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!


  1. Richard

    December 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    And Greivis Vasquez had 15 pts and 17 asts.

  2. jlmolero

    December 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Really??? not a single mention of Greivis Vasquez’s 17 assits?? Really?

    • Jack

      December 15, 2012 at 10:50 am

      I think this blog is biased. When you look at the game, it is clear we lost because we were out rebounded. Don’t blame Vasquez for point in the paint 70 from timberwolf to 42 from the hornets.

  3. Venreader

    December 15, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Schwan just don´t like him, but a lot of fans do. Go Greivis, go Austin, go NOLA! It was an exciting game to watch!

  4. SP

    December 15, 2012 at 12:29 am

    And Greivis Vasquez boosted his trade value at a convenient time of the year…

  5. Mike

    December 15, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Maybe because GV couldn’t even blow by Kevin Love. A lot of Vasquezs assists are fools gold due to a lot of catch and shoots that the other will let the hornets have all night long.

  6. JayDogon

    December 15, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I was hoping that our Defensive showing against the Thunder, which was pretty good all things said and done, was a sign that we were finally righting the ship defensively and Monty’s system was finally kicking in. I almost wish that we just got blown out against OKC and gave that same effort and showing on the defensive end tonight instead. Great to see Austin Rivers performance and this is why I want Greivis as our backup point, Ridnour is supposed to be a backup point so this is essentially what Vasquez should be matched against night in and night our. Geaux Hornets

  7. 504ever

    December 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

    No Jason Smith in the rotation and they out rebound us by 10. The team’s shooting percentages were about the same for 2s, 3s, and FTs, but they took more shots (mostly from close in due to offensive rebounds)and shot more free throws. Game over.

    • MZURK

      December 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      I don’t think Smith would solve our rebounding woes. We only have one good rebounder and that is the mediocre Aminu.

      Lopez is a poor rebounding center, especially on the defensive end, Davis is still too skinny to have a strong impact there and Ryan Anderson overall rebounding numbers are nothing special for a PF. Our guards aren’t known for their rebounding, though Vasquez seems to be having a decent year there.

      Aminu is more or less useless in the half court game, but it’s hard not to play him because he significantly strengthens our rebounding profile.

  8. Lucas Ottoni

    December 15, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I would like to understand the coach Monty Williams. He took Anthony Davis in the fourth quarter to put the pathetic Robin Lopez. Then he put again Anthony Davis with the game already lost. That’s serious? I’m beginning to think that our coach is deliberately trying to lose the games. It’s the draft? So depressing…

    Aminu sucks. He doesn’t know drive a ball. He’s a goner. We urgently need a SF!

    Currently, Hornets have a good PG – backup – (Greivis Vasquez – 17 assists!), a good PF (Ryan Anderson), a promising player (Anthony Davis) and a young man with a basketball IQ (Darius Miller). And we have Jason Smith. The remainder of the roster you can put in a bag and throw in the trash.

    By the way … Vasquez’ 17 assists (high carreer) weren’t even mentioned here in your post, Ryan? Seriously? OMG…

  9. SP

    December 15, 2012 at 5:41 am

    On a night where Rivers has 27 points on 14 shots you want to to throw him in the trash? AD was pressing in the 4th and needed some rest, Monty isn’t going to push him too hard coming back from an injury. Chill man.

    • Lucas Ottoni

      December 15, 2012 at 5:58 am

      We don’t need someone to do it every 2 months. When he makes 27 points again? In the first week of March?

    • Bootsy

      December 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

      I agree SP. Some people need to do a little more research before they make comments like that. AD was tired and still working back from injury. And Rivers is make strides every game. Not everybody is a star from game 1. We are not trying to win a championship this year, we are developing our youth and building chemistry. In three years we will look back and realize how lucky we were to get AD and Rivers in 1 draft. There are other issues we need to address, like is Lopez really going to ba a championship caliber center and what to do with Gordon. I think we can’t afford to pay someone that kind of money in a small market like NO. We should trade him and get more draft picks.

