Same Old Story: Lakers Pull Away From Hornets in the Third Quarter

Published: December 5, 2012

We’ve all seen this before: the Hornets keep it close in the first half, but as soon as the whistle blows to start the 3rd period, the game is over. Tonight against the Lakers was no different. The Hornets actually led 48-47 at the break but gave up a 13-0 run to start the 3rd. For a team with it’s two best players sidelined that is tough to come back from.

I’m one of the biggest Monty fans around. We know he can coach defense and I think he’s a very underrated offensive coach, but these terrible 3rd quarters are unacceptable. It’s been a trait of the Hornets team’s over the last two season, and usually this falls on the coach. I’m not pointing fingers yet, but it worth discussing. Anyway, let’s take a look at my 3 things to watch for…


The advanced box score isn’t available yet so I don’t know what the specific number of possessions is. But the Hornets scored 17 fast break points so you can assume it’s faster than Monty wanted. This ties is closely with the next point.


The Hornets lost the turnover battle and finished with 12 turnovers on the night. It’s just free possessions for the opponent.  No one was the main culprit, though Vasquez had 4, which I guess is encouraging. However the Lakers scored 19 points off those 12 turnovers. On the flipside the Hornets scored only 9 points off the Hornets 9 turnovers. The main reason for the high number of Lakers’ points off turnovers is because most of the turnovers occur in the backcourt. As Rivers gains experience this should drop. As for Vasquez, well yeah…


The Hornets did a good job being aggressive inside by putting up 30 points in the paint in the first half but overall they just don’t have the talent to keep up with most teams in the NBA. The Lakers’ defensive rotations were incredibly slow tonight and Anderson and Lopez took as much advantage as they could, but the team desperately needs Gordon to come back.

Other Notes

-Congrats to Kobe for the 30,000 point milestone. However he received multiple ‘star calls’ from the refs on both offense and defense.

-Ryan Anderson is awesome. I have no idea why the Lakers didn’t have World Peace (that’s weird to type) guard him in the first half, but I don’t think it would have mattered. Anderson was going to score no matter what.

-Robin Lopez had a solid first half against Dwight Howard. It wasn’t an Aaron Gray type night, but really, there is only one Aaron Gray. The second half was not so good.

-Jason Smith, Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers combined for 1 point in the first half. Seriously. Rivers shows off his potential nightly, but until he starts to put everything together he will continue to struggle. That being said, the best way for him to learn is simply by playing. If he’s going to make mistakes, this is the perfect season for him to do it.

-Darius Miller has to be in Monty’s doghouse. I cannot understand why Xavier Henry would get 10x as many minutes as him. Henry didn’t play terribly, but I think it’s safe to say we should be looking at other options.

-I officially don’t hate Lance Thomas. I don’t think he’s a good player yet, but I’m starting to see some of his potential. I think he can be a good 10-15 minute player.

Let us know your take on the game in the comments below.



  1. Mike P

    December 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Like you, I’m lost as to why X gets so many minutes.. Monty says he wants him to be a scorer in the league, but X does not have a great handle and forces half of his possessions. Seems to be getting better at hitting his spot-up opps, but color me skeptical. And why should X be our scorer off of the bench anyway? Rivers/Roberts were bad tonight, but I’d rather either running P & Rs than X charging the lane and flailing about.

    Also, it appears the Hornets players are missing a very important piece of information: Ryan Anderson is by far our best offensive player right now.. He is routinely lost in the offense during various game stretches, and there’s no reason for that. He makes sound decisions with the ball, minus his Dirk fadeaway against MWP. I realize he can’t take a shot every possession, but let the guy touch the ball.

    Rivers was shooting 40% at the rim before tonight. Once those looks start falling at a reasonable rate, his game will hit that next step. But he’s caught napping with the ball fairly frequently, and he’s gotta be better about that.

    Jason Smith is definitely off. Are his turnovers coming from his lack of confidence in his shot? He utilized the shot fake well during the start of the season, but I saw him pass up at least a few shots tonight that he’d normally take. Maybe that’s why he’s not getting the room he needs to drive, or maybe it’s because the lane is packed because guys aren’t spacing the floor. Idk.

    Like I said earlier, Roberts shot was off.. but I’m not sure why he’s going iso so often. I know he got a couple of switches, but I just don’t think that’s his game. He had actually split defenders w/ a couple passes two nights ago for open mid-range shots, and I was hoping to see more of that kind of passing out of P & R situations. Guys like Roberts will always have off nights.. not too worried. He is what he is.

