Hornets Lose by 1. What was that last play?

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Published: December 16, 2012
Ryan Anderson

The Hornets committed a games worth of CP3-era turnovers in the first half, handing the ball to the Blazers 11 times.   Six of them were tossed directly to the Blazers, resulting in transition scoring that the Hornets couldn’t match.  The worst part of the first half, however, was the perimeter defense.   The Blazers took twelve three pointers and hit six of them.  Two were contested.  Yes.  Two.   So the Hornets came into the game, presumably knowing they were facing a team that took lots of threes, and proceeded to not do anything to stop the shot.  Three of the passes were direct passes out of the post to the nearby wing three point shooter.  This is the most basic basketball outlet pass in the world.  The Hornets weren’t prepared for it, and the shooter was open each time.  After a few such passes, the team did start closing on that first shooter, but then their rotations fell apart on the back end as three players repeatedly didn’t make rotations: Roger Mason, Lopez and Anthony Davis.  I’d probably include McGuire in that list normally, but he’s been with the team about twenty seconds, so let’s just give him more time.

Then came the start of the third – and the defense became downright embarassing.  Basic give and go basketball for the Blazers led to dunks and easy shots.  The Hornets defense was perpetually scrambling, and when they did manage to cut someone off on the way to the hoop, it was an easy kickout for three.  Batum spent most of the time grinning like an idiot as he did his best Andre Miller impression – tossing lobs to Hickson and Aldridge again and again.

Then, of course, the unexpected happens.  Portland lets their foot of the gas, Monty gives up on Henry and Aminu trying to guard Batum – and inserts Lance Thomas, who has the strength and size, and most importantly, the motor to defend him.  Ryan Anderson continues to be blistering hot.  Lillard’s long minutes leave him exhausted and unable to penetrate.  The Hornets thunder back as the Blazers inexplicably leave the one guy(Hickson)  the Hornets couldn’t physically handle on the bench.

Several big shots and energetic defense later, the Hornets have it tied at 92.  At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about the game.  Lillard drills a huge, impressive shot to put the Blazers up three.  And . . .

WTF?  Davis lobs to Thomas at the rim for two.  With 0.3 seconds left in the game.  What?  No three-prayer to tie it?  I’m completely lost again.  All equilibrium is gone.

What the hell just happened?

Other observations

  • Aminu started the game and was his normal self.  Bad closeouts.  Bad ball handling.  Great rebounding.  He was lost though, and didn’t start or play the second half.
  • Lopez opened the game scoring on Hickson regularly.  Once that stopped and he was forced a little out of the paint, he was a major detriment.  Hickson wasn’t being impaired at all by Lopez, whose slow feet and inability to jump kept him from being a factor – except whenhe kept failing so badly to defend the pick and roll.
  • Anderson and Davis were crushing the pick and roll by jumping the ballhandler in second half.
  • Start Lance Thomas at the three.  Even if he can’t shoot, his motor makes him a better option than Henry and his weaksauce off-the-dribble game.
  • Meyers Leonard is a terrible basketball player.
  • Before anyone bursts into tears, Yes, Vasquez had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists.  And 6 turnovers.  And took 20 shots.  And couldn’t stay in front of any drive.  And was torching Lillard off the dribble.  And kept being burned because he couldn’t close out on the perimeter.  For every awesome thing Vasquez gives us, he takes something else away.  Tonight he was a net plus, but that line is not truth in advertising.
  • Ryan Anderson.  Simply wow. He made Aldridge work and was still on fire.  ON FI-YAH.
  • Rivers had a very quiet game until he drilled that big three to tie it.  No fear.  Still, he needs to find ways to be a little more impactful through the game.  Grab a few more rebounds, rook.
  • McGuire looked a little lost, but also had a few flashes.  He’s known for his defense, so let’s hope that shines through.
57 comments
WisconsinHornet
WisconsinHornet

