Hornets push Rockets to the brink, but fall short in OT

Published: January 19, 2012

Hornets had their chances late, but can’t put the Rockets away to get much needed W.

New Orleans Hornets 88 Final

Recap | Box Score

90 Houston Rockets
Trevor Ariza, SF 46 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +3A-plus for defense and a C for offense in my book. It’s a shame that it took Monty so long to put Ariza on K-Mart, because he just shut that guy down in the second half. The only shot Martin made in the 4th quarter/OT came when Marco was covering him, as Ariza just gave him nightmares down the stretch. I’ll suffer through his offensively lapses if we get that level of defense every night.
Jason Smith, PF 29 MIN | 8-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | -2The dunk over Dalembert and the insane tip-in are two of my favorite plays of 2012, while the sheer hustle and guts of J-Smitty is hard not to root for. This offseason, there was at least a debate between readers over whether or not we should bring Belly back, but J-Smitty got NO love. Oh, how the tables have turned.
Emeka Okafor, C 26 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -3Over the final 11 minutes of the game (4th qtr and OT), Okafor only played 17 seconds despite the fact that Kaman wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Kinda tells you how Monty feels about him.
Jarrett Jack, PG 37 MIN | 6-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | 0Jack has no fear being ‘the guy’, and while that is encouraging, his results are so-so at best. Jack missed a key free throw that could have given the Hornets their first lead with 18 seconds left and he had a big miss, along with a huge turnover, in the final minute of overtime. Love the guts and determination, but he should be the 5th or 6th option on a good team. He is our first option and that is why the record is what it is.
Marco Belinelli, SG 42 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -3Some big shots offensively but got lost too many times on defense early in the game to warrant a higher grade. Will be interesting to see how many minutes Marco gets in February if Gordon and Henry are both 100%.
Chris Kaman, C 27 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +1His length gives the Hornets more of a presence on both ends of the court, but people who just look at the box scores have to be wondering why Kaman is getting so much time on the court. Okafor’s stat line looks much better, but Monty sees something most of us don’t. At least that’s what I am trying to tell myself. Either that, or he is showcasing Kaman for a trade. If that’s the case, Kaman needs to play much better.
Carl Landry, PF 21 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +2Uh, he was energetic and entertaining as he cheered from the bench!
Greivis Vasquez, PG 16 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | -2Some nice moments, but he really needs to take better care of the ball. Now that J-Smitty is getting more play time, Vasquez has assumed his duties as head cheerleader on the bench, and is getting a little violent with that towel. Careful Greivis, you’re gonna poke your eye out. #AChristmasStory
Gustavo Ayon, PF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2Porque no Gustavo??? Porque????
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 18 MIN | 2-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -4Just keep attacking and jacking up shots young fella. This year is all about development and character building. Just keep being aggressive, I love it.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Whenever Jack puts up a shot from 16 feet, I am positive it is going in. 18 feet and I know it is a brick. Such a seemingly minute difference, but it seems to be all the difference in the world for him.
  2. Who here remembers the brief coaching stint of Jeff Bower? Like any of us can forget. It drove fans crazy that Bower would go with Songalia down the stretch over Okafor, but Monty is continually going with a seemingly inferior player in Kaman late in games. Is it time we admit the problem is Okafor, and not the coach.
  3. People love to compare Aminu to JuJu, but I just don’t see it. The reason I have faith in Aminu long term? His free throw stroke. It is pure and it is only a matter of time before that stroke carries over and he gets a mid-range game, which will eventually lead to a respectable three-point shot. I am telling you, this kid is going to be a solid starter or better in this league. Time and patience. Time…. and…. Patience.
  4. Trevor Ariza just got back from injury and has played 86 minutes in the last 27 hours. I love Monty, but this I don’t agree with. You got two young guys in Aminu and Summers backing him up, the Hornets are on the second night of a back to back, and it is a compressed season. Ease up on the starters minutes Monty. Ease up.
  5. I am willing to bet Kaman was the banker in Monopoly and he would take a couple of $500 bills a game. The guy will do anything to win. Check out the pick he set for J-Smitty on the final shot of regulation that almost gave the Hornets a W. 100% illegal. I loved it!


  1. Leonel

    January 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Time and Patience. I got plenty of that. War Alfa!

  2. thechosenuno

    January 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I agree on Okafor. He’s got no offense…he can’t set a screen. Pick and roll is useless if the person setting the pick isn’t an option post-pic for getting the ball. You know JJack is going to keep it.

    I actually don’t know who will be gone first — Kaman or Okafor. It wouldn’t surprise me if we unloaded both of them. Ayon, Landry, and Smith? I could live with that the rest of the season. Not doing to see much of a decline from the production we’re getting now.

    And now, on to my man J Smitty. Hard work for him is definitely paying off. I love that Monty isn’t stuck in a routine and playing the highest paid player who’s “supposed” to be a starter. Keep up the good work, “j bone.”