  2. xman20002000

    December 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Between watching the second half Hornets and burning rice… LOL… which was more tragic… Rivers is learning but on whose dime.. he is a young deer in the headlights.. Then he tries to guard Kobe Bryant.. Need I say more… Xavier Henry is who he is… I don’t see why he gets to play… You can see the athleticism but JuJu was also an athlete and from the same school…

    But in 21 minutes Rivers has 1 point… Coach who is the kid related to.. Then in 23 minutes Mason has 3 points… And in 19 minutes Mr. Henry has 8 points.. that is the story of our shooting guards… Then at small forward Aminu has 6 in 31 minutes; Miller has none in 2 minutes; and in 13 minutes Lance Thomas has 5 points…

    Two things… we were playing the Lakers and do the math… 22 points for the game from our SF and SG positions… and I don’t see why Mr. Rivers thinks his game is going to the basket… is he afraid of the perimeter…

    Coach needs to tell us how we can beat the Lakers not scoring 100 points…

    • Mike P

      December 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Why would you want Rivers to not get to the basket if he’s handling the ball? That’s fundamental to good basketball. There is no such thing as good offense without players that can score in the paint. He isn’t finishing his chances, but at least he’s getting there.

      • xman20002000

        December 5, 2012 at 11:36 pm

        Yes he gets there and crashes into the seats… LOL.. I am considering his health… New name for Rivers is “Crash King”… Plus he either gets batted down or fails to make a layup…

      • Mike P

        December 6, 2012 at 12:24 am

        I’m not denying that his finishing there has been atrocious, but he’s 20 years old and doesn’t have the dominant physical profile like Westbrook or Rose to finish due to sheer athleticism, so he’s going to have to learn some crafty ways of getting his shot off. He’s going to have to develop an in-between game as well, and he’s shown flashes of doing that with floaters. To pretend like Rivers is anything but a project would be wrong, but I’m not particularly concerned.. I think his first step is very good, he can handle the ball, beat his man off of the dribble, and can kick it out to open shooters. The foundation is there

        Coming into this year, I was more worried about him taking stupid pull-up jumpers like he did in college, and he’s taken very few of those so far. I like the way he attacks and looks for teammates, I like his demeanor on the court, and I like his intensity

  3. Lucas Ottoni

    December 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Austin Rivers = BUST

    He’s terrible! And our team is very weak. It’s a disgrace… I don’t even want to see what happens on Friday against the Grizzlies. We’ll go vexation. One more… There are already two seasons of sorrow. And now we have this terrible news (Pelicans… argh!). When will this nightmare finally end?

    • mojart

      December 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      rivers only played 17 games thus far and you already annointed him a BUST……really?

      • Lucas Ottoni

        December 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

        Rivers is the next Julian Wright. I bet in the first season of Juju you said the same thing: “He’s still young. He’s in development…”. And look what happened…

    • SP

      December 6, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Let’s just pretend we drafted Damien Lillard three years ago – do you think he would have been producing any more than Austin Rivers is right now? Absolutely not. The point of taking Rivers with the 10th pick was to develop him. He is a work-in-progress who would still be in college if it weren’t for the promise he showed at such a young age.

      This team is nowhere near the finished product and neither are most of the players, if you find that so disgraceful maybe you should lend some support to Miami or OKC?

      I personally am excited about New Orleans basketball, Pelicans, Hornets, whatever – this isn’t a time to get frustrated with poor performances, it’s a time to enjoy the transition between a losing team and a contender.

      • Lucas Ottoni

        December 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

        Are you wanting to compare Rivers / Lillard? Is that right? OMG…

  4. xman20002000

    December 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Where is that creep Eric Gordon… Most times I sympathize with his rehab but this is killing us and he isn’t even around… Looks like the problem is this group has hit a ceiling.. And what happens in the 3rd quarter… We come out after halftime with a clean hard drive.. deleting everything we did in the first half…

  5. nolahog

    December 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    At least I won dance cam tonight.

    • Jason Calmes

      December 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm


  6. whichone

    December 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

    rivers is not a bust, too early but for the life of me please explain why, other than the fact that his dad and williams are friends, that he plays? no other rookie with even close to his output, mistakes on defense and just overall “what the heck am I doing out here look” would even sniff the court. He’s bad, really bad. In my lifetime of watching the nba, as bad as any lottery pick guard has been in a long time! But the real issue is like the earlier comment. Why isn’t miller playing? plus, this team and right now its coach seem to care less about winning basketball. He puts two point guards on the floor, both of who look to shoot first. Roberts dribbles until the shot clock runs down and shoots, and Vasq?? wow, miller seems to be the only one interested in getting others the ball. To his own detriment it seems……..Back to rivers. I’d like to see that stat man who has him shooting anywhere close to 40%. He was like 1-7 two games ago with 5 airballs, yes blocked shots count as airballs to me and 1-6 or 0-5 something like that tonight? This isn’t duke! If he can’t produce, sit him!