Hey guys, I don't know where is appropriate to post my feedback on the new site design. I've waited however long it's been to give it a fair chance, but it's time to tell you - I freaking hate it. There is no confidence that I'm reading the most recent thread or most appropriate thread for what I'm looking for. It's haphazard and confusing and all over the place. The way the top story changes confuses me. I feel like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer or something - I want my old safe, friendly Hornets247.com back. Again - apologies if this is in the wrong place. I don't often comment on this site but rather on HR.com

Ken
Ken

One thing that was overlooked from last night game is the actual play that the Hornets ran at the end. If they were practicing in case the same situation comes up in the future, as Monty contends, then why is Davis inbounding the ball to Thomas. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Mike W
Mike W

I pulled up some stats about Vasquez from hoopdata.com. Among point guards averaging 30+ minutes of play per game, he ranks 2nd from the bottom in turnover percentage. Only Brandon Knight of the Pistons is worse. Vasquez turnover percentage is 14.26%. Knight's is 15.30%. The league average is 11.26% among point guards. CPIII is at 9.17% FWIW. Defensively, Vasquez is too slow to be effective. Vasquez could be an effective #2 PG for NO. He's not the answer intermediate or long term.

Melvin E
Melvin E

Monty may have made a crucial mistake with a young team last night. How can you preach working hard, playing hard, learning the system, finding players who wanna play for the organization and practicing hard then play McGuire. A guy who just joined the team the day of the game.

Nate
Nate

He had to inbound the ball. It was almost 5 seconds and nobody was open on the perimeter.

Jack
Jack

as expected, some people just don't appreciate what Vasquez did. Let me point out one more fact. Vasquez defensed Lillard pretty well last night. Lillard made a big shot. But he was owned by Vasquez.

J
J

These HornAints are tanking but no Stern to help us this time.

Ben
Ben

I think the reason Vasquez' stats are so high is that he's the Damian Lilliard of our team. The ball's in his hands every play and he plays a lot (46 minutes last night). Look how goo goo people are over Lilliard who's playing well, but his stats are inflated. You don't think we could get good value for Vasquez?

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Also, I'd rather see a 3/4 court heave at the end with .1% chance of tying than that pathetic tip-in. That was insulting to everyone involved with the Horcans.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

My lovely wife wants to know why we never foul in a close game, but instead let the other team sink a 3 in our face for the win with zero time left. Can someone ask Monty this? I would have preferred to see Roberts on the floor for some quickness at the end. Vasquez is too slow even to foul.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

J.J. Hickson slaughed on us last night. How long we'll have to see the goofy Robin Lopez making joy of rival centers? Demps, bring me a center! Please! Vasquez played almost 46 minutes. It's some kind of showcase? He will be traded? That would be unfortunate because Greivis is the least guilty to the Hornets' losses. Pass the ball to players like Robin Lopez, Xavier Henry, Aminu, Lance Thomas, Roger Mason... shouldn't be easy. The Hornets team boils down to three players: Anderson, Davis and Vasquez. I like Miller, Roberts and Jason Smith. But the remainder of the team is very weak. That's why a limited player like J.J. Hickson laughs at us. And while Eric Gordon feigns injury, young Lillard decides games. What's happening with the Hornets is pitiful. We can only think of the draft, 2013...

bob green
bob green

wow you analysts are a joke, enough with the grevis bashing, hes a hell of a player and competitor. yes he turns the ball over but get over yourselves he plays harder than anyone else out there on that court give him some respect

mojart
mojart

i really don't know what else to say....i miss winning.... sometimes i feel that this team is TANKING...sorry for the word but that is what i see for the last 10 games already....i want to be positive but i can't see that killer instinct....the will to win of this team...the desire....i trust monty but i see no adjustment on his gameplan especially on DEFENSE...TO BE EXACT PERIMETER DEFENSE....i think its time to start AD next game...no excuses anymore...the guy can play major minutes NOW....for vasquez....he played well but poor decision making...lack of defense...turnovers really did not help him this game. the future is still bright....but the team need to put up a fight....

