New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams liked the play he drew up to end the second quarter — you know, the one where Chris Paul hits a deep 3-pointer over a Los Angeles Lakers defender to keep his team closer than they probably should have been? — so much that he decided to run it again at the end of the third. That's just smart coaching. Stick with what works. Definitely keep that one in the playbook, Monty.
Not sure why Monty didn't run it at the end of the first and fourth quarters, too, or why the playbook also features an option for Carl Landry to initiate offense at the top of the key, allowing him to dribble around a screen, get into the lane, lose the ball and look kind of sad about it. But hey: I do not coach. I am just a blogger. (Word to Donald Glover.)
Unfortunately for Louisiana lovers, the end-of-quarter heroics from Paul (20 points on 11 shots, nine assists and just one turnover) and a surprisingly strong game from Trevor Ariza (22 points on 15 shots, seven boards and some at-times inspired defense on Kobe Bryant) were pretty much the only bright spots in an otherwise-awful offensive performance for the Hornets.
The Lakers tightened up the D on CP3's mates, holding the Hornets to 39.1 percent shooting and a dreadfully inefficient 90.7 points per 100 possessions on Wednesday night, a mark that makes the Milwaukee Bucks — the league's least efficient offensive team at 99-per-100 during the regular season — look like a Swiss watch of a Seven Seconds or Less squad. For the purposes of context and comparison, New Orleans averaged a tick under 104 points-per-100 during the regular season and put up an astounding 121-per-100 in its Game 1 upset of the Lakers.
Combine that with a big game from Andrew Bynum (17 points on 11 shots, 11 rebounds, two blocks, one overwhelmingly hulking frame), and you've got enough for an 87-78 grind-it-out Laker win that knots the first-round Western Conference playoff series at one game apiece, even without big nights from Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol.
The scene shifts to New Orleans for what should be an extremely fun tilt Friday night.
Original video via The Hoop Scene.