Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just give this guy a ball and he'll put it through a rim from long distance

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 4:38 AM

click to enlarge Peja is a goofball

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Photo by Jonathan Bachman

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For the record, tonight's 101–86 Hornets victory over Philadelphia was one of the goofiest games I've seen in quite a while. Start off Julian Wright making just his second career start, much to the delight of the crowd and to Ju-Ju's surprise (after the game, he said he was "startled" when coach Byron Scott gave him the starting nod). Things only got weirder as the 76er proceeded to shoot 59.5% in the first half along with scoring 36 points in the paint, yet they only led by seven at the break. Or just look at Peja Stojakovic: the smiling Serbian sharpshooter's first- and second-half stat lines were like night and day. Just look:

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  • Peja Stojakovic 1st half: 4 points, 0 three-point FGs, and 2 turnovers.
  • Peja Stojakovic 2nd half: 22 points, 6 three-point FGs, and 1 turnover (that came on a shot he took a millisecond after the shot clock expired ... and that went in).

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"You can't stop trying," Stojakovic said after the game. "You always have to give yourself a chance. Your next shot is always your best shot."

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Stojakovic brought the house down in the fourth quarter when he made five-straight three-pointers. That tied a personal best for Peja and a franchise record set in November 2007. But the goofiness certainly didn't end there.

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  • As mentioned, Julian Wright said he was surprised when he heard that we would be in the starting lineup. That ofcourse meant that Wright would be introduced to the crowd, which he followed up by doing his pre-game dance. But for the first time (that I can remember, at least) arena cameras caught Byron Scott reacting to dance: a sly grin and a shake of his head.

  • Not one to let his second career start get in the way of what's really important, Wright was yelling "hayduken" and "sonic boom" in the shower. For those who don't know, those are moves from the Super Nintendo game "Street Fighter." Later, Wright got into an excited discussion with Morris Peterson about what was the better video game: Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Peterson said he liked Mortal Kombat more. Wright retorted by saying that the big "sleeper" game was "Killer Instinct."
  • Chris Paul (27 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds) recorded his fifth triple-double of the season and moved into second place on the Hornets all-time assists list. In the locker room after the game, Mo Pete asked Paul if he was trying to get a quadruple-double in the waning moments of the game (Paul finished with seven steals). "I would've gotten a quinti-whatever you call five with all those turnovers," Paul,
  • Chris Paul made not one, but two ridiculous shots in which he drew heavy contact before taking the making the basket. On one play, Paul even got a knee to the groin before making the shot. How is it that Paul routinely makes shots like where he's knocked to the floor? "I don't know," he admitted. "Once you hear the whistle you know you're getting the foul so it's just concentrating on somehow making the shot."
  • Coach Byron Scott said that the team had a nice turnaround from their first half performance, thanks in part due to the "yelling and screaming" he did during the halftime intermission. Okay, that one's not so much goofy as "we've seen this way too much." But whatever, the Hornets won didn't they?

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