Game Notes: Magic at Hornets
Civic pride on display in New Orleans.
-Hornets start shooting really well, a Willie Green three makes it 56-46, NBA.
-Chris loses Jameer with a step-back crossover, then drains the jumper. Going to look at him more in the second half. I read somewhere that he was still playing his way back into shape with the knee and all. He seems very self-contained, in a good way. Contrast that to years of constant fury and 40+ minutes per game.
-Has 4 and 10 tonight and, just as I write this, catches a Dwight forearm in the temple.
-Like three lines of “Just a Friend” come over the PA. Biz Markie, forever strange and at odd times.
-Ry Anderson hits a three to make it 60-57 and Monty counters by re-inserting Marcus, who is ready to fire.
-Chris keeps going to Okafor, who’s getting dunks and getting to the line. Lead back up to eight.
-SVG tells the re-entered Gil to push it, resulting in an Ariza steal and dunk. That’s an odd couple, Stan and Gil. The next possession, the crafty Hedo flails his way to three foul shots. Now that combo, Van Panic and the Turk, they could run a taxi biz together, keep teasing the pretty boy, wannabe actor JJ, and grumble about the optimistic Howard. What?
-I’m sitting tonight at the top of Sec. 124, next to five large TV cameras. The camerman controls the zoom and shots using a kind of throttle like you’d see on a motorcycle. When his shot is the one on-air, several lights on the camera turn red.
-Dwight is back, hits a 17-foot jumper, has 23 and 10. Going down the stretch, will the Magic get him the ball?
-Intense boos follow a Thornton charge into Gil.
-Hornets D starts to tighten up and frustrate Dwight, who then gets a bit pissy when Jason Smith pokes at the ball after a whistle. 72-63, NO, and a good show by their bench.
-The scorer’s sheet for the first three quarters appears. Attendance: 13,688. Not good. Loud, but not the 14,932 they need to average to avoid the specter of an out-clause. Tough night, bitter cold, but numbers is numbers.
-Here we go. Gray-Howard for all the marbles. And then Saturday he takes on the Ravens. Black and Yellow.
-Redick misses a three. Bass airballs. Redick hits a two, JRich gets a put back. 72-67, NOLA, and no touches for the best center in the game.
-Monty calls TO. The Dancecam shows a heavyset lad wearing a red Alabama cap with the Braves-like A who very much resembles pre-vegan Lang.
-6:22 remaining, Emeka checks back in. WHHHHHYY? Cause he has 15 and 11 tonight on 7-10 shooting.
-Good situation for the Chris litmus. He curls around for a two, then Redick hits a three. Hornets miss, Bass two handed dunk. CP3 forces it to Okafor, gets tipped, but Thornton puts it in. The teams trade some bad shots, then Bass fouls his fellow LSU alum on the break, Thornton hits the FTs to make it 76-72. Next possession, Dwight never finds his way to the paint. Ariza takes a charge and there’s a break at 2:39.
-So you’re telling me dude spent the summer with Hakeem in order to not get the ball in the fourth quarter? Did that ever happen to Hakeem? Ever?
-Instead, Dwight picks up a tech for swiping away Mek’s arm. In fairness, refs really don’t like him.
-Chris hit’s a floater, 79-72. Crowd is up and Chris seems to playing himself into just fine, indeed. Timeout.
-Redick sees a wide open Dwight too late, then throws a pass that ricochets off Superman’s hands into the backboard and out. The two exchange words down the court.
-JRich three makes it 79-75. Guess we’re not done. He fouls Mek on the other end. Dwight and JJ still arguing. Oh, you two!
-All the Hornets starters (minus Belinelli, plus Thornton) are in double figures. With 0:46 left, they’re up by five.
-Out of the timeout, SVG conceals his mouth with his clipboard when talking to Dwight. JRich then bangs another three to cut it to 80-78. Wow.
-Chris runs the clock way down, then misses. But Mek gets a big rebound and CP3 is fouled. Makes one of two. Timeout Stanley, time to stand up and get crunk.
-Amazingly cool play drawn up: Ball goes to Dwight, who puts it back out to Redick, who hits Hedo who drains a three to tie it at 81. West misses at the buzzer and we have OT.
-Lookout, they remembered. Dwight hits a jump step hook shot, gets a put-back, blocks West, gets another putback. 87-84, Orlando.
-As the Hornets come down and set up, SVG holds his hands on his head like he’s about get frisked. Hard. Shake your junk, Van Gundy! Okafor dunks.
-There’s a scrum for a rebound on the other end and CP3 gives Bass a little sneak punch, then barks at him to back up after the whistle. Both get techs. Kinda ish you love about Chris if you love him.
-Ariza all alone under the hoop, take the lead by one. JRich slices to the whole, takes lead back. 89-88.
-Thornton from the top of the key, back in the lead, TO Junk shaker. We have 30 seconds left.
-Hedo is back, but misses a three, Dwight gets fouled grabbing the rebound. Big call after a night that hasn’t been easy on the Magic official-wise.
-He bricks the first. Something’s happening, might be a special trick instruction from Stan. Regardless, another brick. Timeout.
-Gil comes in, for some reason, and commit’s the foul they had to give. Then Thornton gets fouled. He’s 7-18 tonight, drinks Natural Ice and buries both FTs. 92-89. Redick airballs a three, GAME.
-What they call Creole blue confetti falls on the crowd. It’d be a shame, I think. Not because an NBA franchise solves everything. Not because the games don’t get a little routine sometimes. Not because any of us should have to clean up for George Shinn.
Not much has been said about the disaster in the Gulf as a factor in this situation, but it was. Gary Chouest makes his money in that Gulf and best believe he thought twice about sinking more money in a team when he has a billion dollar business to reorganize. Nor have we talked much about the timing of the League’s purchase, at this particular time in league history. Can you not see the Hornets being held up as Example A in the argument that the current structure means even sympathetic, battered New Orleans can’t keep a team?
But three hours of civic pride at least 41 times a year, that’s nothing to forego without a fight. Debunk the meaning of sports as you wish, but 13,688 New Orleanians drank beer together, cheered for the same team, checked on the cheerleaders, booed Dwight Howard. I’m not saying this because of any poor-New Orleans BS. I live here. Since I moved back, the team’s been a part of my life, to greater and lesser degrees, but a positive part. It would suck to lose them.