Hornets Collapse Late Against Nuggets

Published: January 6, 2012

The Hornets gave up a 19-0 run to the Nuggets which stretched from the end of the third quarter into the fourth, costing them a lead they had held all game previously and a much needed win.

Denver Nuggets 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 New Orleans Hornets
Chris Kaman, C 28 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -19
Kaman was very active on the boards throughout, especially on defense. He really controlled the glass for a while, and as a result the Hornets didn’t give up many second chance points early on. Started at co-center with Okafor. He didn’t have the jumper working early (or ever). Committed a dumb clear path foul toward the end of the second quarter, as well as a few other odd turnovers. Defensively he held his own one-on-one, but as a help defender he seemed pretty worthless tonight.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 22 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -12
Made a couple nice plays on offense early on, but two unnecessary fouls took him off the floor after only six minutes. He came back in halfway through the second and made a nice cut inside for a layup. He was late helping Vasquez to cover Gallinari right after that though, and it cost the Hornets a three-point-play. Nice D on a fast break shortly after, but then somehow deflected his own pass on the other end. For everything good he did, he seemed to do something bad to counteract it shortly after. I imagine there will be a lot of nights like this for Aminu. He should tone it down on the passing speed, also. Those no-look bullets are destined for failure more often than not. One rebound is less than stellar as well.
Emeka Okafor, C 31 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +3
Struggled to find the boards early on, and was just a bit too small to combat Nene effectively. Just not enough from him tonight on either end.
Jarrett Jack, PG 40 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 15 PTS | -1
Had a much harder time finding the basket than in night past, but still got his by working hard. As a distributor he was mostly ineffective. Not a bad game, but not a good one either.
Marco Belinelli, SG 40 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -15
Started off hot, making four of his first five shots and finally getting zeroed in from behind the line. It didn’t last. He also guarded Gallinari rather effectively considering the size difference. I think he wound up being Player of the Game despite a rather mediocre performance overall. Maybe he was player of the game relative to expectations?
Carldell Johnson, G 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +3
Played the final minute and a half, and didn’t make any mistakes. He even had a nice assist to Jason Smith. He gets an A for a perfect, albeit short (heh) performance.
Trey Johnson, SG 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +5
Only played a few minutes and had a turnover and three fouls. Not too bad, though. He can give the team a few minutes when they need it.
Jason Smith, PF 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +2
Lots and lots of energy yet again. He had a huge block right after coming into the game at small forward. He also made a move to get inside and score late in the first half that had me wondering if he doesn’t have a little bit of D-West in him. We used the word “guile” a lot for D-West, and Jason Smith is finally starting to show that he knows what it means. I continue to be impressed by how improved he looks from last year.
Carl Landry, PF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -7
Came off the bench in reserve of Aminu at the SF position, but saw time at power forward as well. Had a very strong slam dunk that brought the crowd to their feet, but was otherwise relatively quiet as he struggled to find a matchup that gave him a clear advantage on either end of the floor.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | +1
Got himself in trouble a few times early when he probably could have just taken an open shot instead of penetrating. Defensively he looked a bit lost again. He hit a couple nice threes in the fourth to keep the Hornets within striking distance, but it was too little, too late. Pretty solid game overall on offense in the end, but defensively he’s still not particularly in sync with the rest of the team, despite what the two steals and block may lead you to believe.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Hornets had a 32 point outburst in the first quarter on 59% shooting and 80% from three. Bellinelli added 10 in the quarter and played all 12 minutes. Hornets led by eight after the outburst. The Nuggets looked downright sleepy early on.
  2. Lawson struggled to find a rhythm throughout the game. Considering he was considered the worst matchup for the Hornets defensively, that goes a long way to explaining why they were able to stay ahead for so long. Another reason was the rebounding. Hornets dominated even more than expected early on.
  3. The Hornets led 63-54 with a few minutes to go in the third. They didn’t trail until the Nuggets first possession of the fourth quarter, despite everyone and their mom thinking this would be a very tough game to win. Monty called timeout with 10:07 to go in the fourth. At that point, the Hornets were on the bad side of a 17-0 run by the Nuggets. Eric Gordon, where art thou? The run would continue to 19-0 before Okafor made a layup to sort of end it, but let’s be real—the game was over at that point.
  4. The next time the Hornets have consecutive off days is February 11th and 12th. This could get ugly…
  5. Stuff at the game– A guy wearing a Roll Tide shirt got pied in the face by Hugo, who ran out to center court with an LSU flag. The crowd roared. People really like LSU a lot. Maybe one day we will have a fan-base as large LSU. Also, maybe we will one day create a flying Arena. The guy sitting next to me was recording how many seconds the Hornets sponsored billboards at halfcourt were on TV. Well played, Hornets off-the-court staff. That’s how you market!!! Three point shooting competitions are always an exercise in futility. Nobody ever makes more than 2/15. Today both guys were lucky to get one.
The Timberwolves lost. At least that’s a win.


