Hornets (7-0), Clippers (1-7)
It was over when... the Hornets went on a 9-2 run in the fourth quarter, taking an 89-69 edge with 6:30 remaining. New Orleans added to its franchise-record start to a season, for the first time beating an opponent that did not finish with a winning record last season.
Hornets MVP: When Hornets GM Dell Demps said one reason he wanted to bring Trevor Ariza to New Orleans this summer was because of Ariza's knack of being able to "check a lot of boxes," this was exactly what Demps meant. Ariza finished with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists, while going 3-for-5 from the three-point arc. In a matchup that may have been considered a classic "trap" game against a struggling foe, Ariza and the starters set a tone of intensity right off the bat, resulting in a 20-5 Hornets first-quarter lead.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: During New Orleans' fantastic start to this season, Jerryd Bayless was one of the few Hornets players who had not played up to his previous individual standards. Tuesday served as a breakout game for the trade pickup from Portland. Bayless finished with 15 points, including 11 in the fourth period, as the Hornets stretched the lead to as much as 21 points.
Bayless, who arrived in New Orleans from the Trail Blazers just three days before the regular season opener, has not shot the ball well (he entered tonight at 29 percent from the field). But as he points out, he's "only taken one or two shots a game." It's tough to judge a player in such small doses of minutes and opportunities, but the Catch-22 is you can't earn more playing time if you don't play effectively. The Hornets have to be encouraged that if Bayless can put together more games like this, it will be even easier to give Chris Paul rest as the season progresses.
The buzz on... Quincy Pondexter's early experience as an NBA rookie. After not appearing in the Hornets' first five games, Pondexter has turned in two solid outings in wins over the Bucks and Clippers. The rookie from the University of Washington has supplied his as-advertised one-on-one defensive ability, as well as going 2-for-2 from beyond the three-point arc. He had seven points in 17 minutes tonight.
Pondexter's assessment of his progress through two NBA games: "I'm on a great learning curve right now. I'm learning from all of these (teammates), and they're teaching me a lot of things. I've got to continue to improve and do all of the little things that help win basketball games. (The coaching staff) wants you to be solid and be a 'veteran' as quickly as possible, to make sure there is no drop-off when you're in the game. Basically, don't make any of those bonehead mistakes that people always talk about rookies making."
Blog question of the night: Just two weeks into the season, we've seen players such as Jason Smith make tremendous strides from what they showed in training camp, as well as in relation to outside expectations. In Tuesday's win, Bayless and Pondexter took big steps forward as they attempt to earn more minutes and carve out bigger roles in the rotation. Over the next few weeks of the season, which New Orleans player do you expect to show the most progress individually? Further growth from several Hornets could make a team that has started off incredibly well become even more dangerous.