Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 95, Wolves 81

Friday, February 25, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets (35-25), Wolves (13-46)

It was over when… Jarrett Jack’s layup with about 4:30 remaining gave the Hornets a 17-point lead. It was New Orleans’ 30th bench point of Friday’s game. The Hornets won their second straight by a double-digit margin, after they’d limped into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak, amid a 2-9 stretch. As Hornets TV analyst Gil McGregor said in the fourth quarter, it appears as though the players “have gotten their swagger back.”

Hornets MVP: In his first game action in nearly four weeks, Emeka Okafor showed why he’s become so important to New Orleans. Despite appearing a bit winded at times – understandably so after a long layoff – the 6-foot-10 center finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in a manageable, 25-minute return stint. Perhaps even more importantly, he blocked three shots, providing a much-needed interior presence for a NOLA defense that has gotten back to its previously stingy ways.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Jarrett Jack tallied 13 points, his seventh consecutive game in which he’s produced double-figure scoring. Prior to this stretch, the Georgia Tech product had not even had two consecutive games as a Hornet of 10 points or more. The 6-foot-3 backup point guard is shooting 52.7 percent from the field over the seven games, significantly better than his overall Hornets percentage of 38.5 entering Friday.

The buzz on… Carl Landry’s debut with the Hornets. The 6-foot-9 backup frontcourt player looked a bit out of sync offensively, which probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise given that he has yet to practice with his new teammates. His final stat line was four points and five rebounds in 25 minutes, on 1-for-5 shooting. Like Okafor, Landry was also returning to game action after a stretch of inactivity, having last appeared in a game for Sacramento on Feb. 16 at Dallas. “To get a win about a week later, on a new team, it definitely feels good,” Landry said seconds after the final buzzer.

Although we didn’t see the full range of skills from Landry on what was Day 3 of his Hornets tenure, the offense actually featured him in the mid-post on two or three possessions. He scored his first basket for New Orleans on a post-up move in which he went right to left across the lane for an eight-foot shot. During his time with the Rockets, Landry had several big offensive games against the Hornets, often feasting on layups and dunks due to his athleticism and above-average hands. On a team that’s often lacked the ability to get easy baskets, if Landry can do that here it will be a huge boost to the offense, especially on nights when Hornets jump shots aren’t falling.

The fourth-year pro also blocked one shot, part of a nine-rejection night for the Hornets’ defense. “I like it,” Landry said of Monty Williams' and NOLA’s defense-first mindset. “Because defense wins games, and that’s what I was always taught.”

Blog question of the night: What were your first impressions of Carl Landry in a Hornets uniform? The former Houston Rocket will meet several of his former teammates on Sunday, when he makes his home debut against one of the Hornets’ Southwest Division rivals.