Hornets Overcome Sluggish Start to Defeat Timberwolves 104-92

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Published: January 11, 2013

By the time the first quarter had come to an end, all you had to do was peak at the box score to understand Monty’s sense of desperation. The Hornets appeared sluggish on both ends of the court and coach Williams was left with no other choice than to try anybody and everybody. And I mean everybody. All 13 active players, including recently signed Donald Sloan got playing time in the first quarter as Monty tried to find somebody who would give this lifeless team a boost.

The Hornets stayed within relative striking distance due in large part to some fantastic outside shooting from Ryan Anderson and Roger Mason, but still trailed by double digits for the majority of the first half. With 6:37 left in the second quarter, the Hornets trailed 39-22 and Greivis Vasquez had just picked up his third foul of the half, so Monty was forced to pull him. Ironically, it was a blessing in disguise as Gordon moved to point guard and Mason filled in at the two. The Hornets offense came to life as Gordon scored or assisted on 12 of the Hornets points as the finished the quarter on a 18-7 run to end the half.

Vasquez came back fresh in the third and shouldered the majority of the load, scoring 7 points and dishing out 7 assists in the quarter as the Hornets outscored the Wolves 30-15 to take a 9-point lead into the final quarter. The fourth quarter saw the Hornets play with perfect balance, as the ball moved ¬†around the court beautifully, often ending in Jason Smith’s hands for an 18-footer that he was drilling with consistency. If you could somehow remove the first quarter from memory, the final 36 minutes of this game might be the best stretch that the Hornets have played all year.

Box Score

Other Notes and Observations

– Austin Rivers only got five minutes, and with the way that the other four guards were playing tonight, that was probably exactly what he deserved. Roger Mason is on fire right now and Brian Roberts is playing with a confidence that Rivers has seemed to have lost, and that is why he didn’t get any minutes tonight. But the guy still plays hard and he has a great smile.

– Lance Thomas is pure energy and effort. He stat sheet is not incredibly impressive but he dove for loose balls, played terrific on-ball defense and got a key rebound and put back as the Timberwolves were trying to come back in the fourth.

– The focus seems to be all on Eric Gordon, but lets not forget that Jason Smith came back at the same time and he has been playing like the old J-Smitty after recovering from shoulder injuries and Ryan coughing in his ear. 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting tonight with 5 rebounds in just 20 minutes. Over his last 5 games, 12.6 points on just 9 shots, 64.4% from the field, 4.8 rebounds in just 23 minutes and some great help defense.

– I dont want to move on from Smith yet. Sorry. He had one play in the 4th where he set a pick for Vasquez and both men trapped. Smith ducked down, looking like he was going to fall, so the help defenders didnt rotate over. He popped back up and rolled to the basket, where Vasquez hit him for an easy dunk. Dont know if this was planned or not. If it was- brilliant. If it wasn’t- let’s start to incorporate it Monty!

– The Timberwolves had an obvious game plan for Eric Gordon, and it was to try and turn him into a perimeter shooter. For stretches of the game it worked, and for the most part, Gordon didnt make them pay. He was only 2-11 outside of the paint tonight, but the good news is that he still found a way to get into the paint to get off some floaters or kick out to open shooters when the Wolves collapsed.

– Xavier Henry got to play. He tried hard and he is a nice guy. He also helped increase Derrick Williams trade value by allowing him to get some easy layups. Henry is still young and he will likely be very good.

– Robin Lopez will not get the credit he deserves after tonight because his stats arent overly impressive, but he slowed down Pekovic, who came into this game red hot. Pekovic still got his points, but he didn’t dominate the boards, and that was because Lopez kept a body on him for the majority of the night.

– Donald Sloan played five minutes and he did not fall down once. In addition, his last name is the same as the first name of my favorite female character on Entourage. Very good player.

– Honestly, imagine being a power forward in the NBA and you have to play the Hornets. You have to cover this human pogo stick in Anthony Davis and then he finally comes out. Do you get to take a break? Of course not, because now you have to defend the best 3-point shooter in the NBA. That’s gotta suck. No other way to put it.

– The refs…… You know what, I’ll let you all finish that sentence.

Aminu

Jason Smith Brian Roberts Jason Smith Aminu Eric Gordon Rubio FRIES!!!!!

21 Comments

  1. andregurov

    January 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    2 out of 8 photos feature Al-Farouq Aminu … and no mention of him at all in the article. He may never be what was expected (or at least hoped) of him, but his length, erratic-yet-explosive defensive effort, and rebounding really keyed the team. Perhaps the Hornets’ better offensive showings simply put him in a better position to rebound, but when he is paying attention and involved – like tonight against the former AK47 – this team is tough.

