The Hornets open strong, then fade against the Heat

Published: January 30, 2012
New Orleans Hornets 95 Final

Recap | Box Score

109 Miami Heat

Trevor Ariza, SF 30 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 9 PTS | -29His offense wasn’t really clicking tonight. He made some nice passes, but as a slasher he was contorting his body to try to finish and missing everything. Still, can’t kill him – defending LeBron James is no picnic.
Jason Smith, PF 18 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -10Smith gave it his all while he was out there, but he fouled a lot and contributed nothing on the boards, where for the first time all season, the Hornets were absolutely crushed.
Emeka Okafor, C 27 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -18Speaking of boardwork, Okafor was struggling with all the athletic Heat players flying in around him. Couldn’t even get his tip-outs to work right in this game. His offense was fine, but if this team doesn’t control the glass, it doesn’t have a chance.
Jarrett Jack, PG 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -22Jack was more head-down than usual as he was bothered by the Heat defensive pressure and had to concentrate on the ball more than any open passing lanes. He can go head down and get a better than average grade – but only if he’s putting up big numbers shooting. He didn’t pull that off tonight.
Marco Belinelli, SG 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -6Every shooting guard in the league now tries to post up Marco. It’s the ultimate sign of disrespect. However, I have to give Marco props. He was the Hornets leading rebounder tonight. Right. With 5.
Carl Landry, PF 24 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -14Landry did his thing, and hit some incredibly tough shots in the third and fourth – operating as the only offensive threat the Hornets had that could get points when the Heat defense was operating all out.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 25 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-3 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -1You’d look at his numbers and thing Vasquez had a nice little game. That would be true if most of his production didn’t come at the end of the fourth when the Heat had won the game and were letting in easy baskets. Vasquez can’t turn the corner on pick and rolls against quick, athletic guards. It’s a problem.
Gustavo Ayon, PF 18 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +9Ayon is the master of floating to the open spot on offense. He took some lumps on defense tonight trying to check Bosh, but all-in-all did pretty well. He also stuck a jumper from 15 feet. If he can do that consistently, I expect Jason Smith to sit down for him by mid-season. Can’t give him a great grade either though. Can’t absolve him of the rebounding issues I whine about for everyone else, just because he’s my favorite.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +5Aminu is a Marcus Thornton-level ball stopper on offense. The problem is Thornton is crafty enough to manufacture a shot. Aminu is lucky when he manages to make it six feet without being cut off and forced to pick up his dribble. Aminu needs to figure out a pair of moves on the perimeter and start making them with confidence. No hesitation.
Xavier Henry, SG 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | 0Waiting to see anything to get excited about.

Four Things We Saw

  1. The Hornets opened strong with a concerted effort to get everyone touches and looks on offense. That balanced attack worked out well through the first two quarters. It’s interesting how different the Hornets offense is without Kaman around. Justified or not, they’d Kaman offensively for stretches. They don’t have someone like that right now and have to get everyone going.
  2. In a repeat of almost every other game this season that the Hornets lose, the run that buried them was triggered by a series of turnovers. This team has no margin for error. They give up a burst of easy scoring, and they aren’t going to be able to match it.
  3. Mike Miller just looks decrepit. Every time he breaks into a jog, it looks like he’s about to swallow his tongue in the effort to get his body moving.
  4. We called it at the start of the season – the Hornets point guards aren’t very good at guarding point guards. Tonight, poor starters Cole and Chalmers follow the solid Jeff Teague in looking like stars against the Hornets. That’s not good.


  1. Tim

    January 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I really hope Aminu, Xavier, and Vasquez start coming around at some point…

    • carpo

      January 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      i like the look of xavier, nice lil jumper n some good moves. it looks like hes not being to aggressive cos he has been told not to be.

      • DownUnder

        January 31, 2012 at 4:07 am

        Yea its too early to judge Xavier, when its his third game with limited minutes in i guess what would be close to a year by now. Im not going to hold my expectations to this but I could see his game mold into something a lot like Aaron Afflalo because I think that wuits his game style.

