Thursday, March 26, 2009

The View from the Other Side: The Hornets need Peja

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 3:40 AM

click to enlarge Well this sucks

-

Photograph by Jonathan Bachman

-

With the way things have gone this season with the Hornets, last night should not have come as much of a surprise. Sure, a 13-point loss at home to team that's fighting you for home-court advantage is dissapointing (and infuriurating), but anything short of Chris Paul going on killing spree mid-game can't be considered a shock.

-

Now stop me if you've heard any of this before:

-

"We would have liked to finish the season 13-0, but it probably wasn't going to happen. We've just got to continue to play hard and get ready for the Knicks." -- Chris Paul

-

"Bottom line, second half we just didn't make shots." -- Byron Scott

-

"We made them take though shots. ... In this league, that's the only thing you can ask for. ... If they knock it down, more power to them." -- Antonio Daniels

-

The Hornets are masters of explaining away these tough losses -- convincing themselves and then the media and fans that this is not who they are as a team. It seems like every time they lose a game inexplicably, they manage to somehow explain it (sort of). What they haven't been able to explain, however, is exactly why this team seems to struggle so much when last year's team was so successful.

-

So, with all this in mind, I decided to do something different after tonight's game: I talked to the visiting team. Sometimes that's all it takes to see the forrest from the trees. Mind you that the Nuggets were missing Nene due a suspension and, considering he's been playing better than Tyson Chandler of late, kind of negates the fact that the New Orleans was missing its big man. But, as George Karl pointed out, the Hornets' biggest weakness is their inability to spread the floor with three-point shots.

-

"They're reliant on making some threes," he said. "Peja [Stojakovic] not being in the lineup, I think teams figure out how to help on Paul and how to plug on [David] West. You can double team more because you dont' have the risk of the three-ball beating you."

-

To wit: the Hornets shot just 5-of-13 from behind the arc and, while shooting a better percentage than Denver, the Nuggets made three more three-pointers -- that ended up being the difference tonight. The Hornets, more than ever, miss Peja Stojakovic. That wasn't necissarily true when Rasual Butler was hitting shots from all angles and Julian Wright was flying across the court. But as the Hornets' shooters become more and more exposed, teams are figuring out the formula to beat New Orleans: neutralize Paul and West and watch the rest of the team wither away.

-

"Tonight they didn't have Peja and they weren't really that hot from the three-point line," Nuggest guard Chauncy Billups said. "We just wanted to be aggressive and take advantage of the opportunity we have."

-

The Hornets have fallen victim to other teams' aggressiveness all season long. Whether it be at the beginning of the season -- when the Hornets had to adjust to no longer surprising the league -- or during their current playoff push -- when teams are taking advantage of New Orleans' injuries -- the Hornets' weaknesses are exposed and raw for the world to see.

-

It doesn't help, either, when players like J.R. Smith and Chris Andersen (players the Hornets let go) are key factors in the Hornets losing. Smith finished with 16 points and Anderson finished with nine points and nine rebounds (the latter being just three shy of the entire Hornets bench). Anderson, who was part of the final third of last year's miracle squad is simple.

-

"All the injuries that have been plaguing them," he said.

-

Sometimes the truth is simpler than you think.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in Blog of New Orleans

Top Topics in Blog of New Orleans

Food & Drink (66)


Music & Nightlife (61)


Film/DVD (41)


Events & Festivals (33)


A&E (33)


More by Alejandro de los Rios

Recent Comments

© 2014 Gambit
Powered by Foundation