Hornets drop their ninth straight despite strong effort against the Thunder

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Published: January 25, 2012

Again, the Hornets scratched and clawed, but come up short against a healthy and talented Thunder squad 

New Orleans Hornets 91 FinalRecap | Box Score 101 Oklahoma City Thunder
Trevor Ariza, SF 29 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -13His offensive game was…offensive. Couldn’t knock down a shot when the ball was swung to him and couldn’t create for himself. Defensively, he was not the lockdown guy he needed to be in order to forgive the poor offense.
Jason Smith, PF 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -12His jumper forces the defense to remain honest on pick and pops, and theoretically, it would be that much more effective if this team had someone who could constantly attack the hoop on the court. Looking at you, Mr. Gordon.
Emeka Okafor, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -7Mek had back to back possessions in the first that looked awful, but resulted in four points. He had a quiet 8 and 8 otherwise, as Ayon warranted the extra minutes with his fabulous play.
Jarrett Jack, PG 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 7-7 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 20 PTS | -13Jack started off hot early and faded down the stretch. In the future, the 4th quarter will be Eric Gordon time. Right now, Jack is being asked to do too much. And the stat sheet says he had 2 turnovers. I cal Shenanigan’s. I remember 2 on back to back plays in the second quarter alone. Either way, B+.
Marco Belinelli, SG 33 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -11With Henry joining the team and Gordon coming back in three weeks, Belly has to find another role on the Hornets. Team Chef?
Carl Landry, PF 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 11-11 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -13 points per shot? I think I just heard Ryan Schwan scream like Jason Calmes at a Bieber concert.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +3Hey Greivis, look to one of those athletic wing guys when leading a 4 on 2 break!
Gustavo Ayon, PF 17 MIN | 8-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | +4No more excuses- this isn’t a young, greedy pup in Marcus Thornton who you need to teach a lesson. This is a man who knows how to play the game of basketball. 15+ minutes every night Monty, no matter what!
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 25 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -6Did some nice things, but still mad some head scratching mistakes. Love that he pulls down rebounds, but you gotta look for your guards once you pull it down. He still thinks he can push the rock a la Scottie Pippen. Not there yet young man.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Xavier Henry was aggressive in his Hornets debut, but the long layoff has made him a little skiddish when he attacks the bucket. He needs to take it a little harder, and despite the fact that he looks like he lives in the weight room, he needs to get stronger to be able to finish when he gets contact.
  2. Aminu has some nice moves in his arsenal, and I think we will continue to see them as this season drags on. You can see in Monty’s face that he realizes that the playoffs is a pipe dream, and developing guys like Aminu could be the key to whether he sticks around long term.
  3. Chris Kaman was inactive tonight, and the Hornets made it a point to say that he was not injured. Making a statement to motivate him or ensuring that he doesn’t get injured before a trade? I find it hard to believe this was done to motivate him, so be on the lookout for a move soon. Celtics have always appeared to be the best trade partner and we know Demps and Ainge talked plenty last month.
  4. Gustavoooooooooooooo! Seriously, how can you not love this guy? Such high IQ and work ethic, with skills to boot. I am going to All-Star weekend in Orlando this year, and I was bummed because I couldn’t see any Hornets being invited to attend any events, but is it crazy to think Gustavo could be on the Rookie team?
  5. We are an hour away from the Gordon extension deadline, and still nothing. I was personally told from a source I trust that the final offer was made to Gordon and that the ball was in Gordon’s court. It was less than the max, but Gordon is looking for stability. If it doesn’t get done, it is because Gordon wants max money. I wouldn’t mind if he came back and proved he was worth it.

23 Comments

  1. okithor

    January 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Well, at least the Wizards played the Bobcats tonight. That is a Win-Win for us.

  2. Tim

    January 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Despite looking completely clueless on the defensive end, Xavier inexplicably impressed me tonight. I don’t know if it’s because he appears to have alot of potential or because his arms are as big as Meks. There’s something about him, though, that makes me excited.

    Oh, and I’m getting really nervous on this Gordon extension (or lack thereof). To be honest, I wouldn’t give him max money either.

  3. Leonel

    January 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Ayon! like a lion in Zion.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      The inner Bug shows his dreads, mon.

  4. da ThRONe

    January 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I hope we don’t trade Kaman. He’s an expiring contract. Trade Okafor and his two additional over priced years left.