      • Bootsy

        December 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

        I think we can’t afford to pay someone that kind of money in a small market like NO when they are never on the court.*

  10. GerryV

    December 15, 2012 at 7:08 am

    While at the grocery store the other day some guy tries to beat me to a box of Cheerios by attempting a back door cut….by using my footwork and reading the play i defended the passing lane and took away his cutting space…he attempted to swing out to the other side off a pin down but again failed since i quickly slipped in between grocery carts to re establish by defense…….he walked out of the store frustrated…

    Hornets were horrible reading and reacting last night..

  11. GerryV

    December 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Today i will be conducting my ‘HOOP CLINIC ON WHEELS” we’ll be driving around the city ( look for the truck with the BIG V letter sitting on a pair of sneakers…basketballs for eyes…bright orange truck)..we will be using a loud speaker asking people…better yet,we will be telling people to step outside of their homes and convince us they know how to defend the BACKDOOR CUT and DEFEND THE LANE….we will be driving all over the city and surrounding areas….our goal is to upgrade the ability of all citizens in our city in these two areas of play.

    Free t-shirts…and a donut.

  12. NOEngineer

    December 15, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Another lackluster home performance. Our guys give much more effort on the road than they do at home. That’s why the crowd doesn’t even bother to get excited any more, if they show up at all. This crowd knows and appreciates good defense, and we have seen about 20 minutes of it TOTAL for the entire season at home so far.

    It also seems we are back to last year’s tank strategy: Whenever we get a player back from injury, we sit another good player within a game or so. That limits the roster so we have an excuse to lose 4 out of every 5 games while showing flashes of individual potential. Right now I predict that Ryan Anderson will not last 3 games past the return of Eric Gordon (if that ever occurs). It will be his turn to get turf toe or sprained follicles or something. Hopefully it isn’t a real injury….

    As a STH, I feel this strategy and the lack of effort is borderline theft. At half price for Balcony Busters I guess I can live with it, but it still makes me sad. I definitely wouldn’t pay full price for this lack of quality.

    Smith is probably the only big we have besides Lopez that would even have had a chance against Pekovich. Although, I would have like to seen Lance Thomas get a chance on him. Short, but aggravating….

    I’d love to see Roberts or Rivers slice through the middle of the paint early in the clock like Barea did about 20 times last night. Our guys circle the 3-point line for 15 seconds and attack only to the side of the paint when the clock is running down.

  13. edbballin504

    December 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I thought Rivers was sensational! On the other hand, our rebounding was terrible. I never seen a team get so many offensive rebounds and easy shots at the basket. Barea looked like Iverson the way he got whatever he wanted, and we looked like boys among men the way MIN killed us down low and on the boards.

    In my opinion, we now have 3 glaring needs….PG, SF, C and we are loaded at 2 positions when healthy (SG- Gordon and Rivers, PF- Anderson and Davis). Anyone has a solution??

  14. Bootsy

    December 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Yea, first trade gordon for some picks and expiring deals. He is too injury prone to pay that much for. Lopez also needs to be traded for whatever picks you can get and same thing goes for Vasquez. Let Rivers be the SG of the future and keep Anderson and get a good center in the upcoming draft and we will have a nice 3 man rotation in the frontcourt for the future. I think we have some real talent at the 3 that can still be developed so no need to rush on any decisions there. We just need to be a little patient. We are an extremely young team right now.

  15. LLHOPS

    December 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

    The Hornets need to find a way to play with more energy and effort at home. The Wolves could have named the final point total – if needed they could have score 120-125. This was one of the saddest defensive performances of the season. It’s not just defending against the 3, our bigs cannot defend either. We gave up 31 to Pekovic (you gotta be kidding).

    Monty talks about repacing palyers who can’t defend but maybe Monty’s system doesn’t fit the players Dell is bringing in. Our pace is so slow, that unless we play consistent lock down defense, we cannot win very often.

    Bottomline we are trying to compete with limited defenders and no quickness at point guard. This is a recipe for another #1 pick.

    • Lucas Ottoni

      December 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Robin Lopez is pathetic. Who suffers at the hands of an almost retired Jermaine O’Neal may well be destroyed by Pekovic. You need to understand. We don’t have a center since Dell Demps left Chris Kaman go to Dallas.

