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Thread: Leap Year Day - New Orleans Hornets

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default Leap Year Day - New Orleans Hornets

    ESPN Preview:


    While they missed a great opportunity to upset one of the NBA's best teams, the New Orleans Hornets continue to show improvement.

    Returning home to face the slumping Toronto Raptors could help the Western Conference's last-place team get back into the win column.

    The Hornets host their first game in more than two weeks Wednesday night when they take on the Raptors for the only time in 2011-12.

    After winning four of six heading into the All-Star break, New Orleans (8-26) returned to action Tuesday, falling 99-95 at Chicago to conclude its stretch of six straight road games with a 3-3 record. The Hornets grabbed a late lead with a 13-0 run, but were outscored 8-0 in the final 1:26.

    "We should have won that game," coach Monty Williams said. "You've got to close games like that out."

    New Orleans now open a stretch of three straight games at home, where it hasn't played since an 86-80 victory over Utah on Feb. 13 -- a win that snapped a four-game home losing streak.

    Shooting guard Marco Belinelli, a former Raptor, shot 54.0 percent and averaged 14.8 points during the Hornets' just-completed six-game trip, while point guard Greivis Vasquez averaged 11.7 points -- more than four above his season average.

    Belinelli, whom Toronto traded to New Orleans prior to the 2010-11 season in exchange for Julian Wright, totaled 15 points and shot just 31.6 percent last season in his first two games versus the Hornets since they dealt him. The Hornets and Raptors split the season series, with the home team winning both contests.

    The Raptors (10-24) have dropped 10 of 13 overall and four straight away from home, including Tuesday's 88-85 loss at Houston.

    "I liked our effort and we competed as a team," said coach Dwane Casey, whose team can match last season's road win total with six despite its struggles. "Basketball plays and basketball decisions have to get better."

    Having Andrea Bargnani in the lineup could give the Raptors a better chance to win, but it's uncertain if the high-scoring power forward will return after missing 15 straight games and 21 of 23 with a calf injury.

    Even without Bargnani, the Raptors' frontcourt of James Johnson, Amir Johnson and Aaron Gray won't have to face Hornets forward Carl Landry (left knee sprain) and center Jason Smith (concussion), as Williams said both are a few days from returning.

    Emeka Okafor (knee) is also not expected back after missing the last seven games, but the Raptors could have their hands full with center Chris Kaman, who is averaging 17.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in Okafor's absence.

    Meanwhile, the Hornets must do their best to contain the Toronto backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon.

    DeRozan is averaging 23.3 points -- 7.5 more than his season mark -- over his last four games. He had a team-best 23 in the Raptors' last game in New Orleans, an 85-81 loss Jan. 17, 2011.

    Calderon, who went scoreless with 13 assists in that contest, finished with team highs of 22 points and 16 assists in a 96-90 home win over the Hornets on March 1.

    New Orleans have been playing better of late with half their season win total coming in the last 10 games - still nothing to write home about. They are coming off a tough loss to Chicago.

    Toronto and New Orleans are the only 2 bottom feeders who are actually decent on defense. I think both teams turn their fortunes around sooner than later. Monty Williams appears to be a good coach who got stuck in a tough situation with CP3 and is coping with the challenge of a weak roster. New Orleans have made some crafty pick ups of late though with Henry and Vasquez being solid additions moving forward.

    Former Raptor alert: Belinelli and Jack. Selfishly I hope Marco goes off - not because I like him but because I picked him up in Fantasy ball this week. I hope Jarrett Jack learned a lesson from his recent Twitter exchange with Derrick Williams (that has nothing to do with this game but the rook owned the 'sage' veteran in the exchange - it is worth looking in to).

    In the race for lottery balls, Ryan Wolstat offers a fitting tweet:

    Ryan Wolstat ‏ @WolstatSun
    Love New Orleans. The cabbie I had this morning? Not so much. Heading to arena shortly. Somebody's got to win this one!

  2. #2
    Administrator Apollo's Avatar
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    The Hornets could have been respectable this season if it weren't for a crazy amount of injuries to key players.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Apollo wrote: View Post
    The Hornets could have been respectable this season if it weren't for a crazy amount of injuries to key players.
    Their defense has been really good. They are having trouble scoring the ball. Why do I think Eric Gordon would have been a very big help with that trouble?

