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New Orleans Hornets 97, Washington Wizards 85

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Highest Plus/Minus: DeShawn Stevenson (+2)
Lowest Plus/Minus: Juan Dixon (-11)
Best Five Man Unit: Mike James, DeShawn Stevenson, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche (+6 for a 2:18 stretch late in the 2nd quarter)
Worst Five Man Unit: Mike James, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche (-6 to start the game)

Four Factors:

Team Pace Off Eff eFG% FT/FG OREB% ToR
Washington 83 102.4 46.2 15.2 22 10.8
New Orleans 116.9 52.8 29.2 22.2 9.6

Eh, think we just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.  You can only do so much when you're missing three starters and you have a Houston/New Orleans road back-to-back, even if both of those teams are really slow-paced.  Our crisper offense completely fell apart down the stretch, as did our defense.  Not much more to say than that.

Quick thoughts:

  • Not that it would have mattered, but boo Ed Tapscott for some strange fourth quarter lineups.  We started the quarter with the following players:

PG: Mike James
SG: Juan Dixon
SF: DeShawn Stevenson
PF: Darius Songaila
C: Etan Thomas

Yeah, that's just not going to cut it, not when New Orleans' offense was basically just feeding whatever mismatch was available.  In the fourth, that was James Posey on our third guard.  Lovely. 

Later, we scored five straight points to creep back to within eight after assisted layups for Antawn Jamison and Nick Young and a free throw by Jamison.  There were just under four minutes left, so a comeback was still remotely possible.  For some reason, Tapscott put Stevenson and Songaila back in, taking out Nick and Blatche, both of whom were playing well during that stretch.  Why?  That's how you kill a young guys' confidence.  Taking them out when they're playing well just to give your veterans the crunch time minutes is bad for the present and the future.

  • Chris Paul looked like he did nothing, and then he ended with a triple double.  Silent assasin indeed.
  • Mike James' statline looks pretty good -- 16 points on 12 shots, 7 assists with only one turnover -- but he killed us in the fourth quarter.  Too much pounding the dribble, too little defense, too many forced bad shots.  That's what you get, I guess. 
  • Andray Blatche was quite good tonight, scoring 11 points on eight shots in only 24 minutes.  Meanwhile, Darius Songaila was not good tonight in his 20 minutes.  It must be noted that Songaila is not a good defender, he's merely a physical one that pushes a lot and "hustles."  In some games, that's a good quality because officials aren't calling things tightly.  In games like tonight, though, where they are calling things tight, Songaila's touch fouls kill you.  We were in the penalty very early in the fourth quarter thanks to those types of plays.
  • Interesting to see JaVale and Javaris get spotted a few minutes in the first half of recent games.  If you aren't going to play them many minutes, at least play them consistent little minutes.  I guess this is a positive.
  • Etan Thomas is not a good defender.  But smart ones knew that already.  He has good footwork for a big man offensively, but man, he's the worst with defensive positioning. 
  • Surprised by the lack of double-teams on Antawn.  I guess New Orleans' strategy was to let him shoot until he wore himself out.  He scored 22 points, but needed 25 shots to do it, so I guess it worked. 
  • New Orleans' color commentator is beyond annoying.  Andray Blatche is not a small forward, and you don't need to joke about Jamison's defense 100 million times to get your point across (that's what blogs are for, duh).  Might have just been an off day, who knows, but I'm glad I don't have to listen to that every game.