Chris who? Eric Gordon hits game winner in Hornets debut

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Published: December 26, 2011

For 47 minutes and 55 seconds Eric Gordon had a tough time finding his stroke from the outside, but he hit the one that counted with less than five seconds on the clock to give the Hornets a 85-84 victory in their season debut. Gordon got to the bucket early and often, slicing up the Suns defense in the lane on his way to a team high 20 points, but his jumper was slightly off all night. Coach Williams kept the faith, however, as he drew up an isolation play for Gordon with the game on the line. Gordon sized up Jared Dudley, who was playing Gordon to drive, and stuck the twenty foot jumper for what turned out to be the game winner.

Prior to that shot, only one of Gordon’s eight made field goals had come outside of the paint and he was 0 for 6 on the night from behind the arc. But that was the kind of night it was for the Hornets offense, a series of ups and downs where bright spots were quickly followed by head scratching plays. Six Hornets scored in double digits, including newly acquired Greivis Vasquez and backup center Chris Kaman, but those two also combined for 8 of the Hornets 13 turnovers.

The team was horrible from behind the arc (2-16) and at the line (62%), but they were able to stay in the game by forcing turnovers that lead to easy points and by getting 42 points in the paint against a soft Phoenix front line. It was clear that the Hornets half court offense is a work in progress, but the defense kept them in the game by holding Phoenix to under 40% shooting from the field and just 20% from behind the arc.

Outside of Steve Nash’s brilliant four minute stretch in the third quarter, the only real bright spot for Phoenix was backup center Robin Lopez, who went for a game high 21 points in just 27 minutes. Lopez took advantage of the Hornets early when they paired Jason Smith and Chris Kaman in the front court to match up with Lopez and rookie Markieff Morris. The Suns second unit dominated the Hornets on the boards and that got Lopez some easy buckets that got him going. Lopez continued to dominate as long as Kaman was in the game.

Monty made defense a priority in the final two minutes, substituting Okafor in for Kaman, which resulted in stops on the final three Phoenix posessions. And although it will be overshadowed by his offense, Eric Gordon’s defense might have been just as big on the final play of the game as he denied Steve Nash the ball off of an interesting give and go play that Alvin Gentry had set up coming out of a timeout.

It was an ugly win, but quite possibly a perfect start to the Hornets season as this team effort was punctuated by a new leader who rose to the challenge and, for at least one night, made us all forget those who have recently departed.

65 comments
Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

I was glad to see our *cough* "3 points specialist" Brickinelli was back to his old ways 0-5 from behind the arc and he had oooopen looks.

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

One More and you are Done?..One more Curse word..Fuck You and this Site You fucking ****..I didn't like some of the Comments..I stated my Opinion..Nothing is wrong with that..It's just Words.

Noah
Noah

YEAH Minnesota 0-2 #1 overall draft pick for Hornets!!

Douglas J. Bender
Douglas J. Bender

I think sometimes God allows a "foreshadow", or a "foretaste", of how things will be. Especially when someone has been unduly wronged and "cast away", as in the case of young Eric Gordon. Both the Hornets fans, and Eric Gordon, were in need of some reassuring, some glimpse of hope that things will be as good as, if not even better, than the way they were before. The game between Phoenix and New Orleans ended as if someone had scripted it -- new face of a forsaken franchise, himself cast off, turns a loss into a victory on an almost-last-second shot, a shot that was a thing of beauty. It was almost as if it was meant to be, as if it was "planned from the beginning". Or so it seemed to me, but then again I tend to hope for those sorts of things. Eric Gordon will be a pleasure for Hornets fans to watch and to root for -- and I think he will come to love New Orleans and the Hornets, and the fans for their fervor and appreciation. I think he is in a much better situation, ultimately, than he experienced in Los Angeles -- in New Orleans, he will be the star, and more attention and affection will come his way, and more recognition, than if he had remained with the Clippers. And so whatever victories and success the Hornets experience will be all the sweeter for Eric than what he might have had with the Clippers, I believe. I think it will be much like Drew Brees coming to the Saints -- a "hero" is born out of being cast away. In this regard, both Eric Gordon and Drew Brees make me think of Joseph being cast away as a slave into Egypt -- what was initially painful turned out to be for his, and others', best. It would be very neat if two Indiana athletes experienced similar "exaltations" in New Orleans. (My only complaint is with the name, "Hornets". It's too bad the team can't be named, "Evangelists", or "Deacons", or "Elders", or something, in keeping with the Biblical theme. : ) )

xxNOLAxHORNETSxx
xxNOLAxHORNETSxx

You can bank on the thunder, clippers, grizzlies, and spurs to make the playoffs. That leaves four spots open and the mavericks, lakers, blazers, and nuggets all have a really good shot at them. Other honorable mentions would be the hornets, rockets, and suns, along with possible surprises by deep young teams like the kings, timberwolves, and jazz. Theres really no telling how the western playoff race will come out... this should be a fun year.