  2. George

    January 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Question: Would you trade Aminu for the 15th to 20th pick in the draft? Chandler will become available soon, and I think we should pursue him. If not the draft has got some good prospects at small forward that we can acquire. I don’t think it is a good idea to keep both Ariza and Aminu past this season.

    • DownUnder

      January 31, 2012 at 4:15 am

      Personally I wouldnt do it, just because the dude had alot more potential then anyone that you could choose with picks in that area, He may never amount to a level of player that we could get with a pick at that area but he still has the potential to go with it for at least the rest of his rookie contract. I liked what Ryan and Mike were saying on their last podcast as they noted that Gerald Wallace was also raw after a one and done and it wasnt until his 4th season that he started to become servicable and eventually a top 50 player. It just takes time to develop in this league, especially in a season like this one.

  3. Lucas Ottoni

    January 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Jarrett Jack is a combo guard, a finisher. He has no ability to organize the team on the court. One assist tonight! I think Monty Williams should put Greivis Vasquez playing for much longer. I like this player and I think he’s much smarter than that JJ. Was with Vasquez on the court that we put 12 points ahead in the second quarter.

    The right team for Jarrett Jack? New York Knicks, baby… A complete mess offensively and defensively.

    • J

      January 30, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      If they would trade Jack to the knicks who would the Hornets get in return?

      • Lucas Ottoni

        January 31, 2012 at 5:18 am

        I’d get Landry Fields and kick the terrible Belinelli of our roster.

      • NOH Domination

        January 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm

        The return of B Diddy!!!!!! He’d definitely be “injured” for the rest of the season if that happened.

    • DownUnder

      January 31, 2012 at 4:23 am

      JJ is definately the main player responsible for this team I see. The predictable bashing always occurs after a bad loss, significantly less bashing when we lose narrowly and none what so ever when we win. I feel so bad for the man that the fans seem to have opinions like this on the man. Awful lot of pressure on this man, but he upholds himself so well, his character is a real testiment to him.

  4. sweetpea

    January 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Your comments about Kaman are interesting, because I actually was leery about getting rid of him so soon after we acquired him. It seemed then and still seems like an odd move to me. Granted, he made some bad decisions with the ball and needed work on defense, but he’s a big body and in the first few games played real good offensive ball for this team. I thought the team might be able to do some interesting things with 2 BIGS and 2 somewhat BIGS; in fact we were at the beginning of the season. Why shop Kaman instead of Okafor?? Kaman has topped out as a legitimate Star Center; has Okafor?? Realistically where are Ayon and Smith gonna top out?? Plus Kaman wanted to stay in NOLA. I thought it was a mistake when it happened, but figured we could wait on Ayon to develop. Everyone I know is really high on Ayon …. we’ll see. I love Dell’s gambling disposition, but sometimes I wonder if a bit of stability might help as well. Sorta like having Favre as your QB.

  5. sweetpea

    January 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Sorry meant Kaman topped out as a legitimate All Star center. My bad, tired after these last two losses.

  6. David

    January 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Okafor gives you much more on the defensive end. He’s an anchor in there, much better than Kaman. If more of the offense was run through Okafor, his scoring numbers would be better. If he played more minutes, his rebounding numbers would be better. His FG% and his rebound rate (rebounds per 40 minutes of playing time) should be the numbers to look at, and both are solid. He’s definitely overpaid, but all big guys in the NBA are overpaid. He’s a top 10-15 starting center in the league, no doubt. He is comparable to guys like Hibbert, Jordan, Chandler, Gortat, etc. Joel Anthony, BJ Mullens, Dejuan Blair, Jermaine O’neal, Spencer Hawes, Brendan Haywood, Chuck Hayes, Samuel Dalembert, Darko Milliicic, Kwame Brown, javale Mcgee, 37 yr old Marcus Camby and Andrea Bargnani are all starting centers in this league (and yes, Bargnani averages 23 points a game, but he probably gives up close to 40 on defense). Just think about THAT before you push ole Mek out of the door. I’m sure they are willing to move Okafor for the right deal, but 1.) The organization values Okafor more than the fan base does and 2.) Nobody is going to give up much value to take on Okafor’s money.