  16. Mike W

    December 15, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I had to chuckle about your first sentence which summarized the game very well…”the Hornets played like the worst defensive team in the league.” They are the worst team in the league defensively this season on a statistical basis. Through December 10, their defensive efficiency (or inefficiency) rating is 108 vs a league average of 102 per 100 possessions.

  17. MZURK

    December 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    A very good game by Rivers. But can he sustain it?

    IU was shocked that Vasquez notched up 17 assists. Frankly, I did not see anything particularly spectacular about his play in this game. He was just “ok”.

    Lopez, yeah… 1 rebound.

    Aminu sucks in the half court, but he helps a lot on the boards, which creates a dilemma.

    More people have been callinmg for playing time for Darius Miller. Miller is ok, but he’s averaging around 5 to 6 points per 36 minutes, and he’s currently shooting 37%. Hardly numbers which inspire confidence that he’s ready to break out if given more time. Still, he was a decent pick for where we got him in the draft.

    Ryan Anderson is a brilliant shooter and he’s expanded his offensive options it seems to include some driving ability. However, I think he is part of the reason why our defense is so atrocious so he’s a bit of a mixed bag.

  18. Venreader

    December 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    2012-13 ASSISTS LEADERS : Assists Per 48 Minutes – All Teams


    1Rajon Rondo , BOS
    245 12.9 71 3.7 16.3 3.45
    2Chris Paul , LAC
    200 9.1 49 2.2 13.1 4.08
    3Greivis Vasquez , NOH
    190 8.6 72 3.3 12.7 2.64
    4Jose Calderon , TOR
    164 6.8 46 1.9 11.8 3.57
    5Russell Westbrook , OKC
    201 8.7 76 3.3 11.8 2.65
    6Jrue Holiday , PHI
    196 8.9 84 3.8 11.1 2.33
    7Tony Parker , SAS
    164 7.5 49 2.2 10.9 3.35
    8Deron Williams , BKN
    185 8.4 64 2.9 10.9 2.89
    9Mo Williams , UTA
    140 7.0 51 2.6 10.4 2.75
    10 Andre Miller , DEN
    126 5.3 56 2.3 10.1 2.25


    • Lucas Ottoni

      December 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Yeap. Greivis Vasquez is the least of the problems this team. It’s you who were spoiled with CP3.

      How can a team that doesn’t have SF and C be competitive?

      • macs21

        December 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Vasquez is ranked 41st in the NBA in PER for all PG’s..

        We have three C’s that are better than he is. Lopez is rated as the 13th most C by ESPN. Davis and Anderson would both be in the top 9 if ESPN listed them as C’s, and are both in the top 10 as PF’s. A much stronger position in the NBA.

        How about you actually watch some basketball? Vazquez might be getting a lot of assists but it’s no mystery that he had a career high on a night when the Hornets were actually hitting their jumpshots. Like someone said earlier, fools gold. He generates low-medium quality looks for our other wings and only generates shots at the rim as about 20% of his assists to our bigs. He’s too slow to do anything else.

        While he might be a solid backup he’s just not athletic enough to be anything more. The Clippers have three PG;s that are better than him for christs sake.

        However, Rivers might be a solid PG in a year or so so I would definitely say SF is our position of greatest need. All we really need is a wing stopper who can drain three’s and we’re good to go.

        How you could say C is one of our week positions on a team that has 4 players who can play 15 a night each and play with above average efficiency actually hurts my brain.

      • Lucas Ottoni

        December 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

        Ryan Anderson? Center? Are you kidding me?

        And you say that Vasquez’s 17 assists are fool’s gold when he has to pass the ball to Rivers, Aminu, Lopez, Thomas, Henry, Mason and other weak players, is not it? For to me, his 17 assists are a great achievement. He isn’t an elite PG. But he plays alongside several players so bad… Just you look at our campaign. After you said that Ryan Anderson is a center, I should have stopped with you. But okay…

        I’ll just say one more thing: while Aminu is our SF and Lopez is our C, we will continue as we are. In other words, losing every games.

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