    • 504ever

      January 26, 2012 at 3:05 am

      Yeah, my take on Kaman not playing is he isn’t good enough to warrant minutes. If he sucks for us, it’s hard to believe he won’t suck for a contender. What contender will trade quality pieces for a crap piece just to get an expiring contract? Or, to put it another way, how much better will the pieces we get in a trade be than pieces we could get in free agency (including Eric Gordon. The cap space for resigning Gordon has to come from somewhere.).

  5. NOH2313

    January 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Ayon was a monster out there tonight.

    Also, I was really hoping Gordon’s contract situation would be sorted out tonight. Now we’re going to have to hear the media constantly say that EJ is not interested in remaining a Hornet :/

  6. Jason Calmes

    January 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    You mean . . . Ryan’s dead, lungs through the nostrils?

  7. carpo

    January 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Gustavo ‘Mr Point a Minute’ Ayon

  8. nikkoewan

    January 26, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I want Ayon to start! more minutes = more experience = better player. Quick question, can Ayon start at C? or is he a PF that can play occasional C? Cause if we ever luck into the 1st overall pick and draft Anthony Davis, i was thinking if a Davis/Ayon starting big is championship material combo. As it stands, i say yes. But i’d like to know everybody’s opinion re: Ayon at C.

    • SadHornetsFan

      January 26, 2012 at 2:02 am

      that would be a slim starting frontcourt. we had troubles with the lakers bigs in the playoffs last season, and that lineup would be worse. especially with memphis, OKC, and LAL all having big frontcourts.

      • nikkoewan

        January 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

        thought so 😛 but drafting a big (unibrow, anyone?), esp a PF, would mean Ayon will still need to come off the bench.. *sigh*

  9. HaveMercy

    January 26, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Ayon’s the real deal, as long as he keeps hustling. If Monty wants to keep his job, he’ll start Ayon at PF. If he doesn’t start playing him more and keeps his job, Stern may be trying to lose to get a top pick. With Ayon playing a lot and Gordon back, they might not get a top pick..

  10. Hornetsky

    January 26, 2012 at 2:21 am

    C’mon guys…please put Ayon’s pic on the grading board.

    • Okithor

      January 26, 2012 at 5:01 am

      Yes!

  11. James Online

    January 26, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Henry’s career 12% on threes will fit in nicely.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 26, 2012 at 7:14 am

      Look more closely at the data available.

      Or keep cherry-picking, I suppose.

      The evidence supports the conclusion that Marco is our best 3pt shooter, regardless.

  12. Aussie Hornet

    January 26, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Did anyone else see Jason Smith’s block on Durant? Cannot find a mention anywhere. Dude deserves more love

    • CarnbY

      January 27, 2012 at 5:21 am

      Yeah, he made the top 10 on nba.com too

  13. Lucas Ottoni

    January 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

    GUSTAVO RULES!!!

  14. Lefty

    January 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

    OKC resident and Thunder/Hornets fan.

    Good game tonight, and I won’t be looking forward to playing against NOLA when Gordon is healthy. I had no idea who Ayon was before tonight, but he was impressive. I really hope you guys can figure out a way to hold onto Gordon and get a few other good pieces down there. NOLA deserves a good team after the support they showed the last few years.

  15. Mikey

    January 26, 2012 at 9:06 am

    First of all… I got two words for everyone, El Titan!
    Since Gustavo Ayon’s jersey number is 15 (the same as Tebow in the NFL), I want to start a new twitter craze called “Ayoning”. I’m open to ideas.

    Man, do the Hornets miss having a player or players that can close out games. I’m not saying the Bees would have won this one because the Thunder are just a better team, but watching the Hornets play down the stretch of games is gut-wrenching. Two glaring questions keep coming to my head:

    1.) who is the player that Monty can rely on to make a good decision with the basketball? Vasquez likes to throw it to the other team, and Jack doesn’t like to throw it to anyone. Kaman and Aminu are turnover machines late in games (which is kinda unfair to Kaman; he’s a turnover machine pretty much the whole game.). Ariza maybe?

    2.) who is the guy that the Hornets can get the ball to that can actually make a shot when the game is on the line? I hate to sound negative, but that guy doesn’t exist on this Hornets roster. Maybe Gordon can become that guy, but what has he done so far in his career to indicate that he can take up the flag and assault that hill? It’s certainly not Marco; he just has no confidence right now, and will consistantly miss wide-open, momentum-changing shots (like that 3 last night in the 4th quarter).

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