Do not go gentle into that good night.
Minnesota 93 (20–48) | New Orleans 94 (42–25)
Well... that didn't quite unfold the way I thought it would.
The Hornets started strong in the first quarter. Our shots were falling and our defense was forcing the Wolves offense deep into their shot clock. Bad decisions abounded leading the Hornets to go 8 to 0 within the first 3 minutes. You could tell the guys were playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, trying to earn some cred back after a few tough losses.
We got a little lazy toward the end of the first and through most of the second, allowing the Wolves to get within a basket. But we picked up the slack again in the third, heading into the fourth with an 8 point lead.
Then, out of nowhere, the Wolves started hitting their shots. They (meaning mostly Kevin Love) had gained a large portion of their points from the stripe, but had been unable to convert much from the field. But in the fourth, the treys started falling and the Hornets found themselves having to go bucket-for-bucket just to keep the lead (or keep within 1, as the case might have been). A few solid defensive performances toward the end allowed the Hornets to seal the W, but damn if my blood pressure didn't shoot through the roof on those final 12 seconds.
Bullets after the jump.
- Though many of us expected a blowout tonight, the actual result of the game shouldn't have surprised us too much. Though the Wolves were missing Jefferson, we were out one Peja and one Tyson. Add a terrible night night from DX (14 points on 13 shots, 4 turnovers) and a pitiful team showing from beyond the arc (28.6%) and I'd say a close game against these guys is not too far out of the question.
- That having been said, CP pretty much won this one for us. Each time we missed a few shots in a row, he'd take over. He probably didn't want to play 41 minutes tonight, but he also didn't want to lose. And adding 26 points, 10 assits, 4 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 turnovers will go a long way towards winning.
- Julian looked good tonight. The stat sheet really doesn't do him justice. He looked sharp, knocked down a few shots, and was perfectly annoying on defense. Just what we wanted out of him. Too bad he only got 19 minutes.
- Hilton, who started in TC's stead, finished with 4 blocks. Just saying.
- Hilton also had 12 points, 8 rebounds, an assist, and 0 turnovers in 29 minutes. Well done, fella.
- Kevin Love had a really strong outing. 23 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover in only 33 minutes. Some of that could have to do with the fact that David likes disappear on defense every now and then, but I don't want to take away from Love's effort. Even more impressive was that he took quite a beating from us down low and then converted 11 of his 13 free throws.
- Quick mini-rant: CP drove into the lane on one possession and drew THREE defenders. But instead of someone (Sean Marks) following behind for the easy, open pass and high percentage shot, everyone (Sean Marks) stayed in position (at the top of the key) and watched Paul not be able to pass to anyone and throw up a prayer to try and get a foul... which he did... but still... COME ON, GUYS! Little help.
- And the award for "Worst Single Possession of the Year" goes to... Morris Peterson! Mo rebounded a missed free-throw and ended up bring the ball up the court. He then settled outside the arc near the Hornets bench while he proceeded to do absolutely nothing for for a solid 7 seconds or so. He did think about passing it once or twice, but decided to just fake it instead. He then went left, taking Mike Miller one on one to the top of the paint, settling for a lousy jump shot that was blocked by Miller at the free-throw. Thanks to all our contestants out there.
Photos courtesy of yahoo.com
Composed to: Prince's Purple Rain (little shout out to all the folks in Minny)
The opponent's take: Canis Hoopus