  1. babyboi5

    January 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    The Hornets organization needs to do the right thing and give refunds to all who purchased season tickets because this is a GINORMOUS TANK JOB!!! There is no one that will convince me that this team is this bad. These players are not stupid or slow. They play well for 2 and a half quarters and all of a sudden they FORGET HOW TO PLAY THE GAME??? In the words of Chad Johnson, “CHILD PLEASE!!!!”

    Those who bought season tickets did not sign up for this. Fans of this team deserve better. For all who hope this team get high draft picks, I hope you get your wish. Ya’ll better hope and pray that there is a LeBron James, D-Wade, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan in this upcoming draft because if there isn’t, this effort was for nothing.

    Totally disgusted right now to see this team consistently fall apart and it’s not for lack of effort. I am convinced that this is part of the plan and for this season, winning games isn’t part of the plan.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Yes we did.

      Yes we did.

      Yes we did.

      We signed up for the team and for the city, not the wins.

      Take that to the bank.

      • Babyboi5

        January 7, 2012 at 12:47 am

        “We signed up for the team & the city, not the wins.” I have read that over & over again and it still makes no sense.

        Are you saying winning is not important?

      • Jason Calmes

        January 7, 2012 at 1:34 am

        I’m saying that it’s not important this year. Correct. If we go 0 wins for 3 season . . . issues, without a doubt. This year, not an issue in terms of long term growth.

        Next year the season ticket total may be low, but keep in mind, we should have some great news coming our way, plus nice draft picks, plus some people will renew because they’re going to have good time with people at the games.

        Might I be wrong? Sure. I’m just telling you this is how I see it.

        I’m happy to go on if you like. Feel free to tell me I’m nuts, but be clear . . . tell me what you see and hear at the games.

    • Joe Gerrity

      January 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Fourth quarter is where vets take over. It’s where guys like Paul and Gordon shine, and guys like Jack often fall apart. Look at the Hornets lineup. Who gets them tough buckets right now? Nobody.

      With Gordon out this next month could be a train wreck. Let’s try to keep our composure!

      Cue “Old School”.

    • sweetpea

      January 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Wow, you’re “convinced” huh? It’s got nothing to do with just playing the second best offensive team in the League with a Hornets team that was pretty much put together over the last month?? We were in training camp with 5 guys … 5 …. two of whom have since been traded. Everyone else is new to the team, the scheme, playing with each other, adjusting to playing back-to-backs against teams that are generally more talented than were are. Certainly tonight that was the case. But I guess you’re “convinced” otherwise … you with the basketball acumen of a Jerry West.

      • babyboi5

        January 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm

        Don’t confuse my frustration for not wanting the Hornets to succeed. I want to see this team not just for the future, but for this season as well. I’m not worrying about the future of this team right now. I will deal with that when the future gets here. I’m focused on the “here and now.”

        When the Hornets won the 1st two games, I was thrilled. I was excited. I felt that this season was going to be special, prove all the naysayers and so called experts wrong. Now, this team has lost five straight games. All five games are exactly the same-play well in the 1st half, then get steamrolled in the second half. 5 consecutive 2nd half collapses. Something really stinks here and I believe it’s not a lack of chemistry because if that was the case, the Hornets wouldn’t play well in the 1st half. So something is up with this team and I don’t believe that we’re not talented enough to close out these games.

        Again, we’re talented to hang in there the 1st half and then we forget how to play in the 2nd half?
        Are these team spotting us points and they rally in the 2nd half?
        Are these teams doing a “rope-a-dope” on us and win in the end?

        So it’s either the Hornets are blowing these games in the end so we can gain something greater in the future or this team is really as bad as a lot of people think they are.

        5 game losing streak here folks. The schedule for this month is BRUTAL!!! I will continue to hope that this team will get its act together and turn this thing around. If these collapses continue to happen, my position on this will get stronger.

