Hornets crushed in Paint by Rockets

By:
Published: January 2, 2013
Robin Lopez

A lot of the wind went out of my sails when I found out Gordon wouldn’t be playing in this game tonight.  The Hornets had said they’d probably do this when he came back on back-to-back game nights, but then Monty said something about adjusting Gordon’s minutes against the Rockets.  Didn’t know he’d adjust them in that way.

The loss tonight, as always, rests on the Hornets defense.  Lin and Harden – and Parsons, for that matter – were regularly getting past their primary defender, whether it was Rivers, Vasquez, McGuire, Mason . . . whatever, you get the point:  If it was a Hornet perimeter player, they weren’t putting up much resistance.   That forced the Hornets bigs to rotate, which gave a dump off to another big or a close shot for the guard.  The Hornets bigs did a good job contesting those shots – but there is a reason why shots at the rim are high percentage.  The result was 60 points in the paint for the Rockets.  An average NBA team gets about 34.

It’s a shame, too, because the Hornets were really scrapping for rebounds and giving it everything they could.  They scratched and clawed and ended up tying it with a few minutes to go before being unable to keep up the scoring pace.

Observations

  • The Hornets starting five has to change.  Someone needs to sit down for Anderson or Mason.  The spacing is atrocious, and though Lopez had his offensive game going tonight to start, it’s still a struggle to play like that.  Or maybe I should shut up and wait for Gordon to get into the starting lineup.
  • Anthony Davis was a -14 for the game and he earned it.  Of all the Hornets bigs, his rotations were the worst.  In the first quarter he didn’t even seem interested in coming over to help.  Later in the game, it got better, but that level of effort is winning no games.
  • Robin Lopez had a nice game against Asik offensively, and was doing really well on the boards.  The reason he didn’t show up much in the second half was, as usual, his inability to get back and defend the rim on the pick and roll.  The Rockets guards – and as the roll man – Asik just flew by him.   They got by Anderson and Smith  too – but those guys usually scrambled back and made a contest of it.
  • Vasquez had a good game finding jump shooters all night as the Hornets forwards were hitting at a decent clip.  They tried using him at the point of attack in the fourth, but after he was stymied three possessions in a row and couldn’t get past the three point line, they started using him to set picks and got the ball to Ryan Anderson to start the offense.  Once they posted Vasquez and let Anderson pass in to him.  That worked a little better.  Let’s see more of it.
  • The Hornets really need to start making their free throws.  Davis and Rivers were 1-8.
  • Speaking of Rivers, he was terrible, following his stinkbomb against Atlanta with another tonight.  If your primary ability is going to be driving to the basket to draw fouls, you might need to hit those foul shots.  Coaching legend Tex Winter always counted two missed free throws as a turnover.  We apply that to Rivers and he had more turnovers and fouls than points.
  • In my Keys to the Game, I mentioned not to go against Asik on the pick and roll.  The Hornets did tonight – and you can’t avoid it entirely – and managed to score on exactly one quarter of those possessions.  Asik is a monster when he’s not shooting layups or free throws.
  • Jason Smith is still hurting.  You can tell by the way he carries that shoulder.  Regardless, he was throwing his body around, and the Hornets defense was so much better with him out there.  Even if the rebounding got worse.
  • Aminu played 31 minutes.  Honestly, he gives you more offensively than Lance Thomas does.  Tonight, he seemed more locked in defensively and gave good energy.  At the end of the game, he was forced into taking long jumpers and missed them badly, but really that was because the Hornets first and second efforts had failed to produce anything at all.  If I had to pick my poison from the Hornets SF position, I guess right now I’m taking Aminu.
23 comments
Josh
Josh

This game and the Atlanta game really show us that Either Lopez or Smith need to go for a big, big man.

NOS-3RD GEN
NOS-3RD GEN

I don't know this smells like a TANK job to me. We are doing so bad right now and somebody is not fired. A plan is in the works here. I can't wait 4 it to unfold.Its either we're sucking cause we suck, we suck because of bad coaching, lack of leadership, and development, or because we're tanking. Well I say "Long Live The TANKING."

Chris W
Chris W

When I saw Gordon wasn't playing I nearly panicked until I realized what the purpose was. I am all for the cautious approach they are taking. Much like the Toronto game I feel like if Gordon is in the game it is a different outcome. While I would say Harden is better than Gordon, he still would have been able to hang with Harden on both offense and defense better than anyone else on the Hornets. I totally agree with needing to have a legitimate starting 5. I wasn't a fan of Anderson coming of the bench after playing so great as a starter. Once Gordon starts, I would hope Anderson is in there as well. I feel like that combo would produce some really good results since both those guys can shoot or take it inside and defenses will really have to pick there poison. Maybe Anderson at the 3 spot with Gordon, Vasquez, Davis, and Lopez?

davesmall
davesmall

Considering they were missing Gordon, the Hornets played pretty well and hit their shots from outside. Asik and Harden are monsters. So many of the pundits picked the Rockets to be cellar dwellers but they're playing well for such a young team. Asik had no offense in Chicago but must like the water in Houston because he's putting up double doubles.

hornetshornets
hornetshornets

Is Anthony Davis hurt? I noticed the tape around his wrist and he has missed an unusual amount of FTs recently (1-8 in the last 3 games). As far as Austin Rivers, when he missed those four free throws to end the half and hunched over, it just felt like he hit rock bottom. If he has really been working hard and these are the results, I feel for him because nobody wants to fail, especially those who work the hardest. That being said, if he doesn't produce something, I just can't see how he can have a rotation spot next year. I really hope Dell can take that $17 mil this summer and fill in the SF hole and wing depth because I would say there's about 4 rotation spots where we are inadequate and that's why Monty plays 11 guys hoping there's an answer somewhere.

Ken
Ken

Monty seems to bite off his nose to spite his face at times. Aminu is obviously the best option at small forward. Lance Thomas, Xavier Henry and Dominic McGuire have no talent and have no business starting. Austin Rivers should have accompanied Miller to the D-League.

504ever
504ever

Did not see the game; was at the Sugar Bowl looking at updates on my phone. Why was Lopez with 12 points on 12 shots, and 7 rebounds, in 18 minutes not playing more? If no big defends the pick and roll better than any other, at least play the guy who takes high percentage shots and has a very high TS% (true shooting percentage). Right?

sweetpea
sweetpea

I thought Gordon said about a week ago he wasn't planning on missing any more time this year because of his knee.

mojart
mojart

please get us some wins.....

Jordan J.
Jordan J.

Like I said the last time we played the Rockets, every single time Harden does the euro-step it's a travel. Monty was actually yelling to the refs about it every time he did it. It's really difficult to watch with getting frustrated.

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