Hornets surge falls short, Grizzlies win

Published: January 14, 2012
New Orleans Hornets 99 FinalRecap | Box Score 108 Memphis Grizzlies

Five Things We Saw

  1. I’m calling it. When Okafor or Kaman are traded, I’m okay with the Hornets getting no big men back. I want one of them gone, and I want Ayon starting at the 4. I think he’ll be that good.  The reason why the Hornets came back and fought to the finish after being down 16?  Ayon’s hustle, his pick and roll prowess, and his awareness of open teammates.  Half Smith’s points came from Ayon passes.
  2. After seven years of low-turnover basketball with Chris Paul, there are stretches where this team makes me want to tear out my hair. Bad passes, guards not waiting for screens to be set, fumbling ball-handling. It’s all there and makes me weep blood.
  3. Pondexter had a nice game operating around the edges for the Grizzlies. I’d say that the Grizzlies and Hornets broke even on that trade – and both teams got what they needed.
  4. There were rumors that OJ Mayo was on the block for Anthony Morrow of New Jersey. What the hell is wrong with the Grizzlies? Is he that odious a personality? The guy can play. No, he’s not a star, but he’s good.
  5. The Hornets point guards simply cannot stop speedy point guards. Conley had a +23 out there, and it was because he was breaking down the Hornets off the dribble, causing havoc, and then pressuring defensively, making the Hornets struggle to get into their own sets.
Chris Kaman, C 16 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -11Generally speaking, Kaman’s big advantage is his ability to lean on people and have the bulk to make them give ground. Gasol wouldn’t budge for him tonight, and he found himself out of position on both ends of the floor all the time.
DaJuan Summers, F 23 MIN | 0-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 PTS | -2When Summer’s offense isn’t going, he’s not giving you much, because his defense isn’t great. He got caught three times watching the ball rather than his guy in the game and was burned.
Emeka Okafor, C 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -7Okafor was fine while he played, but he kept being forced to foul as guards were beaten off the dribble by Conley. Shades of two years ago when Thornton and Collison were our primary guards.
Jarrett Jack, PG 38 MIN | 8-14 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 23 PTS | -23Jack had a stellar game as a two-guard, hitting his shots and penetrating at will. The only thing that keeps him from an A+ is that he played the point for about 12 minutes of the game, and his head was down those minutes too.
Marco Belinelli, SG 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -12Marco’s shooting was on, and many of you are probably aghast he didn’t get more than 20 minutes. Go back and watch the game, though. He couldn’t handle Tony Allen’s physical play and kept getting run out of rebounds or pushed out of position defensively.
Jason Smith, PF 27 MIN | 7-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +2Smith sandwiched a series of nice mid-range shots with a bunch of bad mid-range shots. His energy was great, his defense was fine, and he played off Ayon well. I do think he got a little tired at the end. You can only give his sort of energy for short stretches at a time.
Carl Landry, PF 12 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -12Landry is struggling defensively and starting to hack more and more. I don’t know if it’s his back bothering him or no, but it’s hard to keep him on the floor for his offense if he’s going to send the opposing team’s big men to the line every thirty seconds.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 28 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +3Vasquez helped trigger the fourth quarter charge that made the game respectable again as his passing was slipping through the cracks for easy baskets by the Hornets big men. If only he could cut the turnovers, he’d be a major help to a team dying for playmaking.
Gustavo Ayon, PF 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | +10Ayon has some communication issues still. You can see sometimes he’s not perfectly in sync with the team’s offense and defense. That will improve in time, and then watch out. Ayon is a smart basketball player who hustles, is damn strong, and always competes. Without him in this game, it was a 25-point blowout.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -7Too much floating on the perimeter for Aminu. At least he realized a mistake after going under the screen for Gay in the first quarter, got burned, and never did it again. I’m still kinda freaked out by his similarities to Julian Wright, though.


  1. Jason Calmes

    January 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Agreed about Ayon up to this point. Only my native skepticism is keeping me from gushing about the apparent leaps and bounds that he’s growing by.

    Going after the tie-up for the jump ball . . . dude’s playing a higher level game.

  2. Patrick Clay

    January 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Easily my favorite part of this game was the connection that Vasquez and Ayon seemed to show in the 4th… Isn’t Vasquez the only other player that can speak Spanish on the roster? So it would make sense they’ve made a connection.

    But still, they were making some great plays together tonight.

  3. 504ever

    January 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    The good news is we are becoming a really deep team. Tonight we went 10 deep and a 4/5ths backups line-up put us back in the game. Think what we will be like when Gordon, Ariza, and Henry are all available shortly. This team could really grow this season.

  4. Tyler

    January 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Still good to see player’s games growing and improving.

  5. Drew

    January 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    And the T’wolves lost again, closer to the cellar we go

  6. Solesfan

    January 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Agree 100% Ayon is improving every day that goes by,Kaman needs to go!

  7. sundance

    January 14, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Monty made the right adjustment in the second half when he made Greivis the point instead of Jarrett. Greivis has better vision than Jarrett, and he makes better passes that allows for a shot in rhythm. Jarrett can over-dribble and be a touch late on his passes, and that makes shots difficult because the defense recovers. Jarrett’s a big part of this team because of his ability to score. My problem with him though is that as the starting PG he has the ball alot which allows him to score anytime he wants, but that really doesn’t improve the rest of the team.

    Tony Allen is always a tough cover even though he’s not known for his offense. But how in the world Speights and Cunningham get easy shots off tonight with absolutely no one guarding them is beyond comprehension.

  8. hornyets

    January 15, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Nice energy on the comeback with Ayon going sick… (and great game CP3 over the Lakers)

  9. StefanC

    January 15, 2012 at 5:06 am

    I LOVE how Ayon is able to do things most bigs are not capable of. He has the ability to put pressure on guards, and he finds other big men for easy shots. Props to Dell and our scouting crew.

  10. Hornetsky

    January 15, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Completely agree with speedy guards burning our backcourts. Jack is a back-up pg period. Too much overdribbling resulting in either poor/hurried shot or turnover. We need to trade for a starting pointguard who can run our offense and can guard quick pg’s. I dont care if its worth Okafor, Kaman or landry.

  11. Nithenz

    January 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Is just me or Landry salary seems too much for a 12 min backup? At the moment of that signing i wonder if we needed to hit the lower end of the requiered cap and im still wondering if that was the case. We knew this team bigs was our advantage, but who would thought we were talking about Smith and Ayon instead of Kaman and Okafor…
    Btw, still thinking about Dwest…he is winning, but did he realized he was going to play that few minutes in Indiana? Just checked and he is averaging 27min a game, but each time i see his boxscore its shows in the lower end of the 20s.

  12. J

    January 15, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Keep Kaman trade Okafor his contract is worst than Kaman

  13. J

    January 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I miss the game because i was in disgust of the Saints loss.

  14. Joshua clause

    January 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I think they should start Vazquez and let jack come off the bench with smith.they seem to work well with getting Jason smith open for jumpers. If jack isn’t going to be our future get vazquez some more mins

  15. James Online

    January 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    This game was the worst coaching effort of Monty’s breif career.

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