Hornets Comeback Bid Falls Short in Loss to Warriors

Published: December 19, 2012

Yet again, the energy was there from this young team on the road and after Anthony Davis sunk a free throw to tie the game at 92 with 4:07 left, you had the feeling that they were going to snap their seven-game losing streak. But it wasn’t to be. The Warriors controlled the boards late and got to the line at will, finishing on a 11-4  run to take this game 103-96.

Though the Hornets suffered yet another loss and now sit at 5-19, there is still of plenty of good things to take away from this game. First of all, there was a six minute stretch in the fourth quarter that showed you what this team could be if they can focus on every possession. The offense was crisp and showed diversity. The defense made all the right rotations and all five players did their part on the defensive glass. Ryan Anderson was fantastic once again, almost single handedly keeping the Hornets in it during the second quarter when the Warriors looked like they could pull away. Vasquez had another spectacular game statistically, going for 20, 11, and 5. And Anthony Davis had a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 15 points on just 7 shots.

Overall, it was a game that this team and its fan base can take a lot from. There are losses and then there are losses. This was a good loss, if you believe in such a thing. The Hornets came face to face with one of the hottest teams in the NBA, in front of a home crowd that was ecstatic to have them back after a long road trip, and they almost pulled out a victory. Two or three years from now, when we are far closer to 19-5 than 5-19, we will think back on games like this as stepping stones to greatness. It’s one small step at a time in this league, and a step was definitely taken tonight.

Other Notes and Observations

– Davis is averaging 2 blocks and 1.5 steals per game this season. Only 3 players in NBA history have averaged 2 blocks and 2 steals;  Hakeem Olajuwon did it four times in his prime, David Robinson did it once, and the Gerald Wallace did it most recently back in 2005-06. Davis looks like he can become the second player in NBA history to do this multiple times in his career and if he has more games like this, he could easily do it in his rookie year, which would be unprecedented.

– Austin Rivers has really figured out when to release his floater. In the beginning of the season, he picked up his dribble too early and was shooting 12-14 foot floaters and not surprisingly, he was missing. Then, he took it in a little too close and was getting sent away by guys like Larry Sanders. Now he has found a perfect balance and that is why we are seeing much better results.

– Over Robin Lopez’s last 60 minutes of play, he has three defensive rebounds. Three. Even if that ugly hook is falling, I don’t know how you can play a 7-footer who is slow in the pick and roll and can’t rebound significant minutes. 15 is about right for him. Maybe even slightly less when Smith comes back.

– When Roberts has time, he has one of the most beautiful squared jumpers in the league, but when people close hard on him he tends to learn to the left as he releases. Small thing. Fixable.

– The refs actually sent Ryan Anderson to the line tonight! Baby steps.

– After a Davis dunk, a Ryno three and two Davis steals, the Hornets had all the momentum and had cut the lead to 9. Two badly missed jumpers later, followed by Warriors buckets in transition and the lead was back up to 13. On both possessions, the Warriors forced Mason to put the ball on the floor and take a pull up jumper. We all know that is a recipe for a Mason miss, but my question is- How does Mason not know that? This is why I love players who play within their limitations. It is an intangible that is rarely talked about but it is invaluable in this game.

– Dominic McGuire does a fine job on the court and is incredibly active, but he has a bad habit of dribbling the ball up the court after a rebound. He should be getting it to a guard and filling the lane on the wings.

– And on a McGuire-related note, I hope both Henry and Aminu are renting in New Orleans because selling a home is tough in this economy. You better believe that Dell is on the phones day and night looking for a home for these guys. Basically, they just lost their job to a guy who lost his job to Mickael Pietrus, a guy who couldn’t get a minimum contract this season. They are done for, and here is hoping the fate of Roger Mason is similar when Gordon comes back or when Dell can pluck a marginal upgrade out of obscurity.

– Guards have a terrible habit of just standing and watching when the ball is in the air. It was no coincidence that the Hornets went on a run in the fourth quarter when the guards started crashing the boards, with Vasquez specifically pulling down a couple of rebounds.

– Tomorrow night at Clippers in a game that will see Team USA teammates (and future Pelicans teammates!) Chris Paul and Anthony Davis square off. The Hornets got the best of the Clippers last time in what was probably the most entertaining game of the year. Should be fun yet again.


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