Suns Erase Massive Deficit, Defeat Hornets in Overtime

Published: November 23, 2012

Suns bench provides spark that Hornets reserves can’t match in 111-108 loss

Midway through the third quarter, the Hornets were rolling. Ryan Anderson had just connected on his fourth three pointer and the Hornets had a commanding 69-53 lead. At that point, Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry did something that Monty Williams can’t do- he inserted bench players capable of improving his teams’ chance of winning. PJ Tucker, Luis Scola, and Sebastian Telfair highlighted a unit that was on the floor for the majority of a 43-16 run that completely swung the momentum and turned the game around.

The descrepencies between the benches was clearly the difference tonight. While Phoenix’s backups contributed 50 points, the Hornets reserves only chipped in 16. You saw it at the end of the game, when PJ Tucker grabbed an offensive rebound with 5 seconds left and drained two free throws to seal the victory. Meanwhile, Monty was shorthanded. No Davis, no Gordon, and Jason Smith played just 32 seconds- leaving with a scratched cornea in the second quarter.

The Hornets gunner off the bench, Ryan Anderson was forced to start tonight due to the Davis injury and saying that he was fantastic would be underselling his performance. He finished the night with 34 points on just 23 shots and was 8 of 13 from deep. He also seemed to come up with every key rebound, finishing with 11, and played great pick and roll defense. Several times he switched with Vasquez and had no problem staying in front of Goran Dragic.

Nights like this hurt, there is no way around it. This team is struggling right now and looking at the schedule provides us with legitimate reason to fear that this slide will continue. But a performance like this is something to build upon. Ryan Anderson is only 24 and he is locked up for the next four years. The Suns put us down tonight, but there will be brighter days.

Notes and Observations

– As good as Anderson’s P&R defense was tonight, I can’t help but note how terrible Lopez’s was in this game. In fact, Phoenix recognized this midway through the overtime and stopped running the pick and roll with Morris and started running it with Lopez’s man, Jermaine O’Neal. The result was multiple Hornets having to come and help, including Anderson, leaving Morris open for a three that was essentially the dagger.

– Not to pick on Lopez, but he made Jermaine O’Neal look like a 22 year old tonight. This is O’Neal’s 16th year in the league and he has had over a dozen surgeries, yet he looked fleet footed next to Lopez on both ends of the court.

– Al Farouq Aminu had a great game, all things considered, but a couple of those turnovers in the half court were just brutal. I don’t know what goes through his head sometimes. The guy has a hard enough time dribbling in a straight line when no defenders are around him, and he thinks he is going to go behind his back in between two defenders in overtime- Really? I love you Chief, but please, don’t ever dribble in traffic. Ever.

– Ryan Anderson was the hottest player on the planet tonight and he didn’t touch the ball until the two teams were three and a half minutes into overtime. I am not saying he didn’t shoot, I am saying he literally didn’t touch the ball despite the fact that he was hitting anything and everything. That can’t happen.

– Vasquez has an ability to be both fantastic and frustrating in the same game. If you look at his stat line, it is beyond brilliant. 25 points on just 13 shots and 14 assists is amazing. But you can’t overlook the 6 turnovers and the fact that he just couldn’t get this team a good look in overtime. He overdribbles and simply can’t turn the corner half of the time on the pick and roll, which forces him to set back up and eat some more clock. When that happens, it leads to Robin Lopez 15 footers that richocet off the top of the backboard. Nobody wants that.

– Austin Rivers came off the bench tonight and I felt like he played with a lot more energy than usual. 16 minutes might be a little low for him, but as I noted in my game preview, the Suns are not a good matchup for him and Mason’s three-point shooting made more sense against this Phoenix team.

– Jason Smith has a scratched left cornea. He should be able to play on Sunday, which means the team will be cautious and he will be out for a month.

– This was a great matchup for Lance Thomas and I was happy to see him get some playing time. He can’t do this every night, but against soft front lines, he can be productive as he will simply outwork them.

– Was really surprised that the Hornets weren’t more productive on the offensive boards tonight. Only 6. Phoenix is one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. 18 turnovers and only 6 offensive rebounds results in your opponent shooting more than you. The Suns took 12 more shots than us tonight, which is why we could go 40-78 overall and 13-26 from deep and still lose.

– This one hurts. Let’s start the healing process! Everyone, chime in below



    November 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I actually felt sorry for Lopez when his shot went over the backboard in the 4th quarter. The Hornets have no backup point guard. Roberts has a nice mid-range shot but he cannot run an offense. I’m most surprised at how much worst the Hornets defense looks this year compared to last years merry-go-round of players on their roster. Having said all that, at least they competed the last 2 games. I was at the Knicks game and they had no effort at all.

  2. Mike

    November 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I had to smoke a kool after the damn lost!!!

  3. Josh

    November 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    That was an interesting game: up, down, up, down. I hated that big flop by Dragic. You can’t count that as a turnover against Greivis. I’m really eager to see the first Hornets game with the preaseason projected starting lineup since February 2011!I believe.

    • LLHOPS

      November 23, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      You will have to wait awhile for that. Look for the big EG micro-fracture surgery to be anounced in mid-December.

