COMMENTARY | After the New Orleans Hornets lost seven of their previous eight games, the last thing fans expected on Wednesday, March 20 was an upset win over the Boston Celtics. But a last second tip-in by Anthony Davis gave the Hornets an 87-86 win. Surprisingly, defeating the Celtics is nothing new for Hornets coach Monty Williams.
New Orleans Hornets
Since Monty Williams became coach, New Orleans is 90-127 with a .415 winning percentage. During that same time, Doc Rivers is 131-84 with a .609 winning percentage as Celtics coach. However, Williams is now 4-1 against his friend.
The Celtics' only win against the Hornets since Monty Williams took over came in his first season as coach. New Orleans split the season series versus the Celtics in 2010-11 with an 83-81 win and an 89-85 loss. But since the Hornets' fortunes plummeted following the losses of Chris Paul and David West, New Orleans has defeated the Celtics 97-78, 90-78, and 87-86.
The Hornets have been very inconsistent defensively this season, but they have played surprisingly well versus the Celtics. In the first game, the Celtics appeared to just have a bad shooting night as they missed a number of wide open outside shots. In the second game, the Celtics were out of rhythm in the second half as they lost a double-digit halftime lead to New Orleans.
Before the season, the Hornets' two games against the Celtics were two of the more highly anticipated matchups on the schedule as fans wanted to see Austin Rivers go against his father. Rivers played well for New Orleans with 8 points on 3-6 shooting in the first game. Unfortunately, Rivers' broken hand kept him out of the lineup Wednesday night.
Many fans questioned the Hornets' selection of Austin Rivers with the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Among the complaints was that New Orleans selected Rivers because Monty Williams is friends with Doc. Of course, this charge is absolutely ridiculous, but it added to the drama and buildup when the Hornets and Celtics faced off.
It's crazy to think that during the same era in which the Celtics are 1-4 versus the Hornets, Boston is 7-4 against the Miami Heat in the regular season. Matchups mean everything in the NBA and older teams like the Celtics are notorious for playing at under 100 percent at times during the grueling 82-game regular season. But if any team has motivation to "tank" games at this point in the season, it's Monty Williams' Hornets.
Now if New Orleans could play this well against the elite teams of the Western Conference, then the Hornets might truly begin to reverse their fortunes.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. Patrick has followed the Hornets since they moved to New Orleans and has covered the team since 2010. He was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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