Hornets Forget to Bring their Offense to LA, Fall to Clippers

By:
Published: December 20, 2012
1934499_G

Just one night removed from some exciting basketball that saw this Hornets offense seemingly take a step towards respectability, they managed to have a game where they took an even larger leap back. Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis punished the Clippers inside during stretches, but the perimeter players couldn’t seem to get out of their own way, missing shot after shot in a game that looked nothing like the one when these two teams last met.

Ryan Anderson had his worse game to date as a Hornet, going 2-13 from the field- including 0-8 from three. The backcourt of Rivers and Vasquez managed to go just 2-11 from the field and had nearly as many turnovers (9) as assists (10). There have been times in the past where a Hornets team could play this poorly on the offensive end but still manage to stay in the game with defense. Tonight was not one of those nights, as the Clippers shot 50% from the field and Chris Paul controlled the flow of this game, dishing out 12 assists in just 28 minutes of play.

DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin played to a relative draw with Davis and Lopez, but the Clippers absolutely destroyed the Hornets on the perimeter due to their ball movement, quickness, and efficiency. The Hornets looked like a tired team that came out flat against quite possibly the hottest team in the NBA right now. That is not the way you go about breaking an eight-game losing streak. And it doesn’t get any easier as the Hornets head to San Antonio on Friday to face a deep and talented Spurs team.

Notes and Observations

- Okay Vasquez fans, is it okay if I say he had a poor game tonight? Can we all agree on that without two dozen comments saying we are Vasquez haters? Well, even without your permission, I am going to say it anyway. Vasquez was horrible tonight, but this was to be expected as the Clippers have the ability to throw ultra-quick and aggressive guards at him all night. He simply does not have the foot speed to compete with certain guys on either side of the court, but to be fair, guys like Paul and Bledsoe are the exception, not the rule. Vasquez is still a monster when guys lay off him and he will continue to succeed against guys like Jeremy Lin, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, etc. But as long as he is the starter, we will be treated to nights like this on occasion where he is just unable to get to certain spots on the court no matter what he does.

- Ryan Anderson looks downright exhausted and he more than anyone will benefit from the return of Eric Gordon. Right now he is working way too hard to get himself open looks and it is starting to wear him down just a quarter of the way through the season. It sucks that we lost tonight, but perhaps the fact that Anderson only got 27 minutes as opposed to the 36-38 he has been getting more recently will benefit him down the line.

- Speaking of Eric Gordon, it was reported that he met with Dell Demps today and that he would be rejoining the team on Saturday. It looks like he will just be attending practices and going through walkthroughs with the possibility of starting to practice full-time in another week and possibly playing at the end of the month.

- It was odd to see such a passive Austin Rivers tonight, but it appeared that he saw the big men playing well and thought it would be better to work the ball inside. Monty wasn’t exactly pleased with how passive he was, shooting at him to shoot the ball on multiple occasions.

- Reason we lost: No J-Smitty. He is the Blake Stopper, plain and simple.

- Rumbles earlier this week were that Chris Paul is not all too happy in LA. We can make you happy Chris, please come back :)

- How sad is it when you recognize that Dominic McGuire is, without doubt, a below average NBA player but you still want him to get the majority of minutes at small forward? I mean, Lance was okay tonight but he is still out of position at the three. X and Chief are just disasters and need to be gone like yesterday. That leaves McGuire by default. Best SF we got. Ugh. At least we got to see some Darius Miller tonight. Solid, but like all our small forwards, there were turnover issues.

- Better night tonight from Brian Roberts. Small positive. I’ll take it after this ugly game.

- Talked to people inside the TrueHoop Network and they think Eric Bledsoe will fetch a hefty bounty on the trade market. They scoffed at Lopez and Vasquez. Scoffed again when I added a protected first rounder. Wanted a package that featured Rivers AND perhaps our upcoming 1st unprotected. Alright, let’s slow our roll here people. He is a nice guard putting up great numbers in limited minutes, but where is the evidence that he can lead a team/run an offense? Remember what Jason Smith said about how great it was to go out there for 15-20 minutes and play 100%? He said that if he had to play major minutes, he would have to change his game. I just haven’t seen enough from Bledsoe to make me think he is a sure-fire starter in this league that can be amongst the top 12-15 PG’s, so I am not giving up either asset- Thank you very much.

26 comments
maximumballer
maximumballer

I hate to rag on monty but lopez was having a career night. he just dunked on 3 of 4 possessions then with ball on offense in a two possession game in second quarter he takes lopez out n puts in a small lineup. we go down 10 at the half n lopez doesnt see action til the fourth. wierd bc lopez was effective against their bigs. I dont think monty is that smart if he pulls out the hot player. come on lopez was awesome n he gets pulled????

