Hornets Crush Jazz 100-71
It was perhaps the best performance of the year for the New Orleans Hornets. After the biggest comeback in franchise history Wednesday night, the Hornets followed it up with a dominant beatdown Friday evening of a Utah Jazz team that has had their number the last few years.
David West and the Hornets found a way to take lessons from the greatest comeback in franchise history and apply them two days later in the most lopsided beating they’ve ever given the Utah Jazz.West scored 23 points, Chris Paul had 11 points and 10 assists, and New Orleans won its second straight, 100-71 over the Jazz on Friday night.
Coming off a game in which they overcame a 23-point, second-half deficit against Sacramento, the Hornets made this game a lot easier on themselves, taking a 20-point lead in the first half and making it stand up.
“The way we finished the Sacramento game, we felt good about that and wanted to come in with some carry-over,” West said. “We were aggressive. We started off and tried to put them on their heels. We just didn’t let up.”
Hornets reserve guard Marcus Thornton, seeing a sudden surge in playing time, scored 19 for a second-straight game. Trevor Ariza added 17 points, demonstrating more of a will to drive to the hoop than he had recently. He reaped rewards for that in the form of several crowd-pleasing dunks.
“To me, Trevor set the tone,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said, adding that he could excuse Ariza’s six turnovers “when he’s attacking and trying to make it happen like that.”
The Jazz came in 10th in the NBA in scoring at 101.4 points per game, but shot poorly and got few second chances as the Hornets finished with a season-high 53 rebounds, 29 more than Utah. The Jazz shot 35.8 percent and finished with a season low in points.
Jerry Sloan’s quote speaks volumes. The Jazz are the most physical team in the NBA, and before Friday night, had physically manhandled the Hornets in 11 of their last 12 matchups. It’s rare that a Sloan team ever loses the physical battle in a basketball game, but the Hornets aggresive play Friday night proved to be very rewarding. Marcus Thornton is making the most of his opportunity, having played big minutes in the last two games. Monty Williams’ squad had trouble finding offense outside of David West and Chris Paul during the last month. For two straight games, Thornton has proven to be the offense New Orleans was missing. That bodes extremely well for his future in NOLA.