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.


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