Ben
Ben

Watching the Clippers, it seems like they try as hard as possible to make highlight reels. Whenever Blake goes up, he brings his legs up to make it look like he's insanely high off the ground. Both he and Jordan, whenever dunking, bring the ball back as far as possible before throwing it down as hard as they can. That Deandre Jordan putback that was all over Sportscenter this morning was worth the same as all those little tip-ins Robin Lopez had. And in transition, I remember one play they had an easy two on one, where the guard bringing it up could have just done a bounce pass to Griffin for a layup but instead tried an alleyoop and had to throw it over the defender and made a bad pass.

macs21
macs21

Can someone provide links to articles about CP being unhappy? I haven't seen anything saying that anywhere, not even in Rumors on ESPN. Meanwhile, huge Bledsoe fan but Rivers + our unprotected first rounder? Are they high? It's likely to be in the top 5 at this point and while he might be a solid starter there's no way he's worth that much. Granted it's projected to be a weak draft but it's still a top 5 pick. If the Clips are expecting that much for him then they're gonna be crazy disapointed. Also, gives insight into why they struggled as an organisation for such a long time if they can whiff on a players Value around the league that badly. Does anybody else find the CLips broadcasters to be among the most painful to listen to in the league? They are the biggest Homers.. It's ridiculous. Was listening to the game while at work today and they were talking about how Blake is the most similar player in the League to LBJ.. Really?

macs21
macs21

Thanks Mike. Incidentally, that paragraph about his discontent due to their lack of frontcourt depth is part of the reason I think a viable bledsoe trade could be made around a protected 1st rounder, J-Smitty and Vasquez. I'd rather give up Lopez than Smitty but I don't think that's realistic due to the difference in their contracts. Although Griff might not like playing with Smitty coz he's a bit (although admittedly much less this year than last year) of a primadonna. Discontent rumors seem pretty insubstantial though.

Will
Will

I agree that giving up Austin and a first rounder is way too much. Thinking back to the so-called two player draft a few years ago with Irving and Derrick Williams, dw is a bust thus far and there have been quality players like Faried, Clay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard picked later. Even in a weak draft, a top 5 pick is still very valuable.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Chris Paul isn't happy in LA? This is strange, because when he played for Hornets he just said he wanted to win. And now he is winning... he isn't happy? This guy is never satisfied with anything... Indeed, it was so painful to witness that dunk...

Canadian62
Canadian62

Hi Michael, you are right, Vasquez yesterday's game was horrendous. I'll be the first "fan" to admit it; there is no way to disguise his performance. However, I liked what you said about him being acceptable againts certain starting PGs. This is what I like: trying to find something good in your players, even if almost everything else was bad. I understand why so many people here like Bledsoe skills as a PG, but there is some contradiction in your argument when considering Rivers in the package. You said that Bledsoe "...is a nice guard putting up great numbers in limited minutes, but where is the evidence that he can lead a team/run an offense?" Do you have evidence that Rivers will be as good as you expect? Have you seen enough from Rivers to predict he will be a top 10-15 in his position? Bledsoe is only 23, and could be part of Hornets "future" too. I assume you have seen more game from him than from Rivers, and Bledsoe right now is a better player, so why is Rivers untouchable for a good trade? I am not a Rivers hater, I like the guy to succeed, for the good of the team, but certainly I don't understand the fixation many of you have with certain players. Is there something I am not seeing?

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I am comparing Rivers as a rookie to Bledsoe as a rookie, and when you do that, there is no comparison. Rivers still has four years after this one on a rookie scale contract and has a higher ceiling IMO. Bledsoe will have to get paid in the summer of 2014, while Rivers will be getting under 3.5 mil at that point. And from what I have seen, Bledsoe will never be a guy you can give the ball to at the end of games to create his own shot and that was the #1 reason the Hornets drafted Rivers- because the NBA Finals showed us that championship teams will need multiple players who can get their own shots at the end of games. I like Bledsoe as an upgrade over Vasquez, but I would prefer Rivers upside and the flexibility his contract gives us over Bledsoe personally

Canadian62
Canadian62

Do you see a reason why the Clippers would like to have Vasquez in their roster?

504ever
504ever

My problem with a king's ransom being asked for Bledsoe is twofold. First, that price will come down as they have to ship him out or pick up his option less than a year from now. Second, there are other PG options that won't require us to give up so many assets, including the possibility we won't have to give up any assets to acquire a PG that will also be a clear upgrade for us. I love Bledsoe, but hate the price much more. Rivers and a unprotected 1st pick? Never. Lopez and Rivers? Maybe

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

The Clippers effectively have a hard cap tied to the tax level until July 1 since they used the non-tax MLE. This leaves them able to take back $3.2mish once Bledsoe is gone above what else they send out. This will limit their haul if the market does not unless it is primarily picks.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Vasquez didn't play well last night, but he had been shivering in the first clash with the Clippers this season. And we won the game on that occasion. No fanfare. There are nights and nights...

