Hornets, Gordon Survive Nuggets

Published: April 4, 2012

Eric Gordon and the Hornets get a feel-good win after fending off a late charge by the Nuggets. Gordon’s free throws with two seconds left would prove to be the difference.

It was over when-
Jason Smith intercepted Denver’s inbound pass with two seconds to go. That’s when I knew… I wrote the post title earlier, but I really didn’t know that it was over until then. What? It’s been a tough year.

MVP: Eric Gordon (15 pts, 4 rebs, 4 assists). When the Hornets found themselves in need of points in the closing seconds, they gave it to their long-lost scorer. He drew a shooting foul and his free throws proved to be the difference.

Defining Moment: With 10 seconds left and the game tied, the Hornets went to Gordon. He delivered, drawing a foul and making what would prove to be the game winning free throws. Hornets fans, who have lost more than a few close ones, still aren’t sure what happened.

LVP: Corey Brewer delivered zero points on 7 shots to go with one rebound and one assist in 25 minutes.

X-factor: Greivis Vasquez delivered in a big way as a distributor. With Jack out and the Hornets lacking another true point guard, they needed Vasquez to care for the rock. He did, totalling 10 assists versus just 2 turnovers.

That was… “Dirty”– Andre Miller gave Carl Landry a check that had fans reminding each other of when Jason Smith did the same to Griffin. The result was a Flagrant-2.

Tweet of the Day:  @Hornets: So Jason Smith just received a “talk to the hand” from Al Harrington. Random.

Tweet of the Postgame: @Jim_EichenhoferHornets are 1-8 in games decided by 3 points or less this season when Eric Gordon doesn’t play, but 2-0 in those games when he plays


Denver Nuggets 92 FinalRecap | Box Score 94 New Orleans Hornets
Trevor Ariza, SF 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +13Trevor was active in the first half, leading the team in scoring (10). He was also all over the place guarding Afflalo on defense. In the end though, it was Ariza’s continued impresssiveness on offense that will stick with me. He’s not taking dumb shots, he’s not putting his head down and driving into the darkness, and he’s dishing when need be. I like it. I guess he’s finally realized his limitations and decided to live within his means on the court.
Jason Smith, PF 25 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +12Smith didn’t play too much, racking up 3 fouls in his first 14 minutes, but what he did was perfectly acceptable. A little bit of everything with solid scoring and rebounding is what
I’ve come to expect from Jason, and he didn’t disappoint.
Chris Kaman, C 33 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +3You know how Kaman does! Lots of points on lots of shots, a bunch of rebounds, a few dumb plays on offense that result in turnovers or fouls, and bulky defense. He was pretty good at being him tonight.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 37 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 10 AST | 11 PTS | +7Greivis had an efficient, yet quiet first half. he played 18 minutes, making both of his shots, and racking up four assists and just a single turnover. One thing I continue to notice is that teams like to pressure him when he brings it up the court. Unfortunately it’s been pretty effective in limiting the amount of time the Hornets have to run their offense. If you’re wondering, that’s probably a product of his athleticism not being quite on par with most of the NBA.Still, when you look at his final numbers it’s hard not to smile. The guy had a really nice game.
Eric Gordon, SG 34 MIN | 3-11 FG | 7-9 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | +6Gordon was off shooting and didn’t seem entirely comfortable in the flow of the offense. That didn’t stop him from requiring attention early on and allowing his teammates to get open. By the end of the first quarter the Hornets were +10 when he was on the court and -8 when he wasn’t. He finally got his first points of the game in the second quarter thanks to some free throws. His defense was really nice in the first half, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to see a clearly above average defensive guard. Henry’s not bad, but I question whether or not he’s been a clear positive on D as opposed to just average-ish.In the second half Gordon started getting into the flow of the offense, taking the ball up the court at times and finding his range and handle. He was rusty, sure, but he looked like the best offensive player we’ve seen on the Hornets since… well… we saw him last time.His closing was shaky, but drawing those foul shots was huge. I approve of that so much that he gets the A+
Carl Landry, PF 27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-8 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -14Carl did this thing just like Kaman, scoring, getting some boards, and not being as good at defense as you’d like. Still, I can’t see Monty yelling at him after this one. He also took a shoulder/forearm from Andre Miller that wound up being a Flagrant-2. He would recover and played again.
Marco Belinelli, SG 18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -9Beli played pretty really poorly coming off the bench in the first half, going only 1-6. His three early in the fourth brought thunderous cheers from the home crowd and extended the lead, but there was little else to really like about Marco’s performance.
Gustavo Ayon, PF 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +3Ayon had five very quiet minutes in the first half. In the second he had an easy bucket courtesy of a Chris Kaman dish. Yup, quiet…
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -9Aminu saw some minutes in the first half and demonstrated exactly what we love and hate about him. He had a sweet block and a few other nice defensive moments, a solid bucket, and a behind the back dribble that made me hope he’d just stop taking the ball to the floor all together.
Xavier Henry, SG 16 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -2Henry showed what he brings to the table tonight, aggressively driving, moving and finishing. He’s going to be fighting to keep seeing big minutes if Jack comes back, and you could tell he has something to prove. An efficient game like this as the second guard off the bench was just what the doctor ordered to keep his confidence high. He even got stuck on Harrington in the fourth and banged bodies. The result was a TO. Nice!