      • sweetpea

        November 24, 2012 at 6:49 am

        That’s cool; that’ll give Eric more time to watch the Colts and Hoosiers, and figure out how to spend that $58 milion.

  4. JayDogon

    November 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    PJ Tucker is all I have to say…. From that end of the 3rd Quarter stepback 3 (If he doesn’t hit that we win in regulation) to that CRUCIAL rebound off the stop at the end of the game SMH. At least I wasn’t totally shocked by him and left asking “WHO?!?” thanks to the Suns podcast yesterday so there’s that…… This team is a healthy Eric Gordon knee away! *Shakes Fist Angrily* Geaux Hornets

  5. Melvin E

    November 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    1. Henry/Mason on ball defense is atrocious.
    2. Lance is a good “spurt” player any playing time longer than 5-10 minutes at a time he becomes a liability.
    3. Roberts rarely if ever runs the half court offense, when he’s running point we don’t innate the offense until its under 10sec in the shot clock and its usually a high pick n roll with him shooting a mid range jumper/ can’t win with your backup pg playing that way.
    4. Lopez and Aminu should not be on the court when its winning time on the offensive end. Monty needs to go offense/defense bring in any combo of players Rivers/Miller/ or even Roberts has to create mismatches.

    • Ryan Schwan

      November 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      I think the key here is that Lopez normally would not be on the floor during crunch time. When he has had them healthy, Monty has played Davis or Smith.

      • Melvin E

        November 24, 2012 at 12:09 am

        Okay what about Aminu he excels in transition but end of a game I would much rather have any of the names mentioned above who are capable of hitting a shot instead of him, they have to get that valuable crunch time experience.

  6. Ying Sun

    November 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I’m honestly beginning to doubt Monty. At the end of the game, Vasquez’s pick and rolls are useless. There is no secondary option to the offense except a post-up for Lopez (top of backboard) or a reset of the pick and roll (shot-clock violations).

    And while Rivers is terrible on defense, Mason is equally useless. At least put Rivers/Roberts on to have some secondary dribble drive. I can’t watch another game like this.

    And what the hell, Aminu and Mason on the floor together guarantees 0 half-court production.

    • Chuck

      November 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

      In Monty’s defense, we’re missing our best offensive player in Gordon and our third best in Davis. And Jason Smith got hurt midway. Take away 3 of the top 5 players from ANY team and they’ll struggle offensively.

      Also, would just like to point out that I turned the game off with like 8 minutes left when we went down 8, then was shocked to turn it back on and see OT. So our guys showed some heart making a nice comeback.

    • mateor

      November 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      I think that what Monty is doing is absolutely tremendous. After those atrocious blow-outs? To have competitive games with actual NBA-caliber teams?

      The Hornets have 1 active players who should be starting on an NBA roster. Lopez should be topping at 20 mins a night max. I think that these boys are showing a ton of heart.

  7. No engineer

    November 24, 2012 at 12:36 am

    O’Neal looked fleet of foot because he averaged 5 or 6 seconds in the paint. He camped out unless they had the paint empty for 3-point spread. Why was Lopez on court with 0.9 seconds to shoot????????

  8. Jordan J.

    November 24, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I lol’ed at the Jason Smith being out a month joke. It’s so true. It seems like every time a player gets a bruise or scratch they end of sitting out for weeks.

    I really wish Al-Farouq could handle the ball better. That would make him so much more dangerous. I don’t understand how he can be this far into his professional career at the Small Foward position and still not have a decent handle that he so desperately needs. Not even a good one! Just enough to make a few simple moves. Right now he can’t do anything.

    • JayDogon

      November 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Aminu’s handle isn’t really the problem, it’s improved and he actually pleasantly surprises me with it every once in a while like when he used it to drop that sick dime to Lopez in the first quarter, his problem is using it trying to do too much with it at times.

      • Jordan J.

        November 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm

        That would be a pass which would have nothing to do with his handle. I’m talking about dribbling the basketball, which he is completely inept at.

  9. 504ever

    November 24, 2012 at 2:36 am

    In addition to being without Gordon, Davis, and Smith (except for 32 seconds), Miller didn’t play. That’s four guys plus the Carroll roster spot. We need to fill the Carroll roster spot ASAP. Guard candidates anyone?

    I wish I knew why Miller didn’t play.

    I wish I knew why doesn’t Anderson start: his offense is too good, or his (post) defense is too good.

    Overall, liked what I saw out of Mason and Henry. I expect to see Rivers minutes around this level for a while, and both Mason and Henry to benefit. Rivers was not the answer in most previous games (and may still be injured).

    Soon close games like this will be wins. Until we get our players back, this is what we will see more of. Despite the loss, there were a lot of positives here.

    P.S. I think we need to cut the EZ Men, Vasquez and Lopez, some slack. On the Vasquez’s turnovers: he isn’t a true PG and did so many other things well tonight, especially on the offensive end. Lopez is performing so much better than expected, and was put in positions that showed his weakness because of injuries to Davis and Smith (and Lopez still fought all night). The EZ Men are clearly part of the Hornets long term plans, although ideally playing fewer minutes.