NO-CHI
NO-CHI

Haha. It's going to fine. It's going to be okay. Let's not forget: we're getting Jarrett Jack back against Boston, meaning our bench is going to improve. Either Belinelli comes off the bench or Gordon comes off the bench. Due to this season being only 66 games, division games are important. All the predictions have the Clippers replacing the Hornets, Well, at this rate: it looks like the Clippers will be replacing either the Mavericks or the Lakers. So the Hornets will probably make the playoffs because they're aren't 8 teams that are truly solid. (They are only 2, at most 3). The Spurs, Mavericks, and Lakers are finally shown their age. Portland and Utah don't have enough. Minnesota --- no way. Houston --- odd bits and ends. So expect teams like Sacramento and Golden State to make it. Locks: Clippers Grizzlies Thunder Probable due to lack of other options Sacramento New Orleans Golden State Last couple of seeds Lakers Spurs Mavericks

Tyler
Tyler

Al Farouq-Aminu's development is an important factor for this team's direction this season and in the future.

chris
chris

Is there any way to get box scores on here as well? And maybe a link to schedule? This site rocks other than that!

Isaac
Isaac

Gordon's shot wasn't falling.. He had a really slow start with his 3P% last year as well, and he still evened it out to 38% by the years end. Gordon's shot will get to the point that you just expect it to go in.

kempleton
kempleton

I am glad that Ariza is aware of the fact that he almost blew a crucial away win for us. Here is what he said post-game: "We cut it to one, I got to the line and tricked off two free throws and Eric (Gordon) saved it." He is expected to be going to the line more frequently this season. I wish he practiced more to improve his free throws...

edbballin504
edbballin504

My take on the game... I was in the Dome so I DVRed the game and watched it this morning. Yes we have work to do but do you guys not realize that if shot a better % from the free throw line (we were 13/21) and 3 point line (we were 2/16) that this game is a blow out? I think when we see these guys in the Hive Friday that its not even this close. I thought Gordon looked great on O and D. His shot wasn't even falling, yet he still found a way to leave an impact on the game. Like another person already said, "he is exactly who we thought he was." I was also VERY impressed with Vasquez. The guy is confident and plays with the swagger of a winner. His D and constant hustle was great as well. He played smart for the most part and did a nice job of penetrating and dishing to the open man. Too bad our bigs could catch or finish his passes, but that will come in time. Most folks are saying backup, but I could see this guy being the starter with Gordon in the future. It appears that Dell and Monty's ultimate goal is to build a team with defensive stoppers who can RUN! Vasquez pushes the ball very well; if we can be a top 5 defensive team every night then kill the opponent with fast break points galore, watch out! I think we are building the backcourt to do this now, but our bigs are too slow to keep up. If we can replace Okafor/Kaman with bigs in the draft that can shot block and run, then I'd expect the team to reach a new level. I'd love to see us land Drummond (Uconn) to anchor the middle. My main concern after this one game was Aminu. He looked completely lost all game. He's playing way too timid like a deer blinded by the headlights of a car. He needs to settle down and just play basketball. I think Monty did the right thing to play him only 11 minutes. I am also concerned with his body language, he looked uninterested most of the game. Most notably when Gordon hit the go ahead jumper at the end...the whole bench jumped up and celebrated, but Aminu stayed in his seat. Didn't like that. Overall, I am very excited about the future of this team. 1-0 baby! Geaux Hornets!

J
J

All CST games will be in HD this season

Stew
Stew

Three cheers for CST actually broadcasting an away game in HD on CST HD!

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Anybody want tickets to opening night at the Hive? We are giving two away on Twitter in our Hashtag of the Day contest. Hashtag is: #EricGordonsShotIsSoPure Good luck everyone!

Jo D
Jo D

Nice win. Eric Gordon is who we thought he was. Kaman should be starting(atleast in my opinion). Mek plays better when he has point guard stability, so he will be inconsistent until that works itself out. Landry played solid. We got what we came to expect of him. Aminu showed his rawness instead of his potential this evening. Cardell might get cut in the coming days as he broke one of the cardinal rules of the point guard... He ran to the corner on his very first possession... Which ended in a turnover... Jason Smith was decent in his minutes(took shots he is known to make).. Ariza did exactly what we want him not to do, trying to be a self shot creator... And he failed miserably in doing so... But he didn't play terribly all game, and it's only one game in so I won't bash him too hard just yet...

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

Edited. One more and you are done. Take that elsewhere if you must talk like that. Explain WHY there's too much negativity if you can. If you can't, figure it out.

Dee
Dee

Yes! Good game , they played sloppy but the win is what was important.

