Thursday, January 29, 2009

This just in: The Hornets bench isn't that bad

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 4:51 AM

click to enlarge Sean Marks throwing it down with authority

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Photo by Johnathan Bachman

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It seems like Hornets fans (not to mention coach Byron Scott) have been waiting for a performance like tonight's from the bench all season. Make no mistake — and with all due respect to Peja Stojakovic's 26 points — it was the Hornets backups that delivered tonight's 94–81 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets.

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And as unlikely as the quality of the bench play was, Devin Brown might have been the unlikeliest of success stories tonight. Brown had registered three-straight  "Did Not Play–Coach's Decision" before Morris Peterson went down with a foot injury and got his shot tonight. The result was 18 points including 3–for–3 from three-point range.

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"That's what veteran players have to do," Brown said if his performance. "When you get an opportunity to play you have to take advantage of it."

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Overall, the Hornets bench committed just one turnover the whole game while outscoring the Nuggets' reserves 42–13. Does this mean that the Hornets no longer have a problem with their bench play? Hardly. But with David West and Tyson Chandler out with injuries, they've certainly stepped up their game and been a crucial factor in the Hornets going 4–1 in their last five games. Not to mention they're racking up crucial minutes and experience.

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"Our bench is getting stronger," Scott said. "It's going to be someone different every night. We're getting contributions from a little bit of everybody and that's what we're going to need in the next couple of games."

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Other news and notes from tonight's win:

  • Coach Scott did not have any information on Morris Peterson's injury, though during the game it was reported as a left foot sprain. Peterson will undergo an MRI tomorrow.
  • Ryan Bowen notched four points tonight and a steal tonight with an incalculable number of "hustle" plays. Speaking of hustle, Bowen's theme music (what the PA plays when he enters the game and after he scores) is "Do the Hustle" because, as Bowen explains, that's what he does. For the record, though, he did have differentiate for me that he meant hustling on the court as opposed to street hustling.
  • The Hornets wore their throwback New Orleans Buccaneers uniforms tonight for their second "Hardwood Classics" night. Part of the whole promotion is showing players' images on the Jumbotron with 70's style hairdos. Most of them are predictable — Chris Paul with an afro, Sean Mark with a moptop and Buddy Holly glasses — but Julian Wright's picture had fans reeling with laughter. Wright was featured with curly red hair. Wright said that he didn't ask to have the red hair and it was just a joke that Hornets P.R. played on him and that he got some good-natured teasing from his teammates. "I'm always the butt of a joke," he said after the game. "But I can handle it."
  • Hilton Armstron had a monster block on former Hornet Chris "Birdman" Anderson which threw the home crowd into a frenzy. Hilton said he didn't trash talk with his former teammate but they did share a laugh when they ran down the court and Birdman didn't realize that it had been Armstrong that blocked his shot.

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