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Hornets Blow 22 Point Lead, Extend Losing Streak to 11

By:
Published: December 22, 2012
Robin Lopez

With 57 seconds left in the second quarter, Robin Lopez’s dunk gave the Hornets a 46-24 lead. It looked like it was all but certain that the ten-game losing streak would be snapped, the only question was how much the Hornets would win by on this final game before Christmas. By the end of the third quarter the game was tied, and when the final buzzer sounded the streak had been extended to 11. Gone was the team that played gritty defense throughout the first half, and in its place was that old Hornets team that misses rotations and reaches with their hands rather than moving their feet. Gone was the team that took care of the ball on offense. They had five turnovers in the entire first half and they matched that number in the first seven minutes of the second half.

It’s an all too familiar story for a team that has been abysmal at home in the third quarter this year. They came out flat once again, scoring a season-low seven points, going 3-16 in the quarter, including 1-8 outside the paint. Meanwhile, the Pacers lived in the paint during that crucial quarter, going 8-10 inside over those twelve minutes. After a disappointing first half, David West took his game to another level and punished the Hornets. It was a heartbreaking loss, that was in some ways similar and other ways different from the last time these two met. On both occassions the Hornets appeared to have the game clearly in their grasp, only to allow mental mistakes and poor execution to be their undoing.

It appeared that we would get the gift of a Hornets victory this holiday season. Instead, we look in our stocking and all we find is coal.

Notes and Observations:

– Robin Lopez was fantastic tonight, and in his matchups with Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi, he looks swift and agile. If he got to play Indiana more often, he would be an All-Star. In the two meeting this year, he has 45 points, 24 rebounds, and 10 blocks.

– Anthony Davis was up and down all game. He had some spectacular plays on the offensive end, but his jumper was off and he got push around on the baseline when he tried to operate down there. We can try to dissect his issues and try to overthink it, but it is actually quite simple; he just needs to put on weight. Not much you can do when you are banging in the paint with guys who have 30-60 pounds on you, most of it muscle.

– Vasquez dominated the ball down the stretch and probably took too many shots, but in all reality, what were his options? The Pacers suck down on the roll guys in the P&R and they kept a man on Anderson at all times. Rivers took one shot late and it missed badly. This is Eric Gordon time, plain and simple. If Vasquez assumes that role in the final 5 minutes, you are going to lose far more games than you win. They had David West, we had Vasquez, it’s that simple.

– In the Game Preview, I told you how important Roy Hibbert is to the Pacers and how getting him into foul trouble would be a key to victory. With 6:35 left in the first quarter, Austin Rivers took the ball strong to the rack and got hammered by Hibbert, resulting in his second foul of the game. The Pacers were forced to sit Hibbert as a result. When he went to the bench, the Pacers were down 4. When he returned 10 minutes later, they trailed by 13 and the Hornets had all the momentum. Plays like this barely show up in the box score, but they completely change games. Unfortunately the Hornets stopped attacking the paing (and/or the refs swallowed their whistle) and the game swung back in the Pacers favor.

– Lance Thomas is not a small forward by any stretch of the imagination, but he gives the Hornets the best chance to win at the position because he is so solid on the defensive end. His rotations are fantastic and so is his man to man defense. He was able to stay in front of Paul George most of the night and when he got caught on David West during a rotation, he held his ground and played him perfectly. Great job by Thomas tonight on the defensive end. Let’s hope he can add something he can rely on while on offense.

– Speaking of guys doing a good job on David West, Ryan Anderson really battled him for every minute he was out there early on. West was 2-9 in the first half, in large part because Ryno pushed him off of his favorite spots. Then in the second half, the Hornets ran Anthony Davis at West almost exclusively and he destroyed us. Can’t say I understand that rationale.