Hank
Hank

I do the same thing as Vasquez with my player in 2k to stuff that stat sheet. I hold the ball until there's almost no time on the shot clock. then I dish it off to a teammate who is then forced to take a shot and whenever he makes that shot I get an assist

Hank
Hank

How many times is Vasquez going to force lopez to take a 15 foot jumper befor he realizes that someone else on the team needs to touch the ball before there is 7 seconds left on the shot clock. davis looked kind of lazy tonight. hoping all of the losing isnt getting to him but im predicting a monster game vs the slow footed warriors frontcourt

Venreader
Venreader

Again commentators saying we lost because of Vasquez... Come on!

Scott
Scott

Would have liked to have seen Roberts subbed in to guard Lilliard at the end. Forget about the incredible shot, vasquez got lucky he didn't send Lilliard to the line for 3 free throws with that foul. Oh well. Love the way we fought back at the end. Jason smith would have really helped with hickson. And Lance Thomas is quietly becoming a very solid player.

Canadian62
Canadian62

Two games in a row, and just one Vasquez mention? You must be the more biased of all the writers here. I am sure that every Hornets player had theirs up and downs, but you decides not to mention the downs... Just for Vasquez. Almost a triple double, but you had to highlight the 6 TO... I imagine you think this is the best way to support him, to encourage him to play better, to keep his chin up, to show your desire that the team plays better

Mike P
Mike P

There was one play that really burned me with Vasquez early on.. Anderson got a mismatch with Babbitt, who's softer than Charmin, and though he didn't have great position, could definitely have exploited it. Instead of sprinting to the other side of the court to isolate the mismatch, Vasquez sprinted to a spot three feet from Anderson and picked up the ball. Was hard to stay objective the rest of the game Re: Vasquez. Look, he can play. But you can't run an offense through him. Sorry, but it leads to bad shots off of stagnant possessions. There is not one player on our team currently capable of running the offense well, but this much is certain: you cannot generate efficient offense through someone that cannot break a defense down. It doesn't show up in simple box scores, other than the L column. Not really Vasquez's fault, but more a deficiency in personnel. For those of you enamored with the stat lines, please watch Vasquez hold the ball for 18 seconds of the shot clock, not cross the perimeter, and then tell me he's a starting-caliber guard. And though the statistics don't say it, my mom, who has basically only watched my basketball games, said she noticed how, when someone like Anderson hits a big 3, Vasquez suddenly thinks it's time to take one himself. Called him "selfish." She's never looked at a box score, just watches the games because she's a local and loves the city. I do like seeing Vasquez work off of the ball. He can hit an open 3, and if that forces hard closeouts, I really believe he can be effective with a pump fake to get him the separation he struggles to get otherwise. Rivers was horrible to start, and was quiet for much of the game. Love the drilled 3.. he's never afraid. Also really liked the foul on Aldridge's dunk attempt. He was pretty close to blocking that. Lillard blew by him a few times early, so that wasn't good. Lance was brilliant tonight. Love the way he plays, and his athleticism surprises me every game. I remember a game or two ago, Thomas had to slide down to pick up a cutter, and then the ball got swung to the opposite corner, and he contested incredibly well. Watching him is fun. Like Ryan said, start him and see how it goes.. I actually think he's quick enough to defend 3s. Hell, he stayed in front of Lillard, who's a lock for the Hall of Fame. Okay, just a little bitter that Lillard shined because we botched our possession. He can definitely play

YLZL
YLZL

Game needed more Roberts and less Vasquez. Greivis had 46 minutes. That's ridiculous. I think they're showing him off to pump up his trade value.

Thechosenuno
Thechosenuno

Monty said after the game that you need .4 to get a shot off and can only do a tip with .3, so they practiced a play they may need later. Also interesting, he praised a bunch of guys who play hard and said we lost because we just got no production from some players. People not mentioned as playing hard -- X and AFA. You know you're on the way to the dog house when a player signed the day of the game gets a shout out from the coach and you don't.

Triples
Triples

Might've gone for a lob because a shot by definition must take at least 0.4 seconds and they only had 0.3 left. Must've been hoping for a foul call or something.