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Desperation is best game plan for the Hornets

by Berry Tramel Published: February 9, 2007
The Hornets tossed up 105 shots Thursday night at the Ford Center. That's a bunch of shots, even in a 58-minute, double-overtime game that was somewhere south of classic and somewhere north of interesting.

The Hornets needed all buck-five of those shots just to scratch out a 109-101 victory over the limited Milwaukee Bucks. The hometowners missed 66 shots; the Hornets had one game earlier this season in which they didn't even take 66 shots.

Here's how you get 105 shots. You either play racehorse hoops, like the 21st-century Suns or the '60s Celtics, or you play desperate. You play as desperate as the housewives on Wisteria Lane and attack the backboard like shoppers the day after Thanksgiving.

The Hornets did the latter. In a must-win game not mathematically but surely psychologically, they stormed the lane with fury. Grabbing loose balls. Tipping loose balls. Craving loose balls like spilled jewels.

The Hornets had a franchise-record 71 rebounds, which is a meaningless stat unless put in this context: the Hornets had 31 offensive rebounds, the Bucks 33 defensive rebounds. Miss a shot, which the Hornets did plenty, and they had a virtual 50 percent chance of retaining possession.

"That's keeping plays alive,” said Hornet David West. "We're not shooting the ball great as a team. But you're able to win by giving yourself extra shots.”

West had a career-high 19 rebounds against Milwaukee and wasn't even his team leader. Tyson Chandler tied his career high with 22. Both had nine offensive rebounds; Desmond Mason had six and was lost in their eclipse.

"It's such a momentum boost,” point guard Chris Paul said of second chances. "The other team knows it's gotta guard another 24 seconds.”

This would have been a horrific loss, ranking right there with the ridiculous home loss to the 76ers last week.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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