Hornets Fall in Overtime to the Raptors After a Late Rally

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Published: December 28, 2012
Greivis Vasquez

It was a furious finish, but ultimately the Hornets fell 104-97 in overtime to the Raptors. Until about the last 5 minutes or so this was a very ho-hum game that featured interesting moments and highlights but lacked excitement. And then the Hornets started hitting clutch shots late and rallied from 11 down to tie it on an Anderson 3-pointer with 8 seconds left. Some people will say this was a confidence inspiring performance. Other will say it’s a deflating loss. Based on how the Hornets play tomorrow night against the Bobcats, we might find out which.

Observations

-The Hornets backcourt really had a tough time fighting through screens in the pick and roll tonight. In no small part due to the massive size of Aaron Gray. But it really hurt the Hornets tonight and allowed the guards to penetrate off the dribble.

-Not so fast, Damian Lillard. Anthony Davis still wants you to know he is in the running for rookie of the year. Despite two early fouls, Davis had another complete game. Davis really showed off his mid-range game–which is both a good and bad thing. I like that he has that in his arsenal, but I’d rather have him attack the rim. Davis chose a long two over driving on multiple possessions tonight–even though he had a good angle to attack. He certainly has the handles to drive and and I’d have liked to see that aggressiveness tonight.

Davis also played with great intensity during the Hornets rally. You have to love seeing that out of a rookie. If he plays with that intensity all the time, Davis will be an all-star sooner rather than later.

-A lot will be made over Vasquez’ near triple-double but he had an average game overall. His rebounds were largely inflated due to the fact that his height allowed him to grab many of the Raptors’ missed 3’s. I’ll certainly take his rebounds but it’s not like he was banging in the paint trying to grab boards. And then there were the turnovers. 6. I want to like Vasquez so much. I really, really do. But for every good play he makes, and there are times when he makes many, he does something to hurt the team. And it drives me crazy.

All that said, Vasquez looked great when driving to the rim on offense. A lot that was due to Monty’s masterful substitutions. Vasquez can handle Calderon on both offense and defense. And he did just that. But when Kyle Lowry was in Vasquez struggled. Lowry was just too quick for Vasquez on both sides of the floor. But Monty did his best to limit the potential damage and anytime Calderon was subbed out, so was Vasquez. It’s no shock that when Vasquez played great in crunch-time it was against Calderon. In overtime there were back to back possessions where Vasquez tried to take Lowry off the dribble. It resulted in two empty possessions. But late in the 4th quarter there a period where Vasquez went freaky clutch.

-Lopez cooled off offensively from his recent handful of games. He did a solid job on the boards in the first half but disappeared a bit in the 2nd. If he wants to maintain that consistent level of scoring he needs to develop another move than his little hook shot.

-The Hornets’ perimeter defense was much improved tonight. Part of that is the Raptors are not a good three point shooting team and don’t have a strong inside presence, but it was nice to see that most of the 24 3-pointers the Raptors took were contested tonight. And I’m glad the Hornets strategy was to not quadruple team Gray.

-The Hornets are now 0-17 when trailing after 3 quarters.

-Toronto’s bench massively outperformed the Hornets’ with a 49-31 advantage. Guys like Alan Anderson and Amir Johnson contributed while the Hornets got very little from Smith, Henry, McGuire and Aminu. The only two bench players who had an impact were Roberts and Anderson. The Hornets will hopefully get a bump in this area tomorrow with the return of Eric Gordon, but they are still far away fro being a deep team.

-I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to Austin Rivers tonight. I liked his aggressiveness when a bigman switched onto him. Fill me in with your thoughts in the comments below.

-I’m just going to quote this tweet from our own Michael McNamara: “Hornets quartet of SF’s tonight: 49 minutes played, 3 points, 6 rebs, 3 assists, 8 fouls.”

-In his post game press conference Monty had a good observation saying that there wasn’t a particular stretch which hurt them but that the Hornets hurt themselves throughout the night with their 17 turnovers which Toronto turned into 23 points.

-Monty also said, in regards to his rotations, that he is “just trying to find guys who can play minutes.” It seems like he is still experimenting his roster but he also noted that he might be playing too many people right now.

Let us hear your thoughts in the comments and hopefully the Hornets can rebound from this loss tomorrow night against the Bobcats.

Ryan Anderson Lance Thomas Austin Rivers Greivis Vasquez Bench Anthony Davis Austin Rivers Anthony Davis Greivis Vasquez Austin Rivers

31 comments
devon martinez
devon martinez

It's amazing how some writers of this blog are always looking for excuses to discredit the good numbers of Greivis Vasquez. They should be satisfied with the fact that our point guard has grabbed many rebounds. But prefer to belittle the Vasquez' work. That's what drives me crazy. And the fact that we have a player like Lance Thomas as starter should also be blamed on Vasquez? What do you think? You should be happy with Austin Rivers, which was destroyed by DeRozan. And this was clearly a factor in our defeat. But protected players cannot be criticized...

Jerry M.
Jerry M.

Rivers has been somewhat disappointing and his play has been inconsistent in his rookie year. He is looked to be an important part of the team for the future so I think it's important to give him the minutes and let him learn on the go. Hopefully Gordon will play hard and stay healthy to provide the spark on offense that the team lacks. The future looks bright but we will have to live with some losses for now to get wins in the future.