    • IsThisYourHomeworkLarry

      November 24, 2012 at 5:40 am

      So it’s late and I’m drunk but Im a big Hornets fan and I watched this entire game and I feel the need to chime in: RA should be taking at a minimum 37 shots a game. Grevis is better than I thought, so is Roger (announcers keep confusing me with AFA and it’s starting to make me uncomfortable) Mason, but the truth is that neither one of them will be on this team two years from now. We need to put Rivers at the point either to start the game or off the bench, right now, he literally looks like me when I play pick-up at the 24Hour Fitness, standing around the perimeter waiting for someone to throw me the rock so I can do my thing every fifth possession.

      • Kimbro_slice

        November 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        100% agree I felt Rivers barely got any touches. If we are grooming him to be the PG of the future, why doesn’t he actually do a majority of the ball handling for the second unit. Roberts can play the 2 and do what he does best and score.

  10. Nithenz

    November 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

    First of all, it was unbelieveable the shots Ryan hit tonight, that 3 with 90 secs to go that he pushed Scola and leaned back at the front of the key….that was a beauty! had to rewind it several times, cant stoped watching it! I have been pretty frustrated with one thing i havent seen anyone complain about: As much as i want Greivis to succed, He and Monty seems to have no idea what a 2×1 is. In Milwaukee game with 3X seconds left and we 4 down, he ran the clock down to 22 seconds….Havent seen a 2 for 1 opportunity at any en of quarter/half/game in any game i can remember this season. That is a fault on Vazquez as well as Monty’s. I kept saying to myself that we should have won that game for Anderson career night, but as said in the recap, when the hottest hand in the universe (at least for 90 minutes last night!) doesnt even touch the ball in the first 3 minutes of overtime… not much to do.

  11. J

    November 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    We’re tanking these HornAints stink bad we need someone in the front office that can make this team a success like Phil Jackson because this team needs help.You can’t rebulid within the draft anymore you’ve to get free agents and make clever trades.Some of you will call me a troll which is childish we’re grown men with opinions and calling someone a troll is weak,nerdy and so stupid.

  12. Ben

    November 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Before we freak out about how we won’t go anywhere, check this out:
    L 87-98
    L 77-89
    W 88-85
    L 83-96
    L 97-104
    L 85-89
    L 99-107
    L 92- 109
    L 106-116
    L 85-110
    L 89-100
    These are the Thunder’s first 11 games in 2008-09 after they drafted Westbrook. I’m using this season because the Thunder had the superstar in Durant (in his second season by the way, while Davis is in his first), and they had just drafted a second star in Westbrook while we hopefully have a second star in Gordon or Rivers. And lastly, the next offseason they would add their third piece in Harden while we will add our missing piece next offseason. They started out 1-10 and 3 years later they were in the finals.

  13. Andres

    November 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Lopez has always been terrible, he’s a 7 footer that averages just above 5 rebouds per game while destroying the offensive flow and earning 5M per yr

  14. ImSorryMonty

    November 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Rivers is still head and above our best backup PG. I don’t get it. They want him to play point but with EG out he can’t get any minutes at the spot? This is the time to let him figure it out and grow up. He sees the floor better than Mason or Roberts by a mile.

    • CarnbY

      November 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      I agree completely, also Roberts is so much better as a pure shooter. The problem is our backcourt would be tiny, so it would have to be in pretty limited spurts.

  15. Chris

    November 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Ryan Anderson is the best Hornets player right now and he has to start. When Davis gets back i would rather play without Lopez. Greivis Vasquez has improved a lot giving the fact that he is not a true point guard he plays extremely wel.
    Rivers is not ready but needs experience. Robin Lopez should come off the bench.
    Starting Five: Vasquez PG Rivers SG Aminu SF Anderson PF Davis C

  16. Hank

    November 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    If rhino could lock up that fade away dirk midrange over the summer his offensive game would be dirty. also vasquez needs to learn how to run the play before there 12 seconds left on the shot clock. way too many forced shots and bad turnovers because the shot clock is running down

  17. MZURK

    November 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Starting Roger Mason, a player who is in his 10th year in the league and definitely not part of our “bright” future”, and cutting Rivers’ minutes, is a sign that Monty is getting a little bit desparate to win a game.

  18. loudlikepat

    November 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    If davis is still day-to-day for the next three days, I’m going to be convinced that monty is tanking. Lol

  19. mojart

    November 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    all i can say is…….30+ minutes for roger mason????really?are u kidding me….austin rivers need to play in those crucuial part of the game….if the hornets really want him to groom as a very good player he should be playing at those instances…..i want to see AR decision making in that kind of situation….overall i love the effort….but we really need to sign a PG… can we get the machado kid out of houston…he is playing in the D-league…can we sign him straight or we need to trade for him

    one thing also….we need a veteran to teach and guide our young kids and we sign roger mason….why not we go after michael redd?

  20. Anthony

    November 24, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    We have one of the best starting fives in the league on paper. Too bad they are all made of paper. 🙁

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