The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 April 2006

1-0 in T.O.

According to Byron Scott, it was the whim of the Schedule Gods that the Hornets hadn't played the Raptors even once in the first 71 games; whatever the explanation, this would be the Bees' only trip to Toronto this year. (The Raptors will visit the Ford Center this coming Friday.)

The Hornets piled up an 18-point lead in the third quarter, but Toronto refused to roll over and die, and with two minutes left, the Raptors, cashing in on three consecutive turnovers, regained the lead. The fourth quarter ended with a 95-95 tie.

The first overtime was full of sound and fury, but signified nothing; each team managed five points in five minutes. In the second overtime, the Bees struck early and made it stick, coming out on top 120-113. (I am, I suppose, slightly disturbed that the Bees scored 20 points in five minutes, considering they only scored 15 points in the 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.)

With 58 minutes of play time, you might think there were a lot of shots taken, and you would be correct: the Hornets took 99 shots and made 45 (45.5 percent), while the Raptors hit 45 of 113 (39.8 percent). Toronto hit 12 of 31 three-balls; the Bees, 4 of 14.

For the first time this season, there's a triple-double for the Hornets: Chris Paul scored 24 points, grabbed 12 boards and served up 12 assists, the first time he's pulled off this feat, and he didn't need the overtime to reach the threshold, either. David West, back in the saddle, scored 23; Rasual Butler dropped in 17, Marc Jackson 16, Aaron Williams 13, Speedy Claxton 10 (and 12 dimes, for a double-double) and J. R. Smith 10. It appears that when Linton Johnson starts, he scores a lot and provides a fair amount of defense, or he scores very little and provides a whole lot of defense. It was the latter tonight, with three points, two blocked shots and 8 boards, including some clutch play towards the end. And Brandon Bass, who played about 10 minutes, snagged 4 points and 7 rebounds.

But what I wonder is how is this Toronto team only 26-47? They seem to be a lot better than that, and they didn't even have the services of Chris Bosh tonight; what's more, their ace rookie Charlie Villanueva scored 25 points and hauled in 18 boards.

To Auburn Hills on Tuesday, where the Pistons will be waiting — and presumably without Rasheed Wallace, who got his 16th technical foul of the season today and is subject to a one-game suspension.

Posted at 9:10 PM to Net Proceeds