Hornets (16-10), Jazz (18-9)
It was over when
New Orleans took a 27-point lead through three quarters, on a Jarrett Jack mid-range jumper. It was a surprising but welcomed outcome for the Hornets, whove had very few blowout victories in recent weeks. New Orleans improved to an excellent 11-3 on its home floor, while defeating a Utah team that has been a major nemesis during the Deron Williams/Chris Paul era.
Hornets MVP: David West was ultra-efficient, powering his way to 23 points 20 of them through three quarters while going 7-for-9 from the field. The two-time All-Star also grabbed eight rebounds (four offensive) and blocked two shots for a New Orleans defense that limited Utah to just 35.8 percent shooting.
We were aggressive, West said. We started off trying to put (Utah) on their heels, and we never let up. I thought we were really intent defensively on not allowing them to get into that rhythm that can hurt you. Deron Williams has been playing at a really high level, so we wanted to make sure we contained him. I thought we forced him into some tough (shots) and maybe he was trying to do a little bit too much.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Chris Paul put it extremely well in the locker room, when he described the impact reserve guard Marcus Thornton made both on the court and among the 14,000-plus fans who were in the building.
When he plays well, it not only excites us (players), but it excites everyone, Paul said. You saw the crowd give him a standing ovation and he hadnt even checked into the game. He hadnt even done anything yet. I think we really feed off his energy.
Everyone was wondering if he could come back and have as good a game as he did last game (Wednesday vs. Sacramento). He had an even better game (vs. Utah).
Monty Williams joked to reporters 90 minutes before Fridays game that Williams has even had little old ladies coming up to the first-year head coach on the street to ask why Thornton hasnt been getting more playing time this season.
Asked if Thornton needed to rally together even more female old-timers to support his push for more playing time, Thornton grinned and said, I dont know. I love the New Orleans fans. Theyre the best ever. Of the standing ovation he received upon entering the game, Thornton said, It sent a shock through me. Every time I check in, they go crazy. I love them for that.
The buzz on
New Orleans incredible rebounding advantage against Utah. The Hornets entered Fridays game ranked 17th in the NBA in rebounding, but put together a plus-29 board margin against the Jazz, one of the largest edges in that category in team history. A few of the teams frontcourt players were asked in the locker room to explain how why they were so dominant rebounding-wise Friday, but none seemed to have a definitive reason. Some of the 53-24 differential was due to New Orleans stingy defense, which caused a large number of poor Utah shots and the rebounds that resulted from them. Emeka Okafor paced the Hornets with 11 rebounds. The Hornets nearly had as many offensive rebounds (13) as the Jazz had defensive boards (17), a very rare occurrence in the NBA.
Blog question of the night: The recent one-sided history between the Jazz and Hornets made Fridays rout especially sweet for New Orleans. As a fan of the Hornets, which opponent is the most satisfying for you to see the team defeat?