    • ImSorryMonty

      January 7, 2012 at 11:22 am

      You disgust me.

      • Smarter than u

        January 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

        Both of y’all babies need to grow up

  2. JJ

    January 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I don’t think I’ve yelled at another player as much as I have at Kaman. I find my self standing up and screaming to the top of my lungs as he kills offensive movement and turns the ball over. For all the good things he does, he counteracts it with stupid decisions that either lead to a bad shot or turnover. He just doesn’t seem to really have it together.

    Other than that, not bad for a team missing their best offensive player and their best defensive player. I was getting excited for the game of Marco’s life until he missed what seemed like 100 shots in a row. Jason Smith is the MIH (Most improved Hornet) easily so far this season. His play has been rather impressive.

    • JJ

      January 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      And I’ll note: Timberwolves lost to the Cavs of all teams. I expect them to get better as chemistry builds, the season wears on, and a possibly a Beasley trade at the dealing, but every loss counts!

  3. Jason Calmes

    January 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    What the score was before the big run was is somewhat important, but the 32-24 first quarter, 15-17 second, and 16-21 third have alot to do with the loss. The initial lead was near illusory and was fading immediately . . . we held on until we let the 10 pt lead fade to 6. That was the end there. The rest was just the game playing out.

  4. MaxJD_Nola2NYC

    January 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I don’t understand how everyone is overlooking the obvious, we lost because if Vasquez he shot well from 3, however his passing skills and decision making skills are that of a sophomore junior varsity second string point guard in a third world country. Ok maybe that was a little hard but look at the replay on league pass

    • Jason Calmes

      January 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      1 TO, 4 AST. Is that really that bad?

      Jack had 6 assists in about 50% more time.

    • Jo D

      January 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Vasquez had about 3 passes he shouldn’t have made…
      Jack had about 9… Just saying… Not to mention when jack gets in the lane, his passes become WEAK…

  5. saZam

    January 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    without Eric Gordon you can expect to see this horrible offense every night

  6. Nick

    January 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    It goes without saying that offense is our biggest problem. With Gordon and Ariza out, we really don’t have anyone besides Jack that can create his own shot. Our guards aren’t too great at passing the ball, either. If you watch, passes going to the open man on the perimeter are rarely caught in an optimal shooting position; a lot are caught behind, too high, etc.. I think that contributes to our poor shooting percentages (although tonight we did shoot better).

    Until Gordon + Ariza get healthy, we need to go to (what I think is) our strength and pound the post. We’re not making a big enough effort to try and score in the paint. It’ll help us get to the line more, too. Given injuries, I think Landry is our best player right now, and he’s one of our more efficient guys. He needs more playing time and a bigger role in the offense. 35 minutes if he can handle it and closer to 16-17 shots a game. He shoots over 50% for his career. And I know this is a scary thought, but loosen the reins a bit and give Mek the green light sometimes. I think he’d get you 14/15 points a game if we’d give him 10 shots per. And as frustrating as it is to see Kaman make dumb decisions and pretend he’s a good passer out of the post (hint: he’s not one), he at least has a handful of offensive moves.

    Until tonight, we led the league in rebounding. Again, I think this is our strength. Pound the ball, get a shot near the basket, and tell everyone else to clean the glass – something they’ve already proven adept at doing. In fact, I think this is the only way Aminu is going to get buckets at this point in his career – hustling and cleaning up the garbage. Heck, let’s see what Ayon can do down low on offense, too. We’re already losing games, so it’s not like he’d be hurting us that much.

    If we’re going to win games with our defense (we certainly aren’t going to win it with our offense), we might as well go all in and really slow the game down (got killed on the fast break tonight) and just pound, pound, pound. It won’t be pretty, but I think it’d be a little more effective.

    • Jo D

      January 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Ariza can not create his own shot… Unless we are taking about horrible shots… Then he is on par with emeka as far creating shots for himself..

      • Nick

        January 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm


        Disagree. He has some clunkers of games, yes, but I think the light was starting to come, and he was coming into his own, particularly late in the season + playoffs last year.

      • Jo D

        January 7, 2012 at 1:33 am

        Weak small samples… Not consistent… He hasn’t shown the ability to do so for any length of time

  7. J

    January 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    The way the Hornets was playing i didn’t laugh this hard in years boy have you heard about the team lead by 12 and lose by 12 lol

  8. Andrew Smith

    January 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Carl Landry is #4 on sportcenter’s top plays

  9. Hornetsky

    January 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I hate losing to the nuggets!! It just sucks!!