    • Mike P

      December 6, 2012 at 1:14 am

      I didn’t actually say 40% altogether, I said 40% at the rim, which is actually less impressive lol. I meant that that is an extremely low percentage and I don’t expect that to continue. A raise in his effectiveness at the rim would have a material effect on his overall percentage, because a good bit of his shots come at the rim.

    • macs21

      December 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Yeah.. Sit the guy who we want to develop as our primary ball handler on offence when we have no better options to replace him with..

      Great idea.

      That’ll work out well in the long term when he gains 15 pounds of muscle but can still get to the basket better than most pointguards but hasn’t been able to figure out what he needs to improve on to finish at the rim through trial and error.

      They should hire you as an assistant coach.

      Or maybe a GM. Clearly you understand developing talent and how learning through experience can lead to better draftin position and a more talented roster in the long term

  7. Ken

    December 6, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Monty seems to be making the same mistake with Miller that he has made in the past. Specifically, I am referring to his decision to play Bellenelli over Thornton. In both instances he chose to play the less talented player. In the NBA a coach can’t afford to do that and be successful.

    • td25t

      December 6, 2012 at 9:33 am


  8. The Octagon

    December 6, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I think part of the issue with the atrocious 3rd quarters the hornets are experiencing is that teams are using the half time break to make adjustments and take away from what is usually an effective first half offense. The hornets on the other hand, because they are still in the game or leading at half time, come out with a ‘keep doing what we’ve been doing approach’ Other coaches obviously drill into their team the hornets aren’t good enough to keep the solid play up and the players burst away with fresh adjustments. Any in game adjustments Monty makes in the 2nd half are too late as they are caught out

    • 504ever

      December 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

      I don’t think the problem is adjustments as much as the Hornet’s limited backcourt talent. The Hornet’s backcourt just can’t guard the 3 pt. line, and no amount of coaching can change that. So in no way am I blaming Monty for an atrocious lack of backcourt talent. That isn’t his fault.

      Here is what I see as the problem last night; 71% of scoring from just three players (Anderson, Lopez, and Vasquez) which is way too much, Henry 4th leading scorer (with 8 points), Lance 6th leading scorer (and nearly 5th leading scorer with 5 points), and Mason, Smith, Roberts, Rivers, and Miller combine for 6 points (same amount as Aminu).

      Again this points to a lack of talent (especially in the backcourt) that will take time to fix, likely by improving some players and replacing others.

  9. mateor

    December 6, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Those 3rd quarters…the Hornets are like the reverse LSU football team, who year after year go into the half close and then demolish teams in the third.

    And for the same reason— depth. LSU grinds weaker teams down while the Hornets run out of steam/luck. The Lakers have no bench either…but their starters have 40 mins of quality basketball a piece. The hornets have one active player with those many effective minutes a night.

  10. champsworld504

    December 6, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Watching these games w/o Gordon and Davis should show you how much further we have to go to be a real contender. Rivers will get better, 2nite he was thrown into the deep end and was told sink or swim. Plus he had to check Kobe, good luck w/ that rook. My God, Vasquez looked so unathletic out there 2nite. The man was playing at his max and it looked average. Dwight Howard laughed at Xavier Henry at the free throw line, it’s over for him. Pull the plug and let Miller sink or swim.
    Brian Roberts should be in the D-League right now, but with us he gets major minutes, enough said. Aminu is on the verge of getting less money than his rookie deal from us if he doesn’t show anything worth a damn.
    Lopez is who he is. Hustlers like J. Smith and Thomas always play hard, but limited in skills. No problem w/ that but right now they gotta play like stars while Davis is injured and that sure as hell won’t happen consistantly.
    That salary cap space we’ll have after this season better get us some athletes, not “young piecs aka cheap talent”. Geaux Hornets

  11. NOEngineer

    December 6, 2012 at 6:57 am

    The main reasons we lost: nobody but Ryan can shoot, and both Bryant and Howard got “star calls” almost all night. Smith and Ryan got hammered many times down low without a whistle, while Howard uses his off arm to throw guys around and then gets a foul called in his favor. The “blocking” foul against Anderson was a joke. We should have been up 10 at half, not 3. As you pointed out, Ryan touched the ball once or maybe twice in that 13-0 run to start the 3rd.

    Miller has shown only one skill which is the corner 3. We can’t get anyone the ball in the corner. He needs to do something with the few minutes he gets. Thornton did….

