Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chris Paul and David West will beat you by themselves if they have to

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 4:35 AM

by Clay A. Smith

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click to enlarge D-West fading away

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Photograph by Jonathan Bachman

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Redemption usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind after a win determined  in the final seconds. But after a disappointing performance against a Minnesota team that’s struggled to win twenty games this season-that’s exactly what New Orleans needed. Luckily for the Hornets the 17-50 Memphis Grizzlies were in town.

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But Memphis played New Orleans close all the way up until midway through the fourth quarter. In fact the Hornets entered the final period down 62-61. However  Chris Paul and David West  carried the team combining for 61 points en route to a  96-80 win.

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“Chris Paul is one of the  MVP candidates,” Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said .” This guy carried his team on his back all year long.”

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West was aggressive  the outset finishing with 29 points off of a 11-of-22 shooting performance. But Paul had a twenty-four point outburst in the second half f. He finished with 32 to go with 9 assists and 5 rebounds and one point accounted for 28 of the Hornets 58 points.

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It was a sloppy affair early with both teams exchanging turnovers. The Hornets droned listlessly  through

most of the first half- with Paul and West being the only two who appeared to take an active interest the game’s outcome. New Orleans held Memphis to thirty five percent shooting  but the Grizzlies made three times as free throws as the Hornets to keep it close.

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With 5:29 left in the first half  Memphis went on an 11-0 run to take a  35-26 lead. But New Orleans hung around and took a one point lead into half-time after a 13-3 run of their own.

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The Hornets had to make due with little to nothing  out of their bench which combined for 11 points.  Memphis on the other hand Got 12 points out of Hakim Warrick alone in addition to a combined 35 points from Rudy Gay and Mark Gasol.

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“We just started making our shots, and our defense was playing good,” Rasual Butler said. ”We finally closed the quarter out the way we wanted to in the beginning of the year.”

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The Hornets came out in the second half with a renewed  sense of urgency. Lead by their All-Star point guard, Paul took over, knifing his way past stationary Grizzlies defenders to score and setup his teammates. New Orleans outscored Memphis 58-34 in the paint and ratcheted up their defense scoring 27 points off of 20 Grizzlies turnovers. The Hornets finished the game with a 19-1 run capped off By a Rasual Butler dunk with 1:19 left to finish the game 96-80.

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“We just started being aggressive,” Paul said. ”We had the  ball screens going and I was able to get in the lanes.”

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