– Wanna see that sweet Anthony Davis reverse jam again? Here you go

– How about that Lopez steal and breakaway dunk? Here it is

– Our own Mason Ginsberg got to talk with Dell a little before the game and there were some nuggets in there. First of all, Eric Gordon has been cleared for full contact. Secondly, Anthony Davis is still growing people! Dell said he has grown half an inch since the summer and an MRI showed he still has room for growth. He could easily become a legit 7-footer. Finally, we tried to ask Dell about the buyout for Matt Carroll but he politely sidestepped the question. Two out of three ain’t bad!

– Confession: I started writing this recap at halftime. The original title was- ‘Hornets Snap Losing Streak, Crush Pacers’ . Maybe I am a jinx. My bad.

– Hornets don’t play again until December 26th. With the loss tonight, they now have the second worst record in the NBA and the January schedule is brutal. It might get worse before it gets better.

 

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33 comments
xman20002000
xman20002000

Look we got rid of JJ and Landry... making us a work in progress.. We now have a new owner and flexibility in making free agency moves... Aminu and Henry aren't extended... both young with expiring contracts.. neither is dominate in any area of their game.. Our biggest contracts are Gordon, Anderson and Davis.. Everyone under those is under $3M and below... Hopefully we keep Smith and Rivers are guaranteed but we are pretty flexible.. What do we have to trade... Aminu is a SF who needed to take the position as a starter... He can't do it.. Miller won't do it and Henry is... but all movable...

Justafan
Justafan

Demps and Monty are in charge of talent and we have none. A change there is what is required not needed. Talent level has consistently gone down under their leadership or lack there of.

504ever
504ever

So it is their fault prior management alienated Paul and West? That they inherited bad contacts they had to lose talent, or cap space this year, to get rid of? That Gordon is injured, again? You say we have no talent. I say that statement is way too strong.

mateor
mateor

Next year comes with clean clean books. Think about this team min that situation. A projected superstar in AD, one of if not the best contract in NBA with Ryan. A top three player with our pick, and max money plus versatility for additions. That is a crazy promising team. And I didn't mention any contribution from Gordon. Our starting five moves down into a second unit almost whole cloth.

Nola moondog
Nola moondog

I really can't take another season of this. Trade the pick for a good veteran SF, grab a PG in FA and lets start winning some games. Adding another 19 year old wont help us. I'm not even on the team and these losses make me just not want to watch the games, I wonder how the players are starting to get. Definate low point for the season.

LLHOPS
LLHOPS

There seems to be a disconnect in the players Dell has brought in and Monty's coaching. We are not bringing in guys that have natural defensive strenghts. Yet we play slow and take the fewest shots in the league. Weak defense and a slow offense equals many losses. I love Anderson and we may not have any wins without his offense this year but he's never going to be a great defender. Monty actually takes him out of close games at the end for D-leaguer Mcquire when he rotates offense/defense after time-outs. Rivers is a work in progress on the offensive side but he will never be a shut down defender. AD gets pushed around at this stage of his career due to lack of strength. Lopez and Vasquez are both slow footed. If we are going in this direction through the draft and free agency, then Monty needs to change his coaching philosophy and pick up the speed of the offense to offset these defenssive shortcomings. Not to mention Monty's offense is just hard to watch. You need to put a product on the floor that the fans want to see and will give you a chance to win more games.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

We had a lineup of Lopez, Davis, and Anderson up front for the final two minutes. We got turnovers and shots by Vasquez. Anderson touched the ball once, Davis once, and Lopez maybe once. All of those were near the 3-point line. No plays run to free Anderson or Davis, just each man fighting on his own to "get open". The Spurs showed us how to get men open. Movement, screens, cuts, and dives. We do none of this, especially in crunch time. We allowed the refs to kill our defense in the 3rd quarter. We need to keep playing even when the refs suck. If they are calling a tight game, that's when to drive to the basket and work the ball inside. Make them give us some calls. Instead we back up past the 3-point line, wait until no time left, and jack up a floater from 10 feet. Why did we not double West at the end of the game? Nobody else on their team could make a shot, but we let West keep the ball and step back with ease for 4 straight buckets. On the good side, Lopez had the team's best play of the year so far, and his best game as a Hornet. Strong defense and defensive rebounding!!!!

