The Hornets take down the Wolves

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Published: March 11, 2012

In an ugly game, the Hornets get enough to take down the Wolves, hopefully starting a long, torturous skid for the holders of the Hornets other first round pick.

Even with the ugly finish, with bad offense and turnovers when things got tight, I felt the Hornets played strong, intelligent basketball.  They took advantage of the Rubio-less Wolves propensity for turnovers, and then capitalized.  Then the Hornets shot nice percentages from everywhere on the floor and stuck the free throws they earned.

Also, unlike last night in Denver, they played their pace, and their game.  Grind-it-out, low possession basketball, running their plays and making the extra pass.  It resulted in 28 assists on 39 field goals.  Good stuff, that.

  • I can’t say anyone on the team had a bad game.  Henry missed some open shots, but his aggression, defense and rebounding made up for it.  Bellinelli missed some shots, but he stuck the free throws to ice the game.  Kaman chucked all game long, but I give him credit for scrapping against Pekovic, who is a pure bulldozer.
  • Monty kept throwing different looks out there.  For a few minutes in the second, he had a pure small-ball line-up of Vasquez-Henry-Belinelli-Aminu-Thomas out there.  And it worked, because Michael Beasley thinks stopping the ball and taking stupid jumpers is the way to play.  Wow he’s bad.
  • Ayon was back in full swing tonight.  He had two gorgeous touch passes to Aminu and Kaman and kept showing hard on pick and rolls, turning the Wolves guards back at the pass with regularity.
  • I’m still convinced that Thomas just doesn’t have the physical size to be a real player in this league, but he’s working very had to prove me wrong.
  • Wes Johnson is so inexplicably bad.
  • I’ve decided to take a step back and think about Aminu in a different way.  I’ve stopped thinking about him as a high lottery pick, and now think of him as an energy guy trying to stick in the league.  Suddenly, with those revised expectations, he’s pretty solid.

The Timberwolves are now 21-21.  If the loss of Rubio makes them slip even a little, they can still easily end up behind Utah, Portland, Phoenix and New York in the standings, giving the Hornets two top 10 picks.  It’s what I was hoping for all year.