Snow
Snow

What I want to know is why is coach not playing Miller more? At least he's able to shoot the ball. On a side note, I hope Gordon plays tonight so we can see how lethal Gordon/Davis & Gordon/Anderson pick and roll will be!

Ben
Ben

I loved Monty's coaching in this game: 1) he finally let Davis jump. Sure it's small, but Lopez doesn't have much of a vertical whereas Anthony does and has the length. And he won the opener. 2) he was making very good subs. He tried to minimize the time Vasquez spent 1-1 with Lowry 3) he let rivers go out there as the sole person with the ability to run the point. I hope we can see this for at least a few minutes a game now and maybe for some extended time in certain games. 4) like Michael said on twitter, he didn't pull rivers after his horrible decision to pass. I'm sure rivers thought he was toast and Monty sent him back out there. As Michael said, that's thinking #longterm 5) he is very good at devising last second sh

Jack
Jack

Adding some of my observations. Davis, had some nice moves, especially the jumper is now improved and there was nice turnaround move that gives a 2+1 play at the base line. Bad move that popped into my eye was the one on Lowry, after he and Vasquez did a P&R, Lowry switched to defend him. Lowry was so strong, even at 6 foot, that he was able to back out Davis. Yeah, that hurt. I wish Davis can quickly getting bulky. Rivers, was able to driving to the paint, but having difficulty avoiding the block or kicking out the ball, that resulting(3BA+some turnovers). Bad decision making. For this one, I wish Monty can have the team practice more the penetrating and kicking out for Vasquez, Rivers, Roberts and Gordon. Simply driving and kicking out will be fun to watch, especially, when you have 3 guards on court.

Jack
Jack

Lowry is a very good point guard. I saw how he could force Davis to take a tough fadeaway jumper. The guy is a beast.

Ron
Ron

Suggestion: trade JSmith for a PG. Then we can dump AFA and move GV to SF. (Do I want to trade JSmith? Of course not. But you've got to give something of quality to get something of quality.)

Mike P
Mike P

Loved Davis's game tonight, but he's gotta stop driving baseline and leaving his feet. I'm not sure I want Davis driving consistently, unless he's one on one. Good ballhandler for his age and position, but he doesn't seem to be able to dribble in traffic. Gotta get a clear out and use his quickness to beat his man. Don't really want too many jumpers, though I like him taking the open ones without hesitation. Has improved a lot in his defensive rotations, and I wish other teams would stop using his man to set screens so much.. it takes him away from the basket, and that could be by design. Anyway, tough loss, but excited to see how we do with Gordon

Hank
Hank

I think Davis' blocked 3 that would have iced the game in regulation may have been even more clutch than the 3 made by anderson.

Icebird
Icebird

Rivers had several possessions where he did a great job penetrating to the hoop - but it seemed like every decision he made after penetrating was the wrong one. A couple of times he took shots (that missed) when he probably could have made a short pass to Davis or Lopez for an easy basket. Then when he did decide to pass in the paint, it got intercepted by Lowry (I think) who turned it into an easy transition basket at the other end. He did connect with Davis for a gorgeous alley-oop play to give him credit.

SP
SP

Rivers actually looked pretty good tonight. His shooting mechanics are bad (especially considering his Dad is an NBA coach who played in the league) but hopefully that's something the staff will address in the offseason. He made a couple of errors which ultimately put the game out of reach but he was by no means the reason for this loss. Davis is getting better with every game he plays, it would be nice to see him on the court a little more (around 36 minutes per game would be nice). Also nice to see Ryan get a couple of bounces going his way - I'm very excited to see what this team looks like with EJ in the mix!

Mickey Chatman
Mickey Chatman

I liked the stretch in the 2nd where Rivers ran point. I liked what he has to offer but he has to go through a lot of growing pains first. We are really hurting at the 3. This is very painful. I honestly believe Vasquez should play the three more. Like the three guard rotation we run, I say Rivers at the 1, Gordon 2, and Vasquez 3. I have to say I respect Vasquez game but I don't like him at point. He is really bad at initiating anything other than a high pick and roll. There was a number of times I watched Davis ask Vasquez why he doesn't pass to him. I believe that Vasquez can be successful if he stop looking to score so much. I almost get the feeling that he's trying to pad his stats

504ever
504ever

I am shocked Rivers is +13 tonight. He had an assist to turnover ratio of 1:3, which is horrible, plus he missed a number of chances to pass to bigs when he drove. He had some nice shots, but overall shot 41.5% from the field and missed both free throws. Thankfully Rivers won't be playing 36 regulation minutes with Gordon returns to the team tomorrow night.

Ian H
Ian H

Vasquez had a great statistical game but I 100% agree with your statement that he was average at best tonight and his performance in OT was putrid. He was a black hole on Offense and they couldn't hide him on D in OT. Rivers made some nice plays in the lane but I think the pundits have him thinking way too much. His up and under move in lane should have been a shot but since everyone thinks he is so selfish he made a concerted effort to pass the ball there and it was a turnover. But I do like how disgusted and dejected he was. It matters to him and I can appreciate those mistakes as a 20 yr old. I wish Monty would be as impatient with Vasquez as he is with every other perimeter player. SF position is worst in the NBA and its not even close.