    Assuming Gordon re-signs and he finally gets healthy, New Orleans could be on the brink of a very bright future.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Chr1s1anL's Avatar
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    Quote Apollo wrote: View Post
    The Hornets could have been respectable this season if it weren't for a crazy amount of injuries to key players.
    You could say the same thing about are Raps

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    Interested in watching how DD reacts to last night's 4th qtr events in this game.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Interested in watching how DD reacts to last night's 4th qtr events in this game.
    I imagine he'll come out with something to prove, which will either result in a very good game or a very bad one where he starts forcing. Either way, both him and Calderon should be well-rested.

    Raps were very sloppy last night coming off the AS Break and a stretch of not playing much. They should be sharper tonight. They should win if they can get off to a decent start and execute late.

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    Administrator Apollo's Avatar
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    Quote Chr1s1anL wrote: View Post
    You could say the same thing about are Raps
    It's not even close when you compare the Raptors' woes to their. The Hornets win that battle hands down.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Interested in watching how DD reacts to last night's 4th qtr events in this game.
    Me too. FWIW here is Casey's reaction:

    Toronto Raptors ‏ @Raptors
    --> RT @RaptorsPR: #Raptors Casey: DeMar was frustrated, as we all are, with another close loss. It actually shows to me that he cares.

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    Casey seems to be handling the team maturely and even keeled...eg how he has turned Bargs around mentally....which is a massive element at this level. If he can get DD and ED corrected, weeelll then....

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Casey seems to be handling the team maturely and even keeled...eg how he has turned Bargs around mentally....which is a massive element at this level. If he can get DD and ED corrected, weeelll then....
    More so Demar. He's lost his composure. Ed plays with a chip on his shoulder, I love it. He doesn't hang his head and moan like a little bitch..

    Demar is my favourite Raptor. I'm being hard on him because he knows he can be one of our best players, and he's not showing the damn maturity. I hope he answers tonight with hard play on both ends of the floor, because you have to earn it. I have a coach who is the same way, I was probably the 9th man on the team in the beginning of the season, than transitioned to the starting point guard and possibly Junior MVP of the school, I'm not bragging, I'm just showing it takes hard to work to get to where you want.

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    Raptors Republic Starter saints91's Avatar
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    What did DeMar tweet?

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    Super Moderator Joey's Avatar
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    Hahah Kleiza during the interview with Leo. So funny.

    Leo says something about how Kleiza got hit in the nose and it doesn't look good.
    Kleiza responds "My nose doesn't look good anyway!"
    In Masai we Trust.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Raps win dirrty.

    Have the same number of road wins this year that they had all last year.... small steps but things are changing.

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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    Raps win dirrty.

    Have the same number of road wins this year that they had all last year.... small steps but things are changing.
    Can only happen if there is team defense. Got to keep that going so next year becomes easier.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran NoPropsneeded's Avatar
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    dude are interior defense is better than the mavs at this point. We're number 2 in points allowed in the paint now that's pretty damn impressive. Imagine when we have a longer more athletic C(Big V)

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    That's how important and underrated the centre position is nowadays, we need the big man. Maybe that's why there is so much high expectations for Valanciunas. Aaron Gray really helps us down low.

    Plus Demar played a hard game tonight. Stuffed the sheet tonight. 21 points on 8-18 shooting. (Could've been better, but was aggressive again tonight) 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 turnover, 5-8 from the line.

    He was good tonight. He has to take better shots sometimes but in all was aggressive, got to the line, tied for game high scoring, tied for second in rebounding. Just loved it tonight, answered back well.

    Ed Davis 0 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 tunover in 22 minutes. Meh.

    Amir Johnson with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks. Good numbers, good effort.

    All in all, dirty grind it out game. Team is getting it together.
    Last edited by ReubenJRD; Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 02:14 AM.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie The Fox's Avatar
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    Quote saints91 wrote: View Post
    What did DeMar tweet?
    Something like "That was straight up bullshit". Along those lines..
    Peace. Positivity. Prosperity.

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    Quote NoPropsneeded wrote: View Post
    dude are interior defense is better than the mavs at this point. We're number 2 in points allowed in the paint now that's pretty damn impressive. Imagine when we have a longer more athletic C(Big V)
    What I meant was that the "ugly win" only happened because of the defense.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    Granted, I didn't watch the whole game, but the bit I did im shocked to see Ed's stat line. He was all over the place when I was watching.

    Dudes help defense is gettin better and better. If he adds a jumper to his game he'll be a solid first big off the bench.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    Granted, I didn't watch the whole game, but the bit I did im shocked to see Ed's stat line. He was all over the place when I was watching.

    Dudes help defense is gettin better and better. If he adds a jumper to his game he'll be a solid first big off the bench.
    I actually think Davis has a steady 10-15 foot jumper already. He should probably use it more often. I have much more confidence in that shot than any of his post-up moves.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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