The Hornets final home game of the season didnt bear much resemblance to the majority of the ones played in New Orleans during 2009-10. After countless nip-and-tuck games at the Hive, this one was decided before the end of the third quarter, when New Orleans (36-45) built a 28-point lead. Facing a 15-65 Minnesota team that has struggled as much as anyone around the league in recent weeks, New Orleans also looked better defensively than it has in quite awhile.
The result was a 28-point victory, which equaled the largest margin of victory of the entire season for the Hornets.
New Orleans finished with a 24-17 home record, a category that declined precipitously over the final four weeks of the season, when the Hornets had a pair of homestands that totaled eight games. At one point back in late February, New Orleans was 20-9 in its building, but that was before a 4-8 stretch. In other words, nearly half of the clubs home defeats this season took place from March 1 through Friday.
Emeka Okafor played one of his best offensive games as a Hornet, piling up 23 points on 11-for-14 shooting. Okafor set the tone for the one-sided victory by rolling to 15 points in the first half, sparking a 58-39 edge.
This may have been Julian Wrights best performance of the season, featuring a season-high 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting. He was active on both ends and seemed to get his hands on the ball frequently for deflections and tips, even though officially he had four rebounds.
"I was just trying to be active," Wright said. "And get some baskets by running the floor, cutting and always making the defense have to work. That's kind of my stamp, by being active, getting offensive rebounds and making plays that take the air out of other teams. It was just sheer effort. That was my focus for tonight's game."
HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES
Hornets Head Coach Jeff Bower:
Im really happy that we were able to play this way today. Im glad we were able to go out in this building on a good. I thought we did all of the little things tonight. We shared the ball and I am really pleased with all of the effort that we had tonight. They started to enjoy the game as well. They were getting the shots that they liked and really started to get into and enjoy themselves and I am really pleased to see that at the end of the season as well
The steps that we take for the last game are not different than we took for the first game. We view it as an opportunity for us to compete. We will practice on Tuesday and play again trying to put us into a position to win. Thats what we have been trying to do this whole stretch get another win each game. We are really pleased with how we played tonight both offensively and defensively.
Hornets Guard Darren Collison:
On the game: I thought we just played patiently. Everybody got everybody else going. We wanted to show our fans that we appreciate their support. We wanted to go out there and make sure we put on a good show.
I dont think you can live in the past. You have to try to learn things from the past and get better from it. For the most part, you have to leave all of that in the past and get ready for next year. I think weve got a good team going into next year. Weve got a lot of good things to look ahead. Weve got a great bunch of guys.