    • sweetpea

      January 30, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks David for the drops of knowledge, that puts perspective on it. They must have seen enough of Kaman to make that quick of a decision. There’s obviously probably more than a little part of Dell that regards the Gordon/Kaman/Aminu trade anyway as not the one he really wanted; didn’t give him the parts he thought were best for the team’s interests. I wonder how short the trigger will be on Aminu.

      • David

        January 30, 2012 at 11:34 pm

        I don’t think it’s that they didn’t like Kaman. It came down to the fact that Kaman, as a 7 ft. former all star that can play, and on an expiring deal, is a very valuable trade chip to a contender. His contract will be up after the season, so if you don’t trade him and get some value for him now he will walk after the season and you get left with 4 or 5 more wins and Kaman out the door. Rumor was that they talked to him about extending his contract on a cheaper deal but he wouldn’t. He knows that he is better than all those bums that are starting around the league as well, and knows big guys are overpaid, knows he will get a starting job somewhere next year – why would he sign on w/ New Orleans at a discount to be a backup?

        Trade him now, play the young guys, and see what you can get for him.

  7. J

    January 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I say blow the roster up get as many draft picks as trade chips and expired contracts as you can so the Hornets can be really be under the cap.Keep Gordon,Okafor,Vasguez,Summers,Smith and Ayon.I would want them to get Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks.I want someones opinon on J.R Smith?

    • carpo

      January 30, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      I love JR Smith

    • Chuck

      January 31, 2012 at 12:12 am

      I’m glad JR Smith doesn’t know anyone in my family

  8. David

    January 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Aaron Brooks is hot garbage. He’s a shoot first point guard who is undersized and can’t play any defense whatsoever.

    J.R. Smith is selfish, ball stopping, bad character guy who cannot play team basketball. He gives terrible effort on defense. I can’t believe Byron Scott ever drafted that guy. I’d rather win 18 games than have a guy like JR Smith to root for.

    Wilson Chandler is a good not great player that will probably get close to 10 million a year. We can’t pay a player like that, that much money when we already have two players like that in Okafor and Ariza.

    • J

      January 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      ok no Brooks or Smith

  9. HoumaHornet

    January 31, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Would like to thank Joe for asking EG10 on twitter tonight if he liked NBA or college basketball better. Kinda frustrating continually seeing his tweets about college ball and not showing his teammates support.

    • sweetpea

      January 31, 2012 at 10:54 am

      yea man that got old a while ago. The dude could at least fake interest; I’m surprised he left IU early seeing as how much he tweets about it.

  10. Lucas Ottoni

    January 31, 2012 at 5:27 am

    The Golden State Warriors can send us Monta Ellis in a trade for Chris Kaman. What do you think?

    • Tim

      January 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

      Interesting, but I don’t see how Monta fits in with this team. Maybe get a third team involved?

      • J

        January 31, 2012 at 8:29 am

        The only way that trade would work if Gordon is included we can’t have to of the best young SG’s in the leauge

      • J

        January 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

        *two of the best young SG’s in the leauge

  11. Mike Wientjes

    January 31, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I love me some Monta Ellis, but he can be a ball jack. I think that Gordon is a smarter player, better defender & has more potential. The only thing is keeping him.

  12. Mike Wientjes

    January 31, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Could we throw Gordon in there and get some more pieces along with Ellis? #AnyoneButBiedriens

    • NOH Domination

      January 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      I’d take Curry for Gordon straight up.. That trade never happens in real life though. That’s what 2k is for

  13. Mikey

    January 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Its hard to watch the Hornets backcourt sometimes. Other than Jack, there is no NBA-ready talent in the guard rotation.

    Vasquez has an adequate 1st move to the basket, and shows flashes of being a distributor. He lacks the speed and quickness necessary to effectively get in the lane or defend, and he just doesn’t have the consistency in his decision-making. Summers and Squeaky are D-league level projects at-best, but they play hard.

