Great win, as all are. I'm liking what I'm seeing from Vasquez and Aminu. I still can't get over that last play in regulation.
Hornets top Mavericks in overtime
Only 33 games into the season, and Hornets fans get to see what might have been.
Tonight we saw a team that is better than the sum of its parts. Aminu is flawed – but when he can concentrate on rebounding, defense, and running the floor, he’s good. Vasquez is slow, but when he can attack thin guards or guards with his same footspeed (Mayo) then he can muscle them around and dominate. Lopez has athletic limits, but when he can play short minutes and concentrate on defense and rebounding and not being the primary offensive option, he’s solid.
Guys got to play to their strengths. It’s something we hadn’t been able to see a lot of this season.
First, we got to talk MVP of the game.
Another 25-7-9 for Vasquez – and this time with a single turnover. The Mavericks didn’t have a guard who could guard him tonight, as he simply plowed his way to the basket versus Collison or Beaubois, and used clever ball handling to get around Mayo. Throughout the fourth quarter, it was Vasquez that carried the Hornets as other options broke down and the Mavericks tried to make a run. Monty was so pleased with him, he called the final offensive play of regulation. No, it turned out poorly, but Vasquez was having that sort of game. He calmly stepped into some cold-blooded threes earlier in the quarter. And you know they were going in.
When the Mavericks really dug in and started running two players at Vasquez, the Hornets turned to Eric Gordon. That’s why he gets paid. After struggling all night with some awful outside shooting and several close misses we normally see him make, he had reached overtime having gone 1-9 from the field. Four shots, a miss, two free throws and an and-one later, and the Hornets walked out with the win. He gutted the Mavericks – and made Cuban mewl like a baby.
For the third game in a row, Davis struggled mightily. Novitzki worked him over, and the Mavericks did a great jump screening him on dives to the basket for pick and rolls. It made him nearly useless out there, and he clearly had no idea how to impose his will on the game. When Jason Smith came in and was playing phenomenal energetic defense and spacing the floor and hitting, Davis didn’t get back out there. And that was the right decision by Monty.
- Monty tried Eric Gordon at point guard for about two minutes in the second – putting him next to Roger Mason. It was a bit of a disaster. Gordon went to his spot, waited for the play to move, then tossed the ball. If the play broke down, he stood and watched. He wasn’t doing anything to make Dallas think he might take matters into his own hands at all. He just stood there, upright, surveying. It was a short experiment
- When Rivers gets to play against back-ups, he looks much better. Still can’t buy a bucket at a gardening store, but his defense was decent and passing is still good.
- Aminu was great. Having more than one playmaker on the court takes a lot of the pressure off of him to make something happen. 10 points on 6 shots, 13 rebonds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul. If he gave me similar numbers to that every night, I’d be happy with it.
- Can’t say enough about Jason Smith tonight. Energy, Energy and Hustle. Even when he was getting torched by Brand in the second, he wasn’t giving up easy shots, Brand was just shooting really well. Midway through the fourth, there was a defensive play that he completely failed to help out on, which literally shocked me. I was hoping he wasn’t hurt again. Monty called time out and pulled him. Enter Lopez for four minutes. Then Smith was out there for the game end and overtime. Key breather.
- I really like the Mavericks Announcers.
- Ryan Anderson was starting to break free from the Mavs – and then Carlisle did what you should do. He put a small forward (Vince Carter) on Anderson and had him stick to the Hornets big man. Open shots dried up. This is part of the reason I’m not really comfortable about the idea of Ryan Anderson playing minutes at the three.
It’s nice to get a win. Let’s hope it continues. Next game Monday, at home, to San Antonio.
Nothing is ever easy in the NBA.
I hope there is nothing wrong with Davis other than that he has hit the rookie wall. If there is a problem, the Hornets are in trouble because he is their future.
Am really happy about the win, Gordon in the starting line-up, and the overall play. I agree with the entire first paragraph ("Tonight we saw a team that is better than the sum of its parts....") except the part about Lopez and short minutes. Lopez played 28 regulation minutes, mostly in 8 minute stretches, and was efficient: 9 points on 8 shots, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist with 0 turnovers. Plus he was active on the defensive end. The question I think is more interesting is: What to make of Davis's limited minutes? It didn't affect Lopez and Smith, who split the center minutes. It did seem to give minutes to Anderson and Aminu. The team was clearly better without Davis on the court tonight. In his last four games, Davis has shot 13/34 (38%) from the field, 3/10 (30%) from the line, and averaged 7 points. Is he hitting "the wall" as we approach the game total in a college season where the games are more spread out? Is he less effective, offensively, in the PF role he is being asked to play? Is this because he needs to add 20 pounds of muscle to be effective offensively and defensive? Because he is transitioning to a face up offensive player and (struggling) to develop a perimeter game? I don't think it is a coincidence that Rivers looks better coming off of the bench. Would coming off of the bench help Davis for a period of time? In my opinion, the role of Anthony Davis in the next few weeks will be an very interesting storyline.
Funny you bring up Davis' numbers... published just a bit before your comment. http://www.hornets247.com/2013/01/06/a-little-light/
I'm wondering if his foot / ankle is bothering him. I've not been thinking of this for long, but I haven't come up with a better explanation for the poor free throw rate and the inability to get to the line. The overall scoring woes seem to be evidence as well, but the free throw thing is a pretty controlled experiment. What would cause it? This is a mid-season drop where he's converting around half of what he did before and getting to the line even less. That's a loss of nearly 80% of free throw contribution. I'm searching for another explanation. Ideas?
Great win, and Gordon will only get better from here! A few comments... Gordon closed out the game beautifully, but I was going nuts when he attacked and was about to shoot (before the foul) with 4 seconds left instead of waiting for the last shot. Vasquez was nearly unstoppable for most of the fourth. His post-game comments though really won me over tonight. He said he got too anxious on the last possession of regulation to win the game on his own. He also pointed out his two missed free throws as being unacceptable. But the best was this - "Great team win. Eric played great. That's what we needed, a closer. He won the game for us (in OT)" - recognizing his limitations, acknowledging he shouldn't be the "closer", going along with what Michael said on twitter about players recognizing their roles/proper places. Ryan Anderson....just too nice to watch. Random note: David Wesley was at my NYE party. Great guy, and it truly was awesome to have conversation with him.
Really want to stress how good Aminu was. Maybe it was because how bad his play has been recently, but tonight he was really good. His rebounding helped out and his defense was excellent. What little transition points we had usually came from his steals from jumping pass lanes. Really hope this play continues.
1) In what appears to be a long-term trend, the Hornets were -7 on blocked shots. Why is this? Why/how do Hornets shots get blocked so easily? 2) GV was the only efficient Hornet scorer tonight. (Well, AFA and JS kinda were, but they didn't shoot as much.) 3) AR was +8. Was this when he was running point and being a good passer?