  12. LLHOPS

    December 6, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Beyond strange that Miller doesn’t get more PT especially in these blowouts. Concerning Rivers – he has that great first step but once he gets to the basket he cannot finish, probabaly due to lack of a NBA body at this stage of his career. Makes me wonder why he doesn’t shoot the 12-15 footer once he gets by the defender. Finally Jake makes a good point about Monty’s coaching coming out of the halftime break. Someone needs to take responsibility for these awful 3rd periods.

  13. Durtcizzle

    December 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Maybe it’s blind loyalty but I’m still believing this team will get better in the long run. We still have a long way to go but a long time to get there. We just have to be patient.

  14. xman20002000

    December 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Thank God we are early in the season in this the post NBA ownership… We dumped our big contract veterans last season starting this season with major turnovers in personnel… It’s difficult for both fans and our Coach to hit the floor without Unibrow and Eric Gordon a potential 40 points plus defense.. NO FURTHER COMMENT… what else can we say…

  15. Chris

    December 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

    You could see this result coming at the end of the first half. Oh well. We are missing two of our top players. Guys like Henry, Roberts, and Rivers are being asked to be much bigger contributors than they usually would be. Can’t expect to be able to hang with a team with both Kobe and Dwight, and a very comfortable Antwan Jameson.

    All that being said, this game was very winnable and shows that at full strength this team will be very competitive. This is just part of the rebuilding process. Like others have said, going through this will make it so much more gratifying when this team is up there with the top teams in the NBA.

    Also, Anderson is easily becoming my favorite player on this team. Don’t know if his output will diminish a bit when Davis and Gordon finally return but he can easily be part of a “big 3” once we are at full strength. He is like Peja except he is younger and is much better in the paint and under the basket. He also just seems like a very likeable guy. Really looking forward to watching him for years to come. He will be a major part when this team is really contending.

  16. whichone

    December 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

    The problem isn’t the talent, the problem is the philosophy. Here’s what we have. Starters, Anderson-shoot first forward, decent defender, nice on the off boards because again, it’s a shot, not so great on the def board. Should be a shot first guy and one of the best shooters in the league. Mason-shoot first guy, hard player but there’s a reason he’s where he is 10 years into the league. Has trouble when forced to put it on the floor. Aminu-shoot first forward. Attacks the rim very nicely but plays no defense, makes no plays for anyone else and takes bad shots! Lopez-I have no complaints. Does his job as a team player. Battles every night without complaint. But again, shoot first player who I can’t remember more than twice this year has ever passed out of the post? Vasquez-shoot first point. Don’t let the assist fool you. He constantly seeks his shot. I heard one commentator say this kid shoots more than chris paul?? So, out of the first 5, all are shoot first guys. All but one are limited on defense and none go onto the floor thinking my teammate first! One comment said that williams has a history of playing this player over a better player. This in and of itself is bad enough but you couple that with the fact that he night in and night out lets his team play a style that anyone with a hint of basketball IQ knows cannot win in this league, well, that’s just silly!

    • macs21

      December 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      How can you call someone who takes 8.5 shots a game shoot first..

      And Anderson has to be shoot first, hes our main offensive option. Still only takes 14.5 shots a game. Not many for a #1 option. Does have a TS notrth of 60 though which is HUGE on that volume of shots.
      Vasquez takes 12 shots a game and has 9 assists. Sure, he takes more shots than he gets assists, but funny thing in the NBA. Every shot is counted in the box score where every pass is not..

      Our problem is definitely not that we take too many shots. it’s that a large % of those shots, only really offset by Vasquex and Anderson (and to an extent Lopez) are bad shots. Because without EG and Davis we don’t have the talent or athleticism to get good high % looks. It’s wrong to call Vasquez a shoot first point guard, he’s 5th in the league in APG in 32 mpg and led the NCAA in apg so he’s clearly looking to pass. However, the quality of his assists is probably relatively low compared to the other guys leading the league in apg coz he’s not as atheltic or quick and he can’t set his team mates up for open looks by constantly penetrating and causing the d to collapse like an elite PG.

      Getting 9 apg with one efficient scorer on the court is downright amazing.

  17. whichone

    December 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    wow, if i only had the time to dissect all that is wrong with your statement “How can you call someone who takes 8.5 shots a game shoot first..”

    I’m guessing you never played college or pro ball mac? the easy explanation would be, that if you took only 3 shots and all of those shots were of the shoot first variety. Even 3 shots would be considered shoot first shots. if you want to look at the numbers, check the assist ration based on attempts for the team, how they are coming and when, who has them. I could have 5 assist in the league and all 5 come from me doing everything wrong team wise, throwing a pass to a teammate after doing all of those things wrong, and him bailing me out by hitting a shot lol. wow

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