The Hornets beat the Nets

Published: March 17, 2012
New Orleans Hornets 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 New Jersey Nets

Three big shots by the Hornets to win the game, one each from Jack, Kaman and Marco. That was fun.

Trevor Ariza, SF 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +5

Ariza has been on and off with his effort recently, but tonight he was working hard, going to the floor twice for loose balls and generally playing hard, intelligent basketball.

Gustavo Ayon, PF 28 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +2

Great line for Ayon, and he was all over the place in the first half, leaving his imprint on almost every play. He looked tired coming out in the third though, and Monty didn’t play him too much in the fourth except for defensive substitutions.

Chris Kaman, C 29 MIN | 9-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +9

That last shot was worth an “A” by itself. I will say nothing more.

Jarrett Jack, PG 31 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 16 PTS | +7

Jack had trouble for a stretch of the game finishing those floaters he’s usually so good with. It didn’t matter in the end, though, and he buried a huge three off the dribble in the fourth to put the Hornets up with a minute to go. Jack has one of the most bizarre pull-ups in the league, lunging forward as if driving, planting that lead right foot, and going straight up into a shot. The thing is hard to defend.

Marco Belinelli, SG 31 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +3

Belli hit some crazy shots. Anyone else notice that he’s just playing with a lot more confidence in general? He’s got swagger and in the last three games, I’ve seen him give hard forearms and words to people getting too physical with him. I haven’t seen much of that in the past. He used to just flop. On, and if I give Kaman an A, then his shot gets the A+.

Jason Smith, PF 21 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -8

Smith was really rusty and wasn’t really used to the group he was playing with out there. It showed. Still, his energy level was as high as usual.

Lance Thomas, F 18 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +11

My turnaround in feelings about Thomas continues, as I found myself wishing Monty would pull Smith and play Thomas for some energy. The guy just works hard and makes himself available to make plays.

Greivis Vasquez, PG 20 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 6 PTS | +9

Vasquez is an ideal backup point guard. Keeps the offense clicking and plays hard. His minutes had a big impact tonight, helping bring the Hornets back from their 12-point deficit at the start of the fourth.

Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +3

Aminu didn’t do much tonight. His shot is probably the highest-arcing shot I’ve ever seen, and it’s consistently in the rafters.

Xavier Henry, SG 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -1

Henry didn’t have a lot of impact in his 15 minutes either. In fact, I would have said he played more like 5 than fifteen.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Is there such a thing as winners remorse? I’m feeling it, but a little while ago, I was really enjoying that game.
  2. Aminu got roasted by Gerald Green tonight as the Net’s small forward drilled shot after shot on him. Here’s the thing, though. If we played again tomorrow night, I’d put Aminu on him again and tell Al-Farouq to defend him the exact same way. Green takes more step back jumpers than anyone not named Dwayne Wade. It’s a stupid shot. It went down tonight. I doubt it will continue too.
  3. Demps has put together a nice crew of young, solid roleplayers. I’ll be interested to see how they all shake out over the next few years and what roles they carve out on this team or others.
  4. Deron Williams seems to always be kvetching about something or shaking his head in disgust. Just a sour dude.
  5. Make the call, guys. Thomas or Smith? Similar playing styles. Which energy guy do you got?


  1. Matt

    March 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I think Thomas and Smith are pretty comparable. I’ll go with the one who’s a 7 footer.

    • Ron

      March 17, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      +1 The extra 4″ helps.

      But don’t they have different roles?

  2. ImSorryMonty

    March 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I really like this Drew Gordon kid.

  3. 504ever

    March 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I like Smith better, but am not sure it is an either or. Smith has developed into a quality player and the Hornets have him at a reasonable price for two more years.

    Smith is more of a PF/C, the C as more of a defender. While Thomas may develop into the same thing in a PF/SF role, the SF as more of a defender. So I could see them both co-existing on a Hornets roster, depending on 2012 Hornet draft choices.

    If Thomas is our 3rd team PF, or possibly SF, then we would be in good shape, when a PF, or possibly SF, misses a little time. And Thomas will come relatively cheap. So he would be cheap insurance against an injury, and he can play well in stretches, too.