    It was interesting listening to Vasquez’s comments from last night before tonight’s broadcast. He brought up some points that I had not considered up to this point. With this condensed schedule and the Hornets having 5 back-to-backs in January, this team has not only turned over half their roster (they didn’t even have a complete roster until the last few days of camp), but they have had very limited time to practice since then. Essentially these guys are learning the game in-game. Expect to take more lumps this season, Hornet fans. Also expect some improvement from this team in February, being that the schedule relaxes a little.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 31, 2012 at 9:39 am

      When I see Vasquez, I see quick. He’s not hummingbird quick, but he seems faster than the average guard . . . maybe it’s just me thinking about him driving through two defenders and doing his Devin Brown impression. I’ll have to look more closely.

      Decision-making . . . that one is pretty clear, even to me. He converts his loco drives at just good enough a rate to keep him from getting smarter.

      I wonder if his quickness without the ball has to do with his decision-making. He can do the thing quickly, but he’s slower to decide, so the transaction time is slower. Slow bus speed gumming up a fast processor kind of thing.

    • Lucas Ottoni

      January 31, 2012 at 11:20 am

      I love the Vasquez’ talent. He just needs to evolve some aspects of his game to become a very interesting player for the Hornets. I’d like to see him more time in court.

  14. da ThRONe

    January 31, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Just switched over to the day shift at my job now I can watch the Hornets more consistently. Just some random thoughts from last night.

    1st as a team we are awful. Some nice individual improvements none of which is meshing well together. Jack is really good at what he is. A combo guard. He is better served coming off the bench in the “Jamaal Crawford” role. Emeka offense has finally moved from Charlotte to New Orleans. This is the player I thought we were getting 3 years ago. Too bad he waited til CP3 skipped out of town. Ayon has get fundamentals and his comfort level this early in his NBA career is down right impressive. He looks like a smaller less gifted Tim Duncan. He clearly should play more if not out right start. Ariza has impressed me even offensively. Sure he should not be more than a teams 4th scoring option on average. He can make things happen from time-to-time, game-to-game. He’s looking more like the Lakers Ariza than the Rockets Ariza.

    • da ThRONe

      January 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

      I did like the small viewing of Xavier Henry. I think he can provide some much need scoring off the bench if we keep Gordon, or even develop into a starter if we choose to go in a different direction from EJ. Either way I rather see him get the mins over Belinelli at this point. General Greivis just isn’t a point in this league IMO. Not sure what his role is considering he’s no SG either. He’s a decent guard with really good size. Aminu clearly wasn’t/isn’t ready for the pro’s. He has obvious talent, but not sure if he will ever live up to it. It might not be a bad idea to package him with some of the other young guys like Jason Smith or Vasquez and try to secure another mid 1st round pick this draft.

      Demps and Monty really need to comb through the roster and the league from now to the guys we traded for in the Clippers deal are able to be “packaged” to access who is apart of this teams future and who is not, and whether they are currently on the roster or not.

      My hopes are that we completely clean house of the veteran guys. Then start fresh with the young guys and and future draft picks.

  15. David

    January 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Monta Ellis would be an interesting fit on this team as a point guard. IMO, the Hornets need a guy who can get the team into the offense, and SCORE. Monty loves the pick n roll game, and w/ our new roster, Gordon will be that pick and roll guy. He is an excellent pick and roll player, which means we need a point guard who can get the ball to Gordon in his spot, let him pick and roll, and get spotted up for a three and/or dribble drive. We don’t need a PG who controls the ball and creates across the board like CP did. The only problem I have would have is Ellis and Gordon in the backcourt together on the defensive end.

    I would love to see Gordon dealt to Indiana for Granger (NO native) and a 1st round pick, Kaman traded to Golden St. for Ellis (from Jackson, MS), and then picking up a point guard like Augustine (NO native). Ellis’ contract comes off the books in two years, when we will really be ready to spend some of our cap space in order to contend. I think GS values it’s players (like Ellis) much more than they should. They are probably kicking themselves for not sticking Curry in that CP trade.

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