  10. hornyets

    January 7, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Great start, crap finish… great game Vasquez.

  11. J

    January 7, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Lets recap the talent the Nuggets got from the Mello trade is 10 times better than the crap we got from the clippers except for Kaman.CP3 damage this team bad.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 7, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Are you making a point?

      If so, please restate. If not, please contain your exuberance to just a couple of comments per post.

    • Zombian

      January 7, 2012 at 4:14 am

      I just got a tattoo tonight. It reads, “CP3 damage this team bad.”.
      I hear what you’re saying though. Nuggets trade Melo and get better assets than the Hornets did immediately (maybe not immediately, we’ll have to wait for the draft). However the Nuggets also endured half a season of “where is Carmelo going” where his team and fans were dragged through the mud because he insisted to only play for one specific team.
      There are some other points to consider though, Melo’s contract is longer, he doesn’t have the injury risk paul does, and the whole NBA owns the Hornets debacle was decreasing CP3’s trade value.
      That said, this next draft is loaded. With the impeding lockout many players stayed in college and many players who knew they would otherwise go undrafted elected for the draft. That leaves this next class with more talent than before. Hell look at the players in this class, they are head and shoulders above last years. CP3 wanted to play elsewhere. Its hard to fault him on wanting to leave an organization that looked unable to build around him in the coming years. Had he stayed this year and left in free agency we would be left with nothing. So the only resolution you’re proposing is that he unwillingly stay with a team and continue to be forced to compete while the rest of the team struggles. The guy is a pass first point guard who just wants to set plays and lead a strong team. We were unable to fill that roll for a variety of reasons. I don’t like having a scapegoat so I won’t name anyone *cough*Bower*cough*. I guess what I’m saying is it’s going to be a rough season. Fortunately its a short one. Hopefully Gordon gets healthy and rests while we show off enough talent to trade players like Landry and Kaman at the deadline to a playoff team looking for backup big men. We have Monty and Dell leading this team through a rough patch and I wouldn’t rather have anyone at the controls. We’re going to see some embarrassing losses this season but in 2 years time I honestly believe we’re contenders (barring injuries of course). I’ve been a Hornets fan since 94 and I’ve rooted for them through thick and thin (which by the way only makes a loss to the same team who flat out embarrassed us in the playoffs a couple years ago worse but I’ve got to stop being bitter about that)..
      Stay strong Hornets fans!

  12. Jacob

    January 7, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Hornets will get it together, every team goes through a dark period every now and then and the hornets have hit theirs. The team needs to continue to grow and believe that they can win games because its not like the team is getting blown out every time and these games are just run away games at the tip. To close the game takes experience and that experience will take time, this team will come around when they can have a consistent lineup out there so everybody who thinks this team is tanking just chill out, this is a growth period for a young team and they will have a lot of growing pains throughout the process. Remember how well the thunder were before KD and Westbrook actually had a full season or two together with a somewhat consistent lineup, its because of experience. Just stay with the team for now as you will be rewarded in the future when they are successful.

  13. Jo D

    January 7, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Two things that will help this team exponentially..
    1. Monty needs to teach these guys how to sweet set a solid screen…
    The screens we are setting are beyond weak and virtually ineffective…
    seems like the guys are shying away from contact…
    2. Take the open shots… belli and vasquez(our two best three ball shooters tonight) both passed up open shots by hesitating…

  14. Andrew Smith

    January 7, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Everyone sees how great we can be in the first half, only if we can continue that intensity & effort for the second half instead of giving up runs

  15. Hornetsfan!!

    January 7, 2012 at 12:48 am

    For the sake of our offense, Landry needs a MUCH bigger role and playing time, he showed in SAC that he can handle 38 minuted per game. He’s our only effiecient , consistent scroing option with Gordon out.

  16. DownUnder

    January 7, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I believe it was Mikestradamus that said that the seasons of the rebuilding process, (and make no mistake that we are) would be very tough to watch. This team is losing games that they were not expected to win from the beginning. The fact that they seem to be giving these teams a scare can be viewed as a positive. When your missing your best player and another key contributer and doing that at all should be a credit to the team. I think after the first two games the expectations have been set a little too high.