    Good showing to a well filled Arena tonight. Plaudits to all the players!

    • houp garou

      January 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Love the pic of the egregious stiemmsma flop, and yes farouq was big again tonight, playing d, cleaning the glass, and even perfectly leading a fast break at one point

  2. ImSorryMonty

    January 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    At one point tonight, it was 33-3 FT advantage to the Twolves. (To finish that sentence)

  3. RonJohn

    January 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Who’ll be good? XH or Derrick Williams?

    What kind of shots were AFA taking to make 5-7?

    • loudlikepat

      January 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Dunks. Lots and lots of dunks.

  4. loudlikepat

    January 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I like substituting the third quarter meltdown for the first. It gives us time to get momentum and close the game. Aminu did great tonight. Smith did awesome. Gordon was great while running point. Mason’s hot hand carried over from last game. What i really pray happens is one game where we are blowing a team out, bring rivers in and tell him to attack and shoot the rest of the game. Maybe he makes a few when the game isn’t on the line. Just a thought. Great comeback and fantastic ball movement. 4 straight. Keep it up pelcs.

  5. NolaHog

    January 11, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Aminu was a beast on the boards tonight, and I was so happy to see him get that steal and dunk to finish the game with a double double. Vasquez loves to throw lobs at him any time he’s even within sniffing distance of the rim. Jason Smith was locked in. I was glad to see him go back to his roots, taking that mid range jumper instead of the pump fake and drive. The shoulder must be feeling better, because he’s been on fire for the past 2 games. What’s up with Mase??!! This dude is in the zone! Gordon’s stats don’t even come close to explaining his effect on this team. No one plays as tight as they used to, because they all feel confident that Gordon can make something happen if any of them are having off nights. The effect is that they wind up unlocking their true potential, whether Gordon’s playing well or not. People laugh at me, but we’ll see. . . I feel this team will contend for that 8th playoff spot this year.

    • houp garou

      January 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Like your optimism hawg, I’m usually the most unbridled of optimists, but thats quite ahole they dug with that 11 game streak, etc. curious to see how we fare on this tiff east coast road swing….

  6. houp garou

    January 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    How about rivers tonight 5 min with no stats but 2 of the most ungawdliest to’s one could imagine….yikes

  7. NolaHog

    January 11, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Oh, and another thing. . . F@#k McDonalds!!! They try to hype their 100 pt promotion as “free fries, ” but its actually buy one, get one free. Thanks for nothing you cheap bastards. They shouldn’t even be allowed to handle the 100 pt promotion with shady BS like that. Popeyes, oh where have you gone?!

  8. jsl05

    January 12, 2013 at 12:08 am

    “Henry is still young an he will likely be very good.” What?

  9. ACStamp

    January 12, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Xavier Henry and Sloan….lulz

  10. RonJohn

    January 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

    We’re tied with PHX at 17 GB. Woo hoo.

  11. mojart

    January 12, 2013 at 1:29 am

    now this is what you called team basketball….everybody knows their role and everybody is willing to step up if the others is having an off night….were down at the 1st….but the never say die attitude is there and that results to a win…geaux hornets

  12. NOHrevolution

    January 12, 2013 at 1:59 am

    The NBA game time crew recapping the Hornets game (for like 20 seconds): “The Hornets, you know, the schedule has been nice to them, but hey, give them credit, they have to beat whomever comes in there”

    I think I might like it better if the national media didn’t even try.

    • sweetpea

      January 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

      They got important stuff to report, like Kobe’s divorce and Steve Nash’s latest trip to the bathroom.

    • thekeymaster

      January 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Funny thing is, is that the hornets have had the toughest sos in the NBA (.547 win % of opposing teams) and have managed to be competitive w/o having their best player for the majority of the season. For so called “experts” most of the NBA pundits are completely clueless. So far the Hornets have only played I think 5 of the bottom feeder teams (Cha twice, Sac, Pho, Was) unfortunately we’ve gone 2-3 against those teams but the rest of our wins have been against quality opponents.

      • RonJohn

        January 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Being -4.7 on PPG even after a 4 game win streak indicates that we’ve *not* been competitive in most losses.

        It’s what’s most disappointed me when comparing this year to last.

  13. sweetpea

    January 12, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Jason:

    How the heck do I update my avatar?? Got a cool pic of some of the fellas I want to use.

    Jack

    • Jason Calmes

      January 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I’ll post the instructions in Sunday piece.

      • sweetpea

        January 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        excellent … I await your instructions.

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