Ken
Ken

For the third time in three years Monty has benched a player who had been productive: thornton, Ariza, Aminu. Isn't it up to the coach to get the most out of his players? I don't ever remember Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich or Pat Riley benching players. I believe the Hornets' problems are twofold: a lack of talent and a lack of offensive creativity. The Hornets rarely get easy baskets. Their offense is predictable. Monty insists on relying on players like Henry, Thomas, Mcguire who have no talent. Dell Demps has not brought in enough offensively talented players to win consistently in the NBA. The bottom line is that Monty is a defensive coach who sacrifices offensive for defense and the team lacks enough offensive talent to compete in the NBA. They are simply not going to win in the NBA with Xavier Henry, Lance Thomas, McGuire type players playing major minutes.

Snow
Snow

Every time I see David West do his step back/fade away shot, it makes me miss him being a Hornet even more lol

mateor
mateor

I get upset when we win...next year I will be ready for W's. Robin Lopez is starting to make me think he has a spot in an actual winning NBA rotation. As a 2nd or 3rd big, but still. When you account for their pay and injury history, he is more valuable than his brother.

504ever
504ever

Guys, There is this thing called talent, and the Hornets don't have enough of it on their active roster. That is why we are losing so many games. Lance Thomas starting at SF is our best chance to win! Think about that. Then add in Rivers starting at SG and Vasquiez starting at PG also give us the best chance to win. Those three are all rotational players at best, not starters. Lopez goes 11-16 and the Hornets still shoot 40% from the field as s team!! This isn't a coaching problem. The problem is a lock of talent in the active roster.

Cris
Cris

Fan request: Wondering if the H247 guys can come up with our average 3rd quarter stats since Monty Williams began coaching the Hornets? There is a disturbing pattern of consistent poor 3 quarter performances, Blowing substantial leads is also nothing knew during his coaching stint. This not because of our talent level, these problems were present during his first season when Chris Paul & David West were around.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I'll see about working on that for an upcoming Sunday piece, but we looked at this to some extent before . . . there's not much there, at least this season. The hypothesis is that Monty is getting outcoached, right?

Cris
Cris

I can agree with that and obviously losing some key assistants in last 2 yrs has hurt, so we do need some changes in the coaching staff. Im not saying Monty Williams should be looking over his shoulder but he could adapt in some areas of his coaching and probably having a offensive wizard on the bench next to him can help.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Monty is in now way looking over his shoulder after signing that extension, but I whole-heartedly agree with the offensive wizardry.

Cris
Cris

Thats part of it and also not having Gordon on the floor. But I think our offense is slow paced and has no intensity, we have a young team so we should be pushing the offense quicker. Ryan Anderson can hit quick shots and we know about Davis, Rivers can create for himself. Vasquez soaks up too much clock and dibbles too much, and maybe that's also to do with the plays that are been run. We desperately need a guy at SF who can hit his share of jump shots and spot up 3's, guy like Chase Budinger or Dorrel Wright.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I fall in the `lack of talent' camp rather than `lack of coaching' camp in term of what the larger issue is. I think the coaching staff needs some changes, but I think Monty is just fine. Gordon, Lewis, Carroll (laugh if you want, but he made more than Smith) not contributing while preventing other talent from playing is murdering this team.

Will
Will

At halftime I said we better not blow this lead and lose, more jokingly than seriously. But of course, they somehow made it a reality. I just wish EJ could take off the jacket and play in his tie and dress shoes. I know this is a transitional year but these losses are starting to blow.

mojart
mojart

man...no excuses in these lose....7 points in a quarter is not acceptable....we don't make the necessary adjustments...i don't know what monty is thinking....defense wins you a game but winning also means we need to outscored the opponents....are we really tanking?can't accept hese defeat

Mike
Mike

I've hit rock bottom as a hornets fan. 7 points in one quarter is just unacceptable.

