Recap: Hornets 96, Cavs 81 (Or, back down again)

March 6th, 2011 by John Krolik

Overview: The New Orleans Hornets outscored the Cleveland Cavaliers by 14 points after Chris Paul suffered a concussion in the third quarter of a 96-81 win. Baron Davis had 17 points off the bench in his first home game as a Cavalier, and David West led all scorers with 23 points.

Let’s all hope Chris Paul has a full and speedy recovery bullets:

-First things first: that was a scary moment when CP3 went down and had to be taken off on a stretcher, and it was good to hear that he “only” has a mild concussion. Concussions are fairly scary in their own right, so hopefully he’s back at 100% soon.

- It sure seemed like the Paul injury fired up the Hornets, and the Cavs didn’t really respond. The Cavs had been doing well because they were working hard on defense, pushing the ball well, and getting it inside. After Paul went down, New Orleans forced some turnovers, pushed the break themselves, and didn’t let the Cavs get back into anything resembling an offensive groove. You’d like to see this team play a full 48 minutes more consistently, but it looks like they’re getting closer and closer to forming an actual identity.

- More good stuff from Baron. He does a great job of creating angles and finding shooters for open looks, and he may be the most creative guard in the league on fast breaks. We can expect Baron to continue having success in those areas. The three-point shooting, though, is a huge fluke. We cannot pretend that it isn’t. There is an ocean of data that tells us he will stop making his threes very, very soon. The other shoe will drop. Baron is just good enough at shooting threes to be a danger to himself and others. We all know this.However, games like this should still be enjoyed.

Also, commenter “Ben” wins the Nostradamus award for this, which he wrote after the Knicks game:

HUGE POINT:

Ever notice how many guys catch the ball in the back-court with 2 seconds remaining, take a dribble, wait until just after the horn and only then fire up the full court three? This drives me crazy, but any three point shooter is more concerned about his percentage than the off chance of actually draining the prayer. Boobie, Parker and LeBron are HUGE examples of the “make it look like I am trying to launch a bomb at the end of the quarter, but really, there is not a chance in hell I am going to hurt my numbers” shot.

Now, why I do I bring this up? Because Baron Davis does not do this. Baron heaved a prayer up without giving a crap about what it might do to his three point percentage, because it gives his team a shot. He does this a lot. He takes the forced end of shot clock bombs, fires up 50 footers when necessary and just doesn’t care about his numbers. I would say that this explains a lot about his poor 3 point shooting numbers considering it always seems like he makes a better percentage than is reality. This is an awesome trait.

I disagree with Ben that Baron’s clock-saving heaves are a “huge” reason why his three-point percentage is so bad — he is a mediocre outside shooter with terrible shot selection early in possessions, in the middle of possessions, and late in possessions. I also think the “Baron doesn’t care about his stats, he cares about his team!” dichotomy is a bit forced — he has shown himself to be very good at not caring about his stats or his team. Still, since Baron hit a 40-foot bomb at the end of the third quarter, this definitely deserved some attention. Well done, Ben. You win nothing.

There’s a lot to like about Samardo Samuels. Three blocks, at least one charge taken, some good work in the paint, and a lot of high-energy defense. Then again, he is not big, he is not skilled, and while he’s athletic, he’s not terrifyingly athletic. I really want to see more of Samardo, but I’m not completely sold on him yet.

Samuels being in the starting lineup is having adverse effects on Hickson. He spent way too much time too far away from the basket, and ended up going 5-15. Not good.

Alonzo Gee is missing a lot of wide-open looks that Baron is setting up for him. I’d like to see Manny and Baron get some more minutes together, although I don’t really trust any of our three wings defensively.

Semih Erden: Fairly energetic, very tall, alive. He didn’t show much more than that, but it usually takes big guys a bit of time to get in a groove.

Another really poor scoring game for Sessions. I’m starting to get worried.

That’s all for tonight. Strong effort, but the Cavs need to be cleaner for the full game to get wins. Until them.

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