The New Orleans Hornets will be the New Orleans Pelicans next season. This season, they’re sitting ducks. I mean, 119-74? Okay, Anthony Davis was unwell, and Eric Gordon hasn’t been doing the second night of back-to-backs lately as a precautionary measure, but still, this has to be viewed as a debacle in the Big Easy. Monty Williams had said that if the Bees didn’t bring their A-game, they could be “embarrassed”; give the man points for prescience.
And actually, New Orleans was in it for the first 20 minutes or so, having cut a double-digit Thunder lead down to four. Then the OKC Dominance Mode kicked in: the Thunder ran that lead back to seventeen at halftime, to thirty-six after three, and after that you had to wonder if the third string might be pulled to give the Thunder Girls a chance to play. As it was, we got to see the New Guys: Derek Fisher (now wearing #6 before they’d had a chance to finish Eric Maynor’s laundry) sent up four long-range bricks, but did the playmaker thing pretty well, and Ronnie Brewer pulled down four boards in twelve minutes. And we got to see Russell Westbrook dominate things early on and finish with a nice 29 points, while Kevin Durant tossed up his third triple-double (18 points/11 rebounds/10 assists) and Serge Ibaka asserted himself as a shooter (9-11 for 18). Let the record show that Reggie Jackson got one minute more than Fisher, and scored 14, tied with Kevin Martin for bench high and with the Hornets’ Ryan Anderson, the only New Orleans player to finish in double figures at all. You have to figure that the Hornets are glad this series is over.
Now things get complicated. Western powers must be dealt with on their home courts: the Nuggets Friday night, the Clippers Sunday afternoon. And then, just for fun, the Lakers will be coming to the ‘Peake. Here’s to a little inhospitality.