Hornets drop game to Wolves despite Rivers’ 27

Published: December 14, 2012

The Wolves were the worst shooting three-point team in the league, then they met the Hornets.

The Hornets offense was in pretty good shape all game long – but defensively they played like the worst defensive team in the league.  Andrei Kirilenko got no less than five back door cuts directly to the hoop.  Vasquez, collapsing into the paint to contain the constantly diving forwards, repeatedly failed to get back to his man on the perimeter and gave up open shots.  Robin Lopez was pushed around all night, and when forced to defend a pick and roll couldn’t contain or recover.  Combine that with Aminu getting caught watching the ball rather than his man on multiple possessions and Brian Roberts getting torched by Barea,  (surprised by this) and the Hornets couldn’t stop anything.

Pekovic was simply a man among boys out there and the only Hornets to give him any resistance were Ryan Anderson, who battled gamely, and Anthony Davis, who got pushed around like Lopez, but could at least contest the bullet-headed big man with his length, fast hands, and athleticism.  Davis was the best center the Hornets had out there – and Monty recognized it, getting him back in at the end of the game after being forced to give him a brief rest through the middle of the fourth.  He probably wouldn’t have even rested Davis for that section, but Davis was visibly tired with about seven minutes to go in the game.   It’s hard to be 20 and fighting 270-lb monsters in the paint.

The best part of that game, however, wasn’t Davis.  It was Austin Rivers having the best shooting game of his young career, going for 27 points on 14 shots.  A lot of those points came from catch and shoot threes – something he hadn’t done very much of in the past, but tonight he was letting fly with no hesitation and when those shots started hitting, continued to be aggressive, attacking Ridnour off the bounce whenever he saw him.  Rivers continues to make little strides, and may just pay back Monty’s trust and minute largesse.

Other observations

  • Jason Smith will be out at least 2 weeks with a sprained shoulder.  The Hornets are going to miss that burst of superb energy.
  • Lopez had one rebound all night – and offensive putback he ripped out of Luke Ridnour’s hands.  Otherwise, in 25 minutes, he didn’t manage to get his hands on a single rebound.   In a related note, the Hornets were -14 with him in the game.
  • Monty was running Brian Roberts off a lot of pin downs and curls so he could catch and shoot.  This is an ideal use of Roberts.  Made me happy.
  • Aminu had six points in three minutes to start the game – getting buckets in transition and early offense.  Then the game settled into a half-court game and he vanished.

Next game is Sunday in Portland.  Have a great Saturday!


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