Saturday, March 15, 2008

KB24 vs. CP3

New Orleans 108 | Los Angeles Lakers 98
[league standings]

Tag it and bag it.

The Hornet's downed the Lakers last night in what would have been the most exciting game of the year had we not had the San Antonio shootout two days earlier. We actually had a slow start as Los Angeles went up quick. Our answer to this was turnovers and poor shot selection. Remarkably, things started to turn around when Mo Pete drained a few threes. After that, we played the lead change game for the remainder of the half. After the third quarter... it was the Hornet's game.

Unfortunately, Pau Gasol went down early on in the game after rolling an ankle (he landed on Radmanovic's foot). Ordinarily, I'd be glad for our opponents having one more weakness to exploit, but I think it would have been more beneficial to us to have played their team at full strength. Usually at this point in the season, the playoff seeds start getting gobbled up and you can usually predict the first round matchups. But in today's version of the NBA, this is not possible. The seeding changes almost daily (we jumped from a 5 to a 3 seed with last night's win) and there's no real certainty about anything. Given that we could play anybody in the top nine (assuming we make the playoffs), I'd rather play healthy opponents now so at least we can learn more about the way we match-up. We were able to exploit the Lakers in Gasol's absence, but we may not have that luxury in the playoffs.

By the way, the Mavericks are currently the 7 seed in the West, and they are only 2.5 games out of the 1 seed. Let that sink in for a minute... good. Let's move on.

CP3 put up another stellar performance with 27 points, 17 assists, 4 steals, and 2 turnovers. According to the non-official source that is Curry Smith, Chris Paul has more 25, 15 performances this season (with 9) then everyone else in the league combined. Regardless, it was enough to carry the Hornets over Kobe's performance of 36 points, 3 assists, 9 rebounds. MVP performances on both counts. Beyond Paul, scoring was spread pretty even over the rest of the starters. Peja dropped 5 treys, D. West and Tyson combined for 34 rebounds, and Bonzi, Jannero, and JuJu all gave strong performances off the bench. It was a good display of team work--albeit team work that only runs through Chris Paul. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, CP3 has been delivering, but (as my brother pointed out) after every rebound, whoever has the ball does this frantic look around, saying "Where's Chris Paul. Must pass to Chris Paul. Must pass to Chris Paul." Is this a reason for concern? Probably not. As I said, Paul has been phenomenal. But if he has an off night... or if he gets shaky early on... what's the backup? Do we even have one?


Bruce Bowen ended his NBA leading 500 consecutive game streak when the Spurs took the floor against the Pistons Friday night. Bowen was serving a one game suspension after the league reviewed the Paul/Bowen scuffle from Wednesday night. The suspension has been a pretty hot topic as a lot of fans around the NBA would endorse a Bowen suspension for no reason at all, let alone for the antics he pulled against the Hornets. The replay from the Hornet's feed (CST) isn't too friendly to the San Antonio side of the argument, but Spurs fans found a super slow-mo video that they feel exonerates Bowen. Take a look.

The mere fact that this video is titled "Chris Paul punches Bruce Bowen" is indicative of the split opinions in this debate. The footage from this angle shows that Bowen may not have actually kicked Chris a second time and that Paul is just as capable as flopping as any other guy in this league. Let's face it. Most [good] players can sell a foul. Actually, in this scenario Chris didn't, but you get the point. I certainly didn't see Paul "punch" Bowen... in fact, I'm not really sure where that accusation even came from. But let's step back: even if Bowen didn't kick him at all (and the video suggests that may be possible), how is this a foul on Paul? No clue.

Amidst all of this "discussion", one name that keeps surfacing is Julius Hodge. Can we just put this to bed? Watch this clip. Now that you have, can you honestly say that Chris Paul intentionally hit Julius Hodge in the groin? While the contact was certainly intentional, it certainly did not look like the kind of contact that was intended to harm. My assessment: Chris Paul gets physical with Hodge and inadvertently makes contact with a sensitive area. What's more is the contact looked soft (with my apologies to Hodge). For me to buy Julius' reaction from the hit I could see, I'd have to assume that Paul can flick no other... which is certainly possible. Don't get me wrong (I've got a pair myself), but there's a huge difference between doubling over in pain and rolling around on the floor for five minutes. Just like we said about Paul earlier, everyone's out to sell the refs. You be the judge.


Before I go, I wanted to share this fun link from Google Trends. It sweeps the web and quantifies the mention of players with MVP talks. Pretty cool. CP3 is ranked at a solid 3 (though I'd put him at 2, behind LeBron).

Thanks for sticking with the long post. Post some comments. Show some love. Power to the people. Check ABC tomorrow at noon. Hornets and Pistons. Bring it. Peace.

1 comment:

andrew said...

One- M. Ely has was the most impactful player of the game. This is why I hate announcers. A) blatant lie. B) impactful, not a word.

Two- The real prob with CP3's MVP race is that Paul might have the most balanced supporting cast. He can dish to about 6 or 7 different guys that can knock down shots. Lebron would be better off with me, so I go Lebron, Chris, Kobe, San Antoino...