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?

 

18 comments
Hornetsky
Hornetsky

Hornets are fish off the tank.

Mike wr
Mike wr

Watching the Cavs wrap it up vs NY. Yes, 21!

Nithenz
Nithenz

Felt soooo dirty wanting the Rockets to win this one so i could root against the Clips... but anyway, it was a great game, and hope Sac and Cle to win against Cha and Was. Sac has the tiebreaker over us but we have it over Cle. if we win Sunday, Sac and Cle will finish 1-2 at best for a 3 team tie...

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

There are no tiebreakers when it comes to the lotto. It comes down to a coin toss. God forbid we can just know where we stand at the end of the year, you know the Hornets are going to drag out this process farther than necessary as well. I call tails.

Jeff
Jeff

Michael, I think you're confusing the NFL, which can be settled by a coin toss and the NBA. In the NBA, tied teams each get the average number of balls for the spots they occupy.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Mike has it. Teams are sorted by record. Tied teams are pooled to have equal chances, and 'a coin is flipped'. This 'coin flip' has 2 effects. One is the winner is assigned any combinations that can't be evenly divided. Second, the winner gets the higher pick if the teams fail to hit on one of the top 3. I use quotes because I do not know the procedure if more than two teams are tied. It's likely something very similar.

LaNative
LaNative

As a huge CP3 fan, but a bigger Hornets fans I'm saying can the game. I was satisfied that the Suns squeaked by tonight. However, I feel very strongly about our chances in the lottery. No David Stern didn't tell me anything (lol, cause that is funny), but I just have that feeling. #hornetsontherise#

Chuck
Chuck

At this point I'd rather lose the rest of the games and lock in the 3rd spot, not for a higher chance to get AD (it's unlikely no matter if we finish 3rd, 4th, or 5th) but because I want MKG if we can't get AD and I'm confident he'll be top 3.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Fun game tonight. BTW Joe Gerrity has zero basketball skills. I could beat him 1 on 1 with my left hand only lol. It was hilarious, especially at 1st but loved the way he bounced back for a nice finish.

Hornet
Hornet

Lose for the rest of the year. I only wanted to win tonight and tonight only so that we could give the fans a positive ending to the season going into next year. Sacramento gets to play the Bobcats soon, and Cleveland gets Washington. Getting the clear cut 3rd seed isn't out of the question still. Hopefully we're smart enough to rest Gordon some more and sit out Jason too. We need to stay in the top 3. It's way too risky to fall down even more.

diehard hornet from brazil
diehard hornet from brazil

nice win, the gods of the lottery will smile to us and i take a win over CP3 any day... forget about this late-tanking-try.. we're meant to win the lottery anyway, david stern told me the other day

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Win.

SP
SP

Some fairly interesting stats about the draft lottery since the 1000 lotto balls were introduced in 1999 (courtesy of wikipedia): Only ONCE has the team with the WORST record and a 25% chance of taking the 1st overall pick has won the lottery (also one occasion where a team with a tied-worst record and a 22.5% chance won the lottery). Only ONCE has the team with the SECOND WORST record and a 17.7% chance of taking the 1st overall pick has won the lottery. TWICE has the team with the THIRD WORST record and a 15.7% chance of taking the first overall pick has won the lottery. The FOURTH WORST record has NEVER won the lottery since the 1000 ball draw in 1999. The FIFTH WORST record has won the lottery THREE TIMES since 1999. The point of these stats is that it's a lottery and no matter where you sit in the standings, there's a better chance of you losing the draft than winning it. While it's nice to get as many ping pong balls for the lottery as possible, it should never put a sour taste in the mouth of Hornets fans after a great team win. It's a lottery and you've gotta be in it win it, so enjoy this one Hornet fans, we're in the running for a number 1 pick just as much as any team (despite what statistics may have you believe)!

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

It is not about the first pick, as much as it is about how far the team can fall if they don't get a top 3 pick. If the Hornets would have just lost out, they were practically guaranteed a top 5 pick to pair with #10. Now, they are in real danger of getting the 7th pick in a 5-6 man draft. The top 6 are a virtual lock, all that is left to be determined is the order. Davis, MKG, Robinson, Beal, Drummond, and Barnes will be the top 6 players taken and the drop off is noticeable after that. A win over Houston this late is not worth the chance on missing out on the top two tiers.

SP
SP

Totally agree Jason, statistics and probability are obviously far more important than what's occurred in the previous lotteries. The point I was trying to make was that often in these rebuilding years, fans and analysts can lose sight of what's important for the team moving forward. I agree that losing every game after the all-star break (which the bobcats pretty much did) would have helped our lottery odds dramatically, but when high picks come at the cost of developing a losing culture, teams like the Washington Wizards are born. And we're better than that.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Yes, though I don't see the help as dramatic as some see it. One can harp on the truth that 25% is over twice as likely as 12% or whatever, but getting the top pick is never the most likely outcome without at least 3 lottery entries, and then only certain ones, not all combinations of 3. Also, whatever our chances are at getting Davis, they'll never have been higher than 25% + Minnesota contribution, which will be capped at 2% at this point. The higher pick also sets a floor for how far we can fall, but we are still very likely to have a top 5 pick, which will net us a good player, if the direct choice of which one we get. I just don't see this as a sound plan for business. I view the lottery as a bonus, and look to the guys hired to idendity, attract, and develop the team to do just that. Assests from the lottery are just a bonus that one needs to be prepared for. I, however, am in the minority, which I'm used to.