Hornets fall to three point barrage again

Published: November 21, 2012

The Hornets came out and gave it their all tonight, fighting hard against a tough defense that wasn’t giving an inch.  Despite that, the Hornets held an advantage almost all game until the Pacers spread the floor, their shooters got red hot, and the Hornets fell in overtime.

I need to start this by saying I am not blaming Robin Lopez for this loss.  He fought hard, he did everything he was asked to do.  That said, I don’t ever, ever, ever want to see him as the featured go to guy down the stretch in a close game.  He was running the middle pick and roll with Vasquez all night, and did fine (3-17 FG, 15-17 FTs, 21 pts) but when things got tight at the end, he couldn’t hold the ball or got blocked and that generated breaks that led to early offense and open threes as people scrambled to cover.  Again, this isn’t Lopez’s fault.  He shouldn’t have been asked to be that guy.

Happily, it normally won’t be him – it will be Anthony Davis.  You and I both know that is an entirely different ball game.

Outside of that, Lopez did a fine job guarding Hibbert and crashed the boards harder than he had in weeks.

Perimeter Defense

Just once, I’d like to see a game where the Hornets aren’t on the receiving end of a career night from three.  That, of course, could be helped by competent rotations.  Those did not exist tonight, and NO ONE is absolved from the blame.  The guards were the designated double team players for a lot of the night, and while Aminu would shade to help on their guy, from that point on everything broke down.   Either one of three things would happen:

  • The guard who double teamed would simply not get to the guy in the corner fast enough.  This is simply poor footspeed.  The lack of athleticism at the edges is hurting.
  • The guard who double teamed had a mis-communication with the other guard and ran to the wrong cover.  This smacks of poor preparation and poorer execution.  These rotations should be second nature.
  • The guard who double teamed ran into a screen set by a big to protect the corner shooter and when trapped, the Hornet’s big, who was now free, did not attempt to run out to the guy in the corner.  Lopez was particularly awful in this respect.

The result?  Open corner threes – which is the most efficient shot in the NBA.  Monty needs to start drilling this into their heads, or we’ll see this again and again.

Other observations

  • Rivers is getting more penetration, but he needs to develop the strength to finish more consistently.  He also needs that strength because he was being tossed like a salad by the Pacers stronger guards.  They just kept throwing Sam Young and Paul George and even the smallish Lance Stephenson at him and he couldn’t handle it.
  • The Pacers like to turn the ball over.  The Hornets once again failed to take advantage of this, forcing a pathetic 8 turnovers in an overtime game.  The lack of speed at the edges strikes again.
  • Ryan Anderson hit all five of his threes, but the Pacers did a great job keeping him from breaking free very often.
  • In fact, the battle between him and West was downright ugly.  West started the game by throwing an elbow into Anderson’s stomach on a post up, and the physicality was on from there.  While Anderson’s scoring numbers were superior, West dished five assists and Anderson fouled out in the end and wasn’t available to stretch the floor in the overtime.  That hurt.
  • Nothing is sadder than an Aminu isolation.  He just dribbles it out of bounds or off his foot all the time.  And he knows how bad it is.  The ball goes off his foot and he just stands there looking like someone shot his puppy.  I can’t even get angry at the guy.
  • Tyler Hansbrough is the most spastic player I’ve ever seen.  When he’s trying to post up, he’s bouncing on the balls of his feet, wiggling his knees, throwing his shoulders back, and generally vibrating.  It’s exhausting just to watch.  And, of course, it’s generally all for nothing.  The Pacers announcers compared him to Jason Smith as an energy guy.  Sure, Smith . . . if Smith had no touch, no strength, no timing, and little feel for the game.
  • It was shocking the difference in the Pacers defense when Paul George left and Gerald Green stepped on the court.  Gerald was beaten off the dribble once by Austin Rivers, once by Aminu, three times by Vasquez.  George snuffed all of them regularly.
  • Would any of you trade Darren Collison for Ian Mahinmi?  McNamara, he’s your boy . . . you doing that trade?

Hornets are now 3-7 and headed to Phoenix.



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