Sure, the Hornets don't look that good. Sure, I'm still mad I couldn't go to the game last night. Sure, I feel lousy. Sure, I'm rundown and tired. I STILL couldn't go to sleep last night after that game. I STILL can't stop thinking about how stoked I am for this season.
(With photos from JanieAnnie)
Man, Was I Right Or What?
Deep - Check. Nine guys with 9-17 points. Ten guys played 18 minutes or more.
- The Big 3 - Check. Tim with 9 and 12. Tony with 17 and 6. Manu with 16 and 4.
- Four - Semi-Check. Was RJ great? No. But that's mostly because he didn't shoot well. He did look smooth out there.
- Quite Giant - Check. 9 points, 3 boards, in 18 minutes. He set picks, made jumpers, and looked a little lost.
- Bomb Brigade - Check. 6-15, thanks to Mason's 1-5. For the most part, though, they hit the 3's that came out of the ball movement.
Cubits - Check. He looked really good. He ran the offense. He made plays defensively. He was aggressive offensively when the team needed him to be (meaning late in the shot clock) . And he made his corner three.
- Oldies, but Newbies - Weak check. They didn't play much.
- Beast, Man-Child, Freak Of Nature - Check. 14 and 11. I'll let Eric figure out which is which.
- Defense in the last 3 minutes - N/A. Our defense in the second half was poor and it still didn't matter.
- Manu's Explosiveness - Check. He's not 100% there, but he looked really good.
- The Second Unit - Extra Big Check. They made plays.
This game was really about our second unit. Or really, the guys not Tony and Tim. In my preview, the main point I highlighted, in contrast to last year, was the ability for our second unit to make plays. They made plays last night against the Hornets. They got out on the break after a Manu steal. They closed out the third quarter with a Hill steal -- against Paul no less -- that was picked up by Blair and thrown back to HiIl for a dunk. And they scored. They scored and scored and scored. New Orleans all-stars couldn't get them back in the game against our bench. Chris Paul played great for 34 minutes. David West played well for 38 minutes. The closest they got was 15 points.
But, It's Just One Game
True. True. So let's talk about the game. We'll do it as a series of pictures from JanieAnnie.
Tony looked pretty good. He seemed a little out of sorts to start the game, but then settled down and had an efficient night. It helps your efficiency when you shoot a bunch of layups.
Manu Check In
Manu Hits the 3
Manu Knows He's About To Make A Layup
Matt locks up West. He's showing off his new defensive skills. You know he was leveling up on them all summer.
Rage with his only make. The best part of this play, it's in the highlight footage, is the way he makes space for himself with the bump against Wright. Rage is a big man.
The Beast was Beasting on Hilton Armstrong all night.
"Yes Bill, Hilton really tasted good tonight."
Reading the comments in a couple different threads points out the downside of me writing with a fever. I forget stuff I had meant to say. But, let's pretend these weren't original thoughts and that I'm stealing OPP.
- Chris Paul was really, really good last night and we still kept them at a distance. Long distance. If he doesn't have his shot going, then they lose by 40.
- Our deep bench and youth is going to help us a lot in the SEGABABA. Tonight is a SEGABABA.
- We didn't have a single blocked shot. Very strange.
- We rebounded really well early. The NOOCH only got 5 offensive rebounds which means our defensive rebounding rate was 86%.
- Blair's natural scoring ability was on display last night. One was after an offensive rebound of an airball when he spun and threw up a quick jump hook-type shot from about 5 feet. The other was the dish from Rage where he caught it in mid-air and got the shot up before he came down. Very few big men can do that.
- In the second quarter was a great example of how having Rage will help us. Roger Mason was on the left side of the court working the pick and roll. Which means he was dribbling around and getting nothing. The shot clock had got down under 10. He passed to a covered Bonner who passed to RJ. RJ took his man off the dribble and got to the rim to draw a foul. Last year, we didn't have anybody on after Tony who could salvage broken down plays. Now we do.