KC NOLA
KC NOLA

Happy for the Win but from what i hear and looking at the stats sheet, we still have a lot of work to do. (Was at the Saints game witnessing History,Drew Dat!!!) I saw from the stats sheet, we were pretty bad from beyond the arc (Ariza and Vasquez hit the only 2) I also was a little puzzled about just having 10 assist for the team but we had 6 players in double figures(Gordon,Ariza,Landry,Vasquez,Bellinelli,and Kaman) and we won the rebound margin by 2. Really disappointed in Ariza, I hear he missed 2 critical free throws. Even tho he did go 6-11 from FGs and 1-2 for 3pters,he can not miss 2FTs that are critical. If the Hornets really want to build on a decent team this year, he is one of the players that need to step up and hit big shots(including FREE THROWS) and stop taking low percentage shots. Judging from the numbers on the stats sheet Vasquez shows some promise but still needs a lot of tweaking to me. I mean he practice maybe 1 time with a new team and came out to play. Vasquez scored 10 points 3rebs 2ast and 3stls so he shows promise as a good back up. His 5-6 turnovers is a big question but maybe it's because of lack of chemistry and unfamiliarity with the system(not sure). If he corrects the turnovers and change them to assist I think he can be a solid addition for the Hornets. I hope we can get a little more out of Kaman and Okafor down low cause from the stats sheet it looks like they got out played by Lopez and Gartat, did they? But I'm judging by the stats so I might be off but anyone who watched the game how were the new additions? Especially Aminu because I saw he only played 11mins and only took 1 shot so was he that bad or did he just happen to fall out of the rotation? Hopefully EG10 will turn into our big shot guy (i.e. Big Shot Billiups) and Vasquez will be better next game and turn to a good Guard(like a Manu Ginbili) and hope to see more of Aminu . Overall happy for the win but still has work to do, ready for the Home game to see up close and not just judge from the stats sheet. But all that matters is "I'M IN"!!!! Good night for NOLA fans. WHO DAT! BEE DAT! DREW DAT!! We are all winners tonite baby!!

MontyForMayor
MontyForMayor

Didn't get to see the game but a victory is a victory. It's disappointing to me given I assumed our front court was the strong point in the team that they seemingly got dominated in the game giving up 34 and 12 to Gortat and Lopez. I'm starting to love Commisioner Gordon and I haven't even seen him play in a Hornets uniform. I know 2 things about this team. 1. If Monty is our coach then we always have a chance. And 2. The future looks very bright for our new and improved Hornets. Monty for Governor. Let's geauxxxxxxx Hornets!

Jacob
Jacob

The team needs work, due to the lockout even more work will be needed to get this team to where it needs to be, but with a young team having success in a close game like this will give them some confidence going forward. Dell demps has this team at a spot where they need to be and Monty Williams will elevate them to the next level if not this year then next year for sure. LET'S HEAR IT FOR YOUR HORNETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jmbell
jmbell

A win is a win.. I'm glad to see Gordon come up big, despite the struggles. But I couldn't catch the game, does anyone know why Aminu only got 11 minutes? I assumed he would have a bigger role, but maybe I was mistaken. Of course, maybe one game isn't though to assess roles.

Joe P
Joe P

Outta town for holidays; couldn't see game. Anyone see if Okafor and Kaman were on the floor together at all, and how'd it look? UNDEFEATED! YES!

sweetpea
sweetpea

Check out EG10's twitter posting after the game. Sounds like the young man is starting to like our team and his new coaches. Hopefully the Hive will be alive on Wed. night.

yankeesman77
yankeesman77

Great win tonight! Won by some stifling defense, rebounding and Commissioner Gordon! I feared when the Suns really got going to start the 2nd half, we wouldn’t be able to answer back but the Hornets kept it close throughout. Would have liked to have seen some more passing and assist totals but when Gordon wanted to take that shot, he created, elevated, and fired away. Big problem I took away from this game was allowing both Robin Lopez and Marcin Gortat have their way down inside the paint and posterizing away on Kaman and Emeka. When you have bodies like that create in the paint, the point is to try and use the body to make sure if they do go that they won’t go back again. Watching them go for a combined 14-21 from the floor and 34 points with 12 rebounds has to be improved especially against tougher bigs coming up on the schedule. Even without Paul Pierce (if he isn’t playing), the Boston Celtics still pose a very dangerous threat with Rondo and KG and Ray Allen coming to New Orleans. Their bench is in shambles but they will still play hard for Doc Rivers. The Celtics will likely run a very quick and pop game mostly relying on Allen while trying to get KG some Mid-range shots. Also look for Brandon Bass to create some trouble down in the paint. I’ve always liked him and thought he could be a great fit on this Hornets team. Excellent win tonight in Phoenix. Great job by Monty and Trevor, don’t ever shoot the basketball again. Thanks (From: Every NOH Fan). Sincerely, Nick Malone LI’s biggest Hornet fan

Tyler
Tyler

Good win tonight. There is still a lot of preparation and work to be done. Geaux Hornets!

hornetsfreak
hornetsfreak

Not only did the Hornets come out strong tonight, but the Saints destroyed the dirty birds and Drew Brees broke the passing record. Red letter day for a NOLA sports fan

mrclutch
mrclutch

Yes it was an ugly game but we got the WIN! we must also keep in mind that we were playing without a starting pg and with MANY new pieces. I am truly excited about the present and future. Ready to see what we can look likeafter our young team can gain cohesiveness.. I'M IN!!!

Tim
Tim

Vasquez>Nash