    While I’d clearly be happier with a few more wins (and a little chicken at home games), I like seeing that Monty and the coaching staff are developing players and that people are making progress Just wait until there are real training camps and enough time in a schedule for practices. I don’t think they’ve had more than 10 actual practices given all of the games. Would be a little happier if he gave Aminu, Summers, Vasquez and Ayon a little more playing time, though.

  3. James Online

    January 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Students of the game realize that part of the defensive problem is that the Hornets have introduced some new defensive tactics. For the past two games, all players have been unsure of where to go.

    Team defense wins games.

    • okithor

      January 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      And all the rest of us watch the movie Rocky 5 times a day.

      • Jason Calmes

        January 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm

        Yo, Okithoooor!

    • James Online

      January 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Wow, what a colossal waste of time…but not unexpected.

  4. D$

    January 20, 2012 at 12:44 am

    sucks that we suck right now…but 2 first round picks, eric gordon (hopefully) aminu, henry, ariza, keep landry next year could make us good very soon

  5. SadHornetsFan

    January 20, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Aminu continues to impress me…it seems like he is really rebounding well out there when he plays, even independent of that 4 rebound play. I am definitely in favor of more minutes for him. didn’t we have both him and ariza in the game for a little while?

    • SadHornetsFan

      January 20, 2012 at 1:45 am

      i see he only had 4 rebounds tonight. lol. but even so, seems like he has been rackin them up the last few weeks.

  6. StefanC

    January 20, 2012 at 1:45 am

    We’re 4th worst in the league. I can already hear a plethora of lottery balls bouncing our way.

  7. George

    January 20, 2012 at 4:02 am

    Should try and trade Okafor now to Hawks or Celtics, we should see if we can get Kirk Hinrich and Zaza Pachulia for Okafor or a package involving Jermaine O’Neal, maybe Brandon Bass and a draft pick

  8. GrapeSmuggla

    January 20, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Mek may very well be the problem (Never loved watching his play; something always seems to be missing.), HOWEVER Bower should die a slow and painful sports death for what he did to this franchise (especially in the final 2 years of his tenure).

  9. Tim

    January 20, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I really dislike watching Chris Kaman play basketball.

  10. edbballin504

    January 20, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I disagree with #3….I’ve been seeing alot of Okafor closing games this season. That hasn’t always been a good thing either. Both Okafor and Kaman have flaws, but compared to the other centers in the NBA, we shouldnt complain too much about the talent, maybe the money….but not the talent.

    • edbballin504

      January 20, 2012 at 7:30 am

      I meant #2….sorry about that error.

    • edbballin504

      January 20, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Against small or thin centers, Okafor kills them! Its the guys his size or bigger that he struggles with. As far as Kaman, if he learns to NEVER dribble, he might do alot better. The guy is a turnover machine when he puts the ball on the floor. I blame our PGs though, who should know how to set their centers up in spots where they can succeed.

  11. J

    January 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Martin was out of bounds as he pass to Dalenbert i seen that over annd over in the replay you should see it for yourself.

  12. J

    January 20, 2012 at 8:40 am

    If TWolve improve this season but not make the playoffs you can kiss that lottery pick goodbye i think they’re going to out of the draft lottery but our 20th pick could turn into a lottery pick though.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

      J, settle down.

      Think about how this works, ok?

      No playoffs for a team means their pickour is in the lottery. There is no debate there. The unknown thing is where your pick turns into a top 3 pick and whether you lose ground in the draft because the lottery promoted people from behind you into the top 3.

  13. kempleton

    January 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Check out 2:26 of the video below! J-Smith is complaining to the ref about a push in the back. Then look at 2:22, Dalembert clearly pushes Jason Smith and that allows him to make the easy putback dunk! J-Smith was in position to grab the rebound in the restricted area right under the rim!!!

    Now, Ask yourself the following question: Is there any way that the two refs on both ends of the floor could not see that push? Shame on them! Well, they work for David Stern. And Stern is still our owner. And He thinks of our future, right?


    • nolahog

      January 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

      I saw the push as well, but Smith has to toughen up down there. It wasn’t that hard of a push. Smith still needs to work on holding his ground down low.

      • Okithor

        January 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        Get low push back and if the guy jumps over you for the rebound wave your arms, do a slight jump and scream “aaaaahhhhhh” You will get the rebound or over the back call every time : )

  14. ur_gmas_daughter

    January 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I love this new format of breaking down loses…I mean games but I have one problem with it. Gustavo Ayon’s picture never shows up on the grading section of the recap. Where’s that Mexican mug?

  15. Everett

    January 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    We really need to get a pass first point guard who can hit open 3’s. Jarrett Jack is a solid backup combo guard, but he tries to do too much too often. We had the game won in OT, but he decided to play hero ball and we had 2 awful possessions. Running isos like that works if you have Chris Paul, but a PG of lower ability needs to just call a set play in that situation. Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour come to mind as guys who make less money but who are more adequate point guards.

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