    • nikkoewan

      January 7, 2012 at 1:29 am

      agreed, in my eyes, we’re outproducing in the 1st half because we’re outworking the other team. We lose because we lack the energy to outwork them for the 2nd half. That’s what happens when you lack the talent to compete. As long as that’s the case(until Gordon and Ariza return), we’re going to have a hard time finishing games.

      I’m happy with the fact that we’re competing with these teams, even if we lost.

  17. MontyForMayor

    January 7, 2012 at 3:14 am

    I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all but it’s clear that some of our fans don’t understand how the NBA game works.

    There are a lot of things to consider for the Hornets over these past 7 games and I just want to point out a couple of these points.

    1. We’ve had SIX different starting lineups in SEVEN games due, mostly, to injuries.
    2. Our BEST player has missed FIVE of those SEVEN games.
    3. As much as everyone wants to complain about Ariza, including myself, we better get used to him. He’s 26, versatile on offense, and incredibly active on defense. I know, I know, versatile on offense? But he’s shown the ability to hit the 3, drive to the basket, and at times the floater.
    4. Training camp was shortened and this team is assembling on the fly. Yet we’ve still been in just about every game this year. We’re collecting a wealth of youth by acquiring Gordon, Aminu, Vasquez, and have two first round picks, so far, in next years draft. Things WILL get better.
    5. The reason we’re collapsing, as I believe Joe mentioned in the comments, in the 4th quarter is because of this: NBA games are won, most of the time, especially in close ones, are won by superior athletes, i.e, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant. Monty has made sure the efforts there. And we look just as we did last year. But we don’t have Chris Paul anymore. And Gordon’s out. It’s true. This could get ugly.
    6. Things get better before they get worse.

    Sorry for yelling.

  18. ImSorryMonty

    January 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Aminu is literally a crappier, more indecisive version of Trevor Ariza. It’s incredible. He does the same exact crap that Ariza puts out there (slashing to the hole from the wide open 3 that goes nowhere, bonehead passes etc.) except WORSE. He can’t rebound, defend, or inbound the ball, the 3 things that Ariza does moderately well.

    I feel like we go into halftime and Monty tells us “Keep up the intensity, we got this!” and the other coach says “Guys, we’re losing to the flipping Hornets without their 2 best defenders and best scorer, we need to do X,X,X better and finish this game off.” With adjustments made on one end, and the lack of basketball talent to re-adjust on the other, we just get rocked.

    I’ll keep saying it though. Belinelli is a mentally weak player. When he’s rolling he’s effective everywhere on the court. The minute he loses confidence he plays like crap on both ends.

  19. J

    January 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Aminu should go back to high school because thats how he plays BUST!!!!!! we shoulda kept Pondexter.

  20. MaskedTalent

    January 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I’ll say it, even if it will piss everybody off and even if it is pointless to say, I WANT CHRIS PAUL BACK. I mean I can’t be the only person who says to themselves while watching a Hornets collapse… ,”Boy, I wonder what Chris Paul is doing right now…oh I know….winning.” I am totally choking on those HIGH expectations I boasted about on an earlier Blog Post. Seriously, I had no idea EG was injury prone. I mean…that alone would have had me barking at this season…and the trade. I mean he is the key component to this season.

    So back to the drawing boards.

    We don’t have a starting line up, imo. Ariza was at his BEST when he came off the bench for LA. Marco should come off the bench. Okafor has played a lot better offensively than in the last couple years but still ineffective. Landry I like. Dude has HEART AND SKILLS. Now Jack….He is alot better than anyone expected him to be…I mean he is putting up numbers but…those numbers don’t calculate into WINS. He does deserve props for his production.

    • ImSorryMonty

      January 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      God. I want a starting lineup of Howard,James,Wade,Paul,Aldridge. I’m sure as hell not getting it though. It’s over with.

  21. usufruct

    January 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I want more Squeaky and Ayon! I mean, who cares? We’re losing, so let the kids play. Something tells me Squeaky might be the key!!!

  22. J

    January 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Squeaky can’t play he just a local face thats on the team case close

  23. JaeAmazin

    January 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    It’s Easy to make Shots when the Game is not on the Line..We have no Clutch Players that’s why we’re Losing..If you think these guys want to lose every game..You’re Wrong

  24. Bower's Woodshed

    January 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I’d love to get the player’s feedback on their grades.

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