Five Things We Saw

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio was on site in a Raiders hat. This is New Orleans. Buy a freaking cap at the store. Also he totally stole Hugh Weber and Mo-Bart’s seats.Oh, and he and his friends were taking videos and texting over half the time they were there. I can think of about 14,900 people (attendance was 15,020) that would appreciate those seats a lot more.
  2. At the game, there was a couple who are scheduled to get married tomorrow. As they were given free stuff and introduced, a couple Nuggets fans were standing behind them waiving jerseys and stuff. Enter Hugo. PIE TO THE FACE.
  3. Kenneth Faried is really good. Let me say that one more time– Kenneth Faried is REALLY good. I don’t know how much better he’ll get, but already he’s a damn fine player.
  4. Gordon didn’t appear to have his legs for a lot of the game. They say that when a player gets tired his shots start falling short. Well, he had more than a few that didn’t get there.
  5. The win still feels good 20 minutes after the game ended. I want to keep this high going at least until tomorrow.



  1. Jason Calmes

    April 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I was in Lot A. You must have been in Lot B.

    I should have known you were a “Lot B-er” . . .

    Next time Eric Gordon returns from surgery after we get him in a Chris Paul trade, it’s favorite ninja turtle weapons at dawn on Monkey Hill. At 20 paces.

    Tick, tick, tick . . .

    I’ll likely pick a bo.

    • Joe Gerrity

      April 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Damnit, I knew we should have clarified this. I’ll take the sword.

      Also, I want Beebob. You can take Rocksteady.

      • Jason Calmes

        April 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

        hmmm . . . how about a key party for the mutant . . . wait, what are we talking about . . .

  2. 504ever

    April 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I thought Kaman was more efficient than normal (6-11 field and 2-3 line) which helped.

    Also, thought Ayon was not himself. Don’t know why; wish I did.

    • coach44

      April 5, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Kids will do that to you.

  3. ImSorryMonty

    April 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Seen a ton of basketball this year. When Gordon is playing up to his potential he’s one of the 15 best. We’d be foolish not to match any offer to him. Let’s see. He creates for himself. He creates for teammates. He draws fouls. Even when he misses on drives defenders are out of position and we get rebounds. His 1v1 D is good. He’s not even close to 100%. Guy is just an incredibly smart player.

    • Jason Calmes

      April 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      that boy good

  4. Tomcat

    April 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Good recap!

    You’re right about Vasquez.

    Leo sucks!

  5. Lucas Ottoni

    April 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Well, I really love Greivis Vasquez. When he is in court, the Hornets play as a team.

    Welcome back, Commissioner Gordon!

    And I hope that tomorrow will not have bad news…

  6. Chuck

    April 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    God you must really hate Leo. Most people at basketball games text and take videos half the time. Games are 48 minutes of play and last for about 2.5 hours, so…that’s a lot of downtime

    • usufruct

      April 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      I never saw Leo look up from his phone, except for 2 seconds when they announced his name. I’m a fan of Leo, but it was pretty lame. It was cool for him to come, but if you’re not going to acknowledge the game, why even go?

  7. clef504

    April 5, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Man it feels good to see what the team can be on an off nite. Couple more pieces plus chemistry. A good offseason and we’re back in contention

  8. Everett

    April 5, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Really pleased with the win and with Gordon’s return. It’s amazing what a difference one elite player can make. In other news, David Stern made some more positive comments today regarding the Hornets’ ownership situation: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7776840/david-stern-says-deal-close-keep-hornets-new-orleans

  9. Ryan

    April 5, 2012 at 2:28 am

    we need a player like the manimal k.faried is a baller

  10. da ThRONe

    April 5, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I thought Gordon was real rusty, but he was much farther along than I expected.

    Good win. However I’m still in favor of blowing this team up over the next year especially this offseason.

  11. Mike W

    April 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Fun to watch the Hornets again with Gordon back. Played very unevenly but Gordon at 50% efficiency is still pretty good. His best was 3rd quarter when they ran pick and roll 3-4 times consecutive.

    BTW I’m not a hockey fan but did anyone else notice Gordon getting several hockey assists last night. His pass led to another pass led to a basket.

    Final note: I live out of market so I had to put up with Denver’s version of an announcing team. Anyone else have to put up with them, too? Big homers and always carping on calls which go against their team.

  12. usufruct

    April 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I thought there were about 8,500 people in the arena, about half-full. One of the worst attended games I’ve ever seen. Just look at the background of the pics above. Pretty weak for Gordon’s return. IMO, they should have played up his return for this weekend.

    • Ryan

      April 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      u must have not been in the arena for the bobcats game that was the worst i ever saw attendance

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