Hornets play spoiler, defeat Rockets, tie for 3rd worst record

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Published: April 19, 2012

The Hornets earn their 20th win of the season as they defeat the Rockets in overtime.  It was a damn good game, but the treads are off the tank now, and my stomach hurts a little.

Michael McNamara is probably sobbing into his pillow right now, stifling screams of “Why?  Whyyyyyyy?!?”  The reason, of course, is the Hornets moved into a three way tie with Cleveland and Sacramento for the third least wins on the season.  Both of us felt pretty secure in the fact the Hornets had locked down that third worst record two weeks ago, so this must be crushing to his unibrow dreams.

That all said, the game was fun.  The Hornets weathered a murderous barrage of threes in the first quarter and just kept working hard, made adjustments at half time, and rode several strong performances to the 105-99 win in overtime.

Observations

  •  The Hornets are now 6-2 when Gordon plays, and tonight Snake Eyes was at his penetrating best, earning 10 free throws en route to 27 points.  He also had two of my top 5 plays of the game – an alley-oop he threw from the half-court line to a streaking Al-Farouq, and a clean dig-steal of Goran Dragic, where he simply reached in and took his dribble.  Those kinds of steals are rare, and I simply love them.
  • The Hornets actually started the game calling plays on the opposite side of the court from Gordon, using him as a decoy and instead setting Aminu up to attack the Rockets rookie Chandler Parsons.  I think having those plays called for him like that must have stoked Aminu’s confidence because he rarely hestitated to let fly tonight and ended with a nice 17-8-2-2 with no turnovers.
  • Gustavo Ayon bounced back from a string of underwhelming games recently and in 22 minutes posted a 9-10-4-1-1 before fouling out.  In fact, he was playing so hard (the CST guys said Luis Scola was Ayon’s idol, so that could be it) that Monty  used him in crunch time, and he had three big passes in the paint for easy points by Landry and Aminu.  He also drilled a key sixteen footer to keep the game tied. Stellar performance.
  • Carl Landry was finishing inside against the undersized Rockets with panache.  He  finished with 20 points on 13 shots and a pretty surprising 10 boards.
  • One of the best moments of the game was when Landry finished a layup while being fouled and Belinelli popped up off the bench and did Landry’s flexing routine for him.
  • Really, other than Henry, most Hornets had a good game tonight.  Xavier must have buttered his hands before the game.
  • Dyson followed his big game with a lot of misses at the rim – but his aggressiveness kept the Rockets defense from settling and allowed several easy putbacks.
  • Victor Howe’s main question postgame to Gordon was one asking what happened when he missed the last shot of regulation.  C’mon Victor.  They just won, don’t call him out for missing the game-winner.
  • Ayon needs to learn when to flop.  He gets hit now, but just takes it and looks at the refs.  If he’d wave his arms around a little when it happened, he might get some of those calls.
  • Jason Smith took a blow to the face and looked pretty shaken up.  With his concussion earlier in the season, the Hornets took no risks and pulled him out immediately.

That’s it for home games this season.   Hornets play CP3 Sunday.  Which would you prefer – a win against CP3, or a loss to help us keep from passing Cleveland and Sacramento?