    • Matt

      March 18, 2012 at 12:14 am

      Perhaps it was a bit short sided of me, but I didn’t even consider Thomas at the 3. I can’t recall him playing in that spot, though I’m not saying he hasn’t. Ideally, I see them both playing at the PF spot. They are both high energy guys who get a large portion of their offense by finding the open spot down low and making themselves available to jam it home. While it’s probably too early to say its a trend, Thomas has shown up to this point that he can add to his offensive game by an ability to get to the line. Smith, as we all know, has that killer shoot and catch ability from the top of the key. Thomas seems to have the athletic edge in that he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim in a hurry, while Smith has the edge in the jumpshot department, effectively pulling out bigs to space the floor and clear the lane. On the defensive end, I’ll take Smith and his 7 foot frame.

      • carpo

        March 18, 2012 at 7:40 am

        a couple of game ago he had a few minutes at the 3, escapes me when/where it was but it stood out to me. I think he was out there with Kaman and Goose and he was a good defensively. I think it was the lakers and he mighta been guarding world peace who obviously isnt the hottest offensive talent, but I think the idea could be toyed with

  4. Calabrone Viola

    March 18, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Great job Marco tonight!

  5. edbballin504

    March 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Will Marco be back next season??

    • 504ever

      March 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

      I hope yes, with a Jason Smith like contract for say 3 years. We have 8 players under contract for next year. Add two lottery picks coming in who won’t be cut and the number is 10. Assume Gordon is signed, that means you won’t spend a lottery pick on an SG. So a Belinelli return makes sense. (Belinelli and Gordon push the 2012-13 roster to 12.)

      I think Belinelli is a good enough 2nd unit guy to resign for Jason Smith terms, and be OK if he has to step into the starting line-up sometimes.

    • sundance

      March 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      He can definitely thank his lucky stars when Gordon went down with his injury. Two years of being the Hornets starting SG, I would imagine Marco must think of himself as a capable starter, even if no one else thinks that way.

      Today he is a better player than he was when he was with TOR; yet I still see him as nothing more than an average backup on any team’s roster. My own hope is that he stays with the Hornets and works on improving his game; he needs it just as much as Aminu or Ayon or Henry. He’s loyal to Monty, but obviously playing time is important to the guy, and that will be a factor if he’s backing up Gordon next season who when healthy will probably be on the floor at least 40 minutes a night.

  6. J

    March 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

    if we’re going to get much better next season i would like to see us do a fire sale during the draft to get more draft picks i say trade Okafor and Jack in a package trade for players and/or for 2012 2nd rd picks and 2013 picks or in seperate trades

    1st pick Anthony Davis or Thomas Robinson
    2nd Pick Damien Lilliard
    If they get a second rd pick Marcus Denmond

    Then in free agency resign Kaman,sign Robin Lopez.I like will be the current PF group Davis or Robinson with Ayon & Thomas.At SG re sign Gordon with Henry and Denmond it would be a sold rotation.Sign Batum or Novak with Ariza and Aminu but i want to see some more development from Aminu in the summer leauges.If we draft Lilliard with Vasguez and sign Augustin.

    If Kaman ends up some place else sign Brook Lopez and Omer Asik or Greg Stiemsma

    • Ryan

      March 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      either lopez would be a good pick up but there is no way that portland lets Batum go especially with there rebuilding project now

    • Jacob

      March 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Draft a big first, if it is either davis, sullinger, henson or robinson. Then draft a PG for the future because vasquez is only going to be a role player in the NBA and there is nothing wrong with that by any means and Jarrett Jack is awful, yes he can score but that is about it, he defense is awful and his court awareness sucks. If the hornets decide to let go of okafor via a amnesty clause then so be it, but if they do, they need to get a free agent center quick, like a Lopez and even take a chance with Greg Oden as a backup. SG and SF are on lock down. The Hornets need a franchise PG, PF and C because the ones they have will never make this team good in the NBA.

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