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!


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