Hornets Lose by 1. What was that last play?

By:
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.
59 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

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

There's the spotlight, then two columns, then all stories. All stories is all stories in order of publication. The two columns have stuff relevant for today (so game stuff, little announcements), and longer features that have a longer shelf life. The spotlight draws attention to newer stuff or things of note. So, the site has exactly what you want. You just have to ignore the bits that also give other people exactly what they want. Better?

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.

Venreader
Venreader

Yes as well as Westbrook, he should be a backup PG. Tell OKC coach he will seat Westbrook immediately. You are right! http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/player/_/stat/assists/sort/assistTurnoverRatio/position/point-guards RK PLAYER TEAM GP MPG AST APG TO TOPG AP48M AST/TO 20 Russell Westbrook, PG OKC 23 35.7 201 8.7 76 3.3 11.8 2.64 21 Jameer Nelson, PG ORL 16 32.9 100 6.3 38 2.4 9.1 2.63 Sebastian Telfair, PG PHX 23 18.3 63 2.7 24 1.0 7.2 2.63 23 Brandon Jennings, PG MIL 22 36.6 133 6.0 51 2.3 7.9 2.61 24 Greivis Vasquez, PG NO 23 33.3 201 8.7 78 3.4 12.6 2.58

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...

Scott
Scott

I don't think that it is that Vasquez is selfish. I think it is that he lacks the skills to be a starting PG. His footspeed issues really hold him and the whole offense back. Maybe it's Money's offense, but why would he not change this by now. We can't have a PG that has almost no hope of penetrating dribble around for 19 seconds of the shot clock. Vasquez is a career backup at best, and these are the types of players he's going to have to work with in this league. And I think you forgot about Austin Rivers.

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

IsThisYourHomeworkLarry
IsThisYourHomeworkLarry

Monty said 'you need .04 to get the shot off.' Ummmmm...no, it's .03...does anyone else find Monty's comment to be somewhat unsettling? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trent_Tucker_Rule

MZURK
MZURK

Yep, it was inexcusable. Unless NO is purposefully trying to lose games.

xman20002000
xman20002000

Not really important... We have backcourt problems with clock management included in the conundrum...

IsThisYourHomeworkLarry
IsThisYourHomeworkLarry

If Monty were coaching in NY or LA and he didn't know the .03 rule, potentially costing his team a game, there would be endless chatter about whether or not he was a competent coach. I'm sorry, but that's pretty inexcusable, especially when we already have the worst record in the West.

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....

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Agreed. Tank city. The bigger problem is Lopez and Davis wandering so far from the paint and failing to recover. Nowhere to be seen on many back door cuts or dives or penetrations.

xman20002000
xman20002000

Well we know what we have with this group... Something has to change.. and to announce that EG's quad was 65% ready is not a good number... We sorta have to move on without him rather than over anticipating his return... But there are several players we need to move considering we lack consistency overall... Our big problem tonight was not having Jason Smith...

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

Canadian62
Canadian62

I imagine you have a better "sport eye" than Monty and you are noticing things in the game that he doesn't. So you have a confirmed selfish player in your team, a stats padding case, and you reward him with more playing time... Way to go Monty!!! Couldn't be because Vasquez doesn't have reliable players around most of the time?

Hank
Hank

I'm not saying he's selfish. I'm saying that that's a reason why his assist numbers are so high. it stems back to the fact that he over dribbles on almost every possession

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

Rick
Rick

Exactly, this play is basically a turnover. He has so many plays where he holds it so long and then at the very end of the shot clock he gives it Lopez near the high post, or in no position for him to score or he gives it Aminu on the perimeter. These plays are almost the equivalent of a turnover because there is almost no shot at scoring. At the very least if he does hold the ball this long, give it to someone who can create their own shot. Vazquez made some great plays tonight, but just too many bad ones. I don't even want to think about his last shot. It is one thing if he gets an easy shot without passing it to anyone else, but why settle for that at the end of the game. Would have loved to see double pick, with Anderson and Davis, play we ran earlier that resulted in an easy lob to Davis that either may have been a bit overthrown or missed.

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

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Exactly. Including Chris Paul, who many people here do not forget, praised enough Vasquez when Hornets defeated Clippers.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Schawn not like Vasquez. He prefers players like Robin Lopez, Lance Thomas, Al-Farouq Aminu... that "fill us with joy" every night.

