierce’s turnaround jumper is cagey and methodical. With 20 first half points and a nine point lead, the advantage goes to Pierce.
– Off a miss, CP3 dances in the open court. Paul dribbles on right wing and fires a no look bounce pass to an open David West underneath for two. David West surely looks like a stud when he doesn’t have to do anything to create his own shot.
– Out in transition, an out of control Wright commits a sloppy offensive foul, the Hornets 14th turnover of the game. In the Hornets 11 possessions so far this quarter, five have resulted in scores. Four of those five involved Paul scoring or giving out the assist. All of that is a long winded way of saying – Julian Wright please do not take it upon yourself to lead a break when Chris Paul is on the floor.
– The Hornets defense is lacking when put up next to Boston’s. Scott’s squad is a step slow, not very communicative with each other, and isn’t working together to help. Celtics extend lead to 12 after a turnaround fadeaway from KG.
– Chris Paul is in the building. Paul snakes through the defense, finds a hole and pulls up for three. Next time down he drives, pulls up for floater in the lane. Later in the quarter, CP3 sets up at top of the key after a timeout. Everyone in the building knows he’s looking for his own shot but no one can do much to stop it. He pulls up from 18’ and drains the jumper over outstretched arms of a helping KG to pulls his Hornets within seven.
– Bobby Brown, perhaps trying to take a cue from his aggressive backcourt mate, tries to drive right through KG in the paint. Browns layup attempt was engulfed by KG. Next time down, CP3 leads the break and drives into the chest of Pierce and finishes the layup. Student, meet teacher.
– A steal by CP3 leads to a Peja three from the left wing to tie the ball game. Returning to the third quarter “Paul-o-meter” the Hornets had 24 possessions in the period. 13 resulted in scores. 12 of those 13 were the result of Chris Paul.
– After Peja knots the game with a three from the wing, a 6-0 run from the Cs gives them some breathing room. A Sheed three and a slam from Mr. Candice Parker brings the crowd to their feet and forces a New Orleans timeout.
– Peja strikes again. Another three gives him a game high 26 and pulls New Orleans within two. Peja has scored all of the Hornets 11 points to start the fourth. Did somebody convince Peja that it was 2003? After two laughers, it looks like the C’s will finally have a game here in the 4th quarter.
– KG goes to work. And by goes to work I don’t mean hanging out in the high post and hitting jumpers in the flow of the offense. Rather, he is taking it to West down low with back to back turnarounds. It’s nice to be reminded that he’s still got that in him.
– David West hits a three. Out of the five field goals from the Hornets this quarter, four were from deep. The Hornets 50 percent shooting from behind the arc is the only reason not named Chris Paul that this one is still a game. Celtics by three with 4 minutes left.
– The Hornets offense is stalling as this one is getting out of hand. On the other end, KG, triple teamed down low finds Pierce open at the top of the key. He head fakes the streaking West off his feet and hits the three, 95-86. Sandwiched around the Pierce three are two other assists from KG that were a direct result of Boston working inside out with KG on the block. This late 4th quarter takeover from KG sends the Hornets out of Boston with the loss.