JayDogon
JayDogon

Also, just an observation, but it seems to me teams are starting to put their small forwards on RYNO when they don't have Centers that can keep up with him. If this continues, which it likely will, it is imperative that we get a small forward who can take advantage of being guarded by a slower power forward.

JayDogon
JayDogon

Pain, bruh, pain. I wish Gordon could have played tonight LOL. At least Robin Lopez's trade value is going up. He just outplayed a guy on a max contract. We need to trade him and our pick for a veteran. Trading the pick would also help us not feel so bad if EJ were to come back and we start winning meaningless games late in the year. Geaux Hornets.

Mike P
Mike P

Is there a reason McGuire played so little? All I really remember X doing is make a few really bad fouls at bad times. A couple of drives to the basket, one mid-range shot, I guess, but to me, you can't trust him to make the right decisions when things tighten up in close games. McGuire is a horribly bad shooter, and Thomas is non-existent (other than energy) on offense, but I'd rather either. Fewer mistakes. Rivers was definitely off tonight. Loved his aggression early, but he's gotta work on that mid-range shot and his confidence taking it.. the Pacers knew he wasn't taking it, and I think that contributed to his inability to finish. Vasquez hit a couple of big shots, but his shot wasn't falling most of the night, and he was too dominant on the ball.. then again, I didn't really see anything else we could do. There were some horrible lineups in the second half.. If Mason is in, we need Anderson and either Vasquez or Rivers in.. Lopez played great tonight, but he's not going to be creating shots.

Jordan J.
Jordan J.

I can hear the ping pong balls now...

deuceswild26
deuceswild26

FWIW, this recap story could have used a final score or a season record. You alluded to both but never said what either were.

LLHOPS
LLHOPS

Coaching is more than just the head coach. We lost Micheal Malone a two years ago to the Warriors. He's one of the best assistants in the league and will make a good head coach soon. Then this past offseason we lose James Borrego to the Magic. Another quality assitant leaving Monty's staff. The Warriors and Magic are both having better than expected seasons. Bottom line is the Hornets coaching staff today is not as good as it was Monty's first season. Monty's pace is so slow that we would need the '89 Pistons defense to win consistently. Of course we don't have anywhere near that type of defense. I like Monty personally but the fans are getting tired of this boring offense and these long losing streaks are getting old.

NOS-3RD GEN
NOS-3RD GEN

I absolutely agreed with you "LLHOPS". Now Usually I put words likely Monty needs to fired or demoted, but what we need "Coaching Wise" is an assistant coach with an "offense mentally" to balance things out. And I'm not worried about the loses I'm already focused on the Off-season and The Draft. Thknk about it two top 5 draft picks back-2-back seasons. I can't wait.

xman20002000
xman20002000

It's not Monty its the guys with the ball... Plus they seem afraid to take a shot... I noticed Coach yelling at Rivers for not taking a shot.. Miller seems to fear taking a shot preferring to pass... Coaching might be the answer...

td25t
td25t

Another 3rd quarter debacle...... Yes, I know were young and inexperienced, but this unacceptable and Monty and his staff should be the one's blamed. How can a team score 7 points coming off of halftime? Also, why is a Journeyman (McGuire ) getting playing time over Miller and Aminu? Yea, I know McGuire brings toughness and experience to this young team, but Aminu is still young and Darius is a ROOKIE!! I guess Monty is taking the same approach he did with Marcus Thornton; if you don't fit into his system you will sit. I'm not saying we need a coaching change, but Monty and his staff need to improve and we need to hire an offensive specialist as one of the assistant coaches. Hopefully Gordon will be ready sooner rather than later......

xman20002000
xman20002000

They look lost... and we can't rely on their shot at the SF position... We don't get enough points out of the SG either... Right its about EG...