Canadian62
Canadian62

I am glad that Ryan acknowledged he should have mentioned Vasquez, even if he doesn't like him, because is wrong to ignore and try to hide a 17 assists / 15 points performance in a game. I hope his dislike for GV doesn't make him lose objectivity. I have one (or more) questions for all the “knowledgeable” people in this forum: why a good coach like Monty would have a particular player in the game for 46 minutes? I assume some of the most knowledgeable people about this game and particularly the Hornets team are the coach and his assistants. And for me, they have showed trust in GV many times... he continues being the starting PG, isn’t it?. GV selfish? How don't you know that he is taking all these shots because the coach ordered or suggested them?

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

Actually, I highlighted a bunch of things he does that were terrible and good. He wasn't the reason we lost that game, but he certainly wasn't the reason we almost won it either.

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

That's a logical fallacy. If a player actually is a zero-sum player, then there is no advantage gained or lost, and any difference in the final score is by definition caused by another player. I'd look to players like Lopez, Henry, Aminu, Mason - even Rivers and his low production - to find the difference in this game.

Gavolt
Gavolt

actually your comments imply that he was, right? if for every good vasquez gives you he also gives you a bad then he's a +0 player who played 46 minutes in a game the hornets lost by 1.

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

Mike P
Mike P

Lucas, I don't believe Lance Thomas should be getting great minutes on any team, because as you pointed out, he is not a great player, let alone a good one.. he's a backup. The difference is that we are not running the majority of our offense through Thomas, and I promise you, if we were, I'd be saying the same thing about him.. I was saying it about Lopez when we kept throwing it into the post, about Aminu when he was attacking his defender 1 v 1. But Thomas can at least defend and rebound at our weakest position (SF), so why not? I criticize Vasquez because I'm frustrated with our offensive system, and I don't believe he should be running the offense all the time. I think he is a very good backup/borderline starter on a bad team, and we are bad, so starting him isn't the problem. But seeing him run around like CP3 with the ball kills me.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Lance Thomas is a very limited player who misses easy shots and has enormous technical deficiencies. And he's still small to play as PF. And he has no ability to play as SF. If the Hornets team was good, he would play 1 minute per night. And nothing more. Thomas is very hardworking. And he's just hardworking. That's not enough. Oh, and I disagree with 95% of what you wrote.

Venreader
Venreader

Vasquez is so selfish that makes 8.5 assists per game. Incredible!

Mike P
Mike P

First of all, every good passer misses out on assists from those items you listed.. I agree, our offense is full of guys who aren't very good. Like I just said, the difference is we aren't trying to consistently run the majority of our offense through them. You're right, our SF and C cannot create.. Anderson is better fit not creating, but he can in a pinch. My problem is that Rivers can create, yet Vasquez still dominates the ball. I would prefer if they shared the responsibility.

Venreader
Venreader

Well, what I see is a good (not elite) PG in a team with SF and SF that are not better than he is in getting past his defenders and scoring consistently, but still he makes 9.4 assists per 36 minutes game (does not count good passes when players gets fouled,fragile hands losing tha ball, or guys missing easy shots), while on the other hand, his scorer partners SG makes 10 points per 36 minutes or SF 11 points per 36 minutes. Still for you the problem is Vasquez. Sorry I dont get it. I thik Vasquez plays the way Monty tells. In my humble oppinion you need a team with Varejao, Anderson, Harden, Lebron and CP3 and no cap salary.

Mike P
Mike P

none of those guys IS CP3**

Mike P
Mike P

mojart, you beat me to the punch with your more concise response while I was typing up my paragraph.. totally agree

Mike P
Mike P

Again, you refer to his stat line.. Selfish is an exaggeration, I admit, but Vasquez is not "unselfish." He has the ball @ least 50% of the time we're on offense, and that's a conservative estimate. The fact that he has 9 APG reflects that. And again, you miss the point. It isn't that Vasquez is the reason we're losing. It's that we're going to lose anyway, and Vasquez cannot consistently initiate the offense. Look, he's a ball hog, and the reason people don't see it is because most ball hogs shoot the ball at the end of their time with it. Vasquez consistently can't get past his defender the first time, so he backs out and tries again, and usually we're at a few seconds left in the shot clock. But he doesn't look for people early, and the shot clock dictates that someone has to hoist it up eventually. I've been saying we should give Rivers a shot at a point. What really needs to happen is we need more variation in who is running the offense, even within the play. If Vasquez can't get by, he shouldn't try again.. he should kick it. Same with Rivers, same with Roberts.. but enough of this ball-dominant point stuff. None of these guys are CP3.

mojart
mojart

yeah...he is making 8.5 apg....but do you noticed how he distributed that ball? i create a player in nba2k13 and its a PG (pass first)....and that's what i do to get an assist...melt the shot clock then pass it to EG/ryno/whoever is open...then boom...i have my assist and my A+ rating....:)

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.

Venreader
Venreader

I am Vasquez fan but 46 minutes is too much for any player. I agree on this one.