Hornets win back-to-back games for second time all season with 95-88 victory over Spurs

Published: January 7, 2013

Led by Eric Gordon’s 24 points (including 8 in the game’s final 8 minutes), New Orleans held off San Antonio at home to hand them just their 10th loss of the season.

In a game which the Hornets never trailed after the midway point in the 1st quarter, that lead never quite seemed safe until the final two or three minutes. With all of the Spurs’ shooters, they can close fairly substantial gaps in a hurry, but New Orleans would have none of that tonight. Finally with a play-maker to trust down the stretch, Eric Gordon looked confident and comfortable with the ball in his hands and made sure that the Hornets would not relinquish their lead. Besides Eric Gordon stepping up, let’s see how the Hornets fared in the three keys to the game:

  1. Pressure the ball around the perimeter. Put a giant check mark next to this one. The Hornets forced 19 Spurs turnovers and held San Antonio to just 28.6% (6-21) from beyond the arc. As usual, the Spurs moved the ball around well, but the Hornets were quick to recover and made them work hard for almost every shot they took, resulting in just 20 assists as a team. Heading into tonight’s game San Antonio was averaging a league-leading 25.3 assists per game; for comparison’s sake, 20 assists per game would rank them 4th worst in the league. Great overall effort on the defensive side of the ball from New Orleans tonight.
  2. Own the defensive glass. There was a point in the fourth quarter when I started to get worried after a couple offensive rebounds led to five Spurs second chance points, but for the game overall, the Hornets did a pretty good job rebounding San Antonio misses. The Spurs collected 9 offensive rebounds on their 40 missed shots, giving them an offensive rebound rate of 22.5%, which is basically right in line with their 28th ranked ORR of 21.5% heading into tonight’s game. After a 5-rebound first quarter in 9 minutes of action, Robin Lopez played just 11 more minutes over the game’s final 3 quarters, adding just one more rebound to his total. Aminu picked up where Lopez left off, pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds (all defensive).
  3. Take advantage of open mid-range looks. Another giant check mark here, as the Hornets made 10 out of 15 attempts between 15-19 feet, according to ESPN.com’s shot chart. Jason Smith and Eric Gordon led the way here, making all eight of their combined attempts from this distance. In typical Spurs defensive fashion, they only allowed five made 3-pointers and twelve free throw attempts; on most nights, that would be good enough to get a win. Fortunately, the Hornets had the mid-range game going and also won the points in the paint battle as well, which was enough to offset their lack of scoring as a result of threes and free throws.

Other game notes:

  • Thanks to an offensive rebound rate of 32.6%, the Hornets doubled up the Spurs in second chance points, winning that battle 20-10. Davis, Lopez, and Gordon combined for 10 of the team’s 14 offensive rebounds. New Orleans wasn’t just preventing the Spurs from getting second chances to score, they were creating those kind of opportunities for themselves as well.
  • In all four of Eric Gordon’s games this season, Ryan Anderson has attempted at least six 3-pointers. In all four of Eric Gordon’s games this season, Ryan Anderson has made at least 50% of those 3-point attempts. Coincidence? I think not. As a team, the Hornets bounced back from 1-8 shooting from 3-point range in the first half with a 4-5 showing in the second half, and all four of those makes were big.
  • For one of the first instances so far this season, I can honestly say that I am pretty satisfied with Coach Williams’ player rotation tonight. Aminu getting more minutes than anyone on the team is a little strange, but apart from that, the second unit that should be playing (Roberts Rivers Thomas Anderson Smith) was the one that Monty used. Hopefully, these same guys keep playing, as it’s the best way to develop potential. I’d like to see a little less Aminu and a little more Xavier at the 3 just to get a further evaluation of whether that can work, but that’s nit-picking at this point.
  • Apart from Aminu being Aminu, the Hornets did pretty well in the turnover department tonight. As a team, they committed 15, but 5 of them came from Al-Farouq and most importantly, the Hornets’ bench committed zero turnovers in a combined 89 minutes of action. To be a good second unit, all it has to do often times is simply “not lose the game” for its team while the starters are off the floor; refraining from committing a single turnover is a great way to accomplish that goal.
  • There was a guy sitting next to me at tonight’s game wearing this. What? Why were any of those even made? Who would wear one? I was going to ask him to pass me some popcorn, but I figured that (in true Jannero Pargo fashion) he would probably just pretend to, try to eat it himself, & miss his mouth. Needless to say, I didn’t go out of my way to try to become friends with this person.

The Hornets go for the Texas sweep on Wednesday night when they host the Houston Rockets. Don’t you want to be in the hive to see it happen (along with the Hornets’ first 3-game winning streak all year?) I’ll see you there, and go Hornets!












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