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Shivering??? hahahahaha... Tremendous, of course!

Will
Will

Although these losses are bad and frustrating, many of the things that I am looking for in the long run are there: Anderson, other than tonight, is playing very well inside and out even as the #1 option. Rivers vastly improved his shooting from outside and is finishing many more plays he creates with his great quickness and ballhandling. Davis is showing effort, getting open, grabbing boards, making shots, etc. Lopez, while he may not be a piece for our future dynasty, capitalizes on his opportunities. A bad game from Mason, Roberts or the SFs don't seriously factor into the future. And the aura of Jason Smith wore off early and Blake Griffin went into his typical offensive foul showboat-y dunks game. I'm ready for us to add some pieces because games against the Clippers always seem more passionate; it could be a fun rivarly.

Hank
Hank

Am I the only one that has noticed that AD has his hand up calling for the ball on almost every play? and on TV it seems like he is actually open almost every time. is he just not being seen or does the camera angle make it appear like he's open when he really isnt

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

He is open in the sense that nobody is right next to him, but not in the sense that there is an open passing lane between him and the man with the ball. This is where a quick PG is invaluable, because he can get to spots that create those angles to get Davis the ball. He would have 3-5 additional easy buckets/lobs a night if CP3 or Rondo was our PG, put it that way.

Hank
Hank

how much quicker is carte Williams than Vasquez?

shauna m.
shauna m.

you complain too much, boys. I looooooove Vasquez. he's aware of his limitations. and the intensity he shows on the court are even moving. he's gooooorgeous!! ahhhh

Chris
Chris

I was very excited about this game, because I despise the Clippers and also couldn't wait to see Davis go up against griffin. I saw the True or False question asked on twitter about Davis already being better. I think looking at the stats and the match-up last night, I think it can be said with confidence that Davis is not all that far behind griffin and will surpass him in the not too distant future. If Anderson's shot would have been falling this would have been a different game. He has been a big time crutch for this team and him not having it really hurt. Not faulting him though. He has been great and he is just tired, understandably. This game also showed how good our front court can be and once the back court can be shored up things should get a lot more fun. Really looking forward to the basketball this team will be playing in the new year with what will hopefully be a more solid and consistent rotation with Gordon back in the mix.

mateor
mateor

Am I alone in wishing CP3 well while being thankful he is no longer on the team? I wouldn't want to be the one paying his next contract into his thirties. He is a Great player, but is creaky already and looks old as is. He may have a great decade left in him, but I wouldn't want my team to bet it all on that body. Little guys take a beating and playing well into your thirties is an exception, not a rule. And I think he wants out of LA too, though. He would have signed an extension. Once the GM who brought him in bolted for Portland of all places. Portland has fired every GM they have had over the last five years, it has just as bad an ownership as the Clippers. He must think that the Clipship is going down. Why would CP3 want to stay on a team that wedded to Blake Griffin, Del Negro and Sterling? I had always expected him to sign with Charlotte. I don't know if they will have the pieces for him to do that by next year, though.

macs21
macs21

He doesnt rely on athleticism so what would be wrong with paying him until the age of 32? That's hardly well into his thirties.. Also, the new CBA makes it inadvisable to sign and extension, so anyone using his refusal to do so as evidence of discontent should take a look at the contract. Same reason no one (who wasn't on a rookie contract) considered to be a top/top-and-a-half tier player has signed an extension since the beginning of last season. Long story short, if he's available he'd be the first guy I'd want to the hornets to sign. Then we could go ahead and trade some of our usable bench guys for a decent SF and we'd be good to go

Mike P
Mike P

Blake Griffin did nothing to impress me last night..every good thing he did was started by CP3. Also did a swim move in transition on Lance Thomas for that alley-oop. Rivers/Vasquez were both bad last night, but I thought Anthony Davis played very well. Lopez obviously had a good game

JayDogon
JayDogon

Horrible showing but it was once again great to see Eric Gordon courtside at this game and hear his and Dell's interview and all the positive comments. We were down by like 20 late in the game and Eric Gordon was still smiling, all I want for Christmas is Eric Gordon to become the NBA's Cal Ripken Jr! Geaux Hornets

Ken
Ken

Can someone explain why McGuire plays more than Aminu? I don't see anything to justify that? Am I missing something?

JayDogon
JayDogon

McGuire is more known for his defense and the one thing he has done thus far is play with energy which is what Monty wants night in and night out. It's sending a even greater message to Aminu and Xavier about where their NBA futures may be headed. If this doesn't get them going it's likely nothing will. Though I contend Aminu doesn't have a chance in hell at getting better until he locks himself in a gym and makes that jumper at least somewhat formidable during the summer but he should be better defensively than what he's shown lately.