Hornets dominate glass, finish off Celtics

By:
Published: January 16, 2013
Aminu

Eric Gordon didn’t play tonight, but the Hornets did what they have for the last eight games and limited their opponents possessions.  Ball game.

At first blush, you’d look at the fact the Hornets took 71 shots to the Celtics 74 and turned the ball over 2 more times, and you’d think I’m crazy.  Take a moment, however and glance at the free throw discrepency, and you’ll see there’s about 8 more possessions in the Hornets favor.  The main factor there is the Hornets control of the glass, as they grabbed 27.5% of their misses and 78% of their opponents misses.  Both of those numbers are well above league average and close  to what the Hornets have been doing over the last 8 games.  In game after game, this has been a deciding factor.

So if you find yourself asking how the Hornets won this without the “magic bullet” of Eric Gordon, that is your answer.  They played confident, tough, physical, and most importantly, energetic defense, crashed the boards, and won.

Al-Farouq Aminu

When Eric Gordon entered the starting line-up there was another new face back out there that night – Aminu.   Since returning to the starting five, however, Aminu has been playing with more energy and tighter discipline, turning himself into a plus defender in every aspect of the game.  If you can get offense from him at all, it”s usually just gravy for his Rebounding Turkey.  Tonight, the Hornets were running plays for Aminu.  Paul Pierce and Jeff Green just didn’t seem to take the Chief seriously, and he kept slipping baseline, receiving a pass, and taking a shot or getting fouled.   In the end, though he couldn’t hit his jumpers as usual, he drew no less than 13 free throws and finished with 18 points.  That’s some good gravy.

Greivis Vasquez

Fascinating game tonight.  Monty knew Vasquez would struggle against the pressure of Bradley and opened every possession to start the game with the small forward flaring to the wing to meet Vasquez and allow him to pass the ball over the top of the pressure.   This allowed Vasquez to then move, get a head of steam, or run off picks before catching the ball periodically and attacking.  No, he wasn’t perfect.  He did get picked clean multiple times.  There were multiple possessions where he couldn’t advance the ball – but by utilizing whomever Pierce was guarding, Austin Rivers, and Roger Mason, Vasquez was able to be effective enough until the end of the game, when heads up play and the use of Bradley’s own aggression against him allowed him to break the Celts final run and finish off the game.

Other observations

  • The Celtics are the most jump-shot centric team I’ve ever seen.  The Hornets didn’t allow many clean threes, clogged the paint with their bigs and let the Celts shoot jumpers.  It’s a major reason for the free throw discrepency.  Their bigs, particularly Bass and Garnett, even step back when they shoot.  No going to the basket.
  • I’m proud of Henry and Aminu.  One of the Celtics favorite plays is to run cross screens with Pierce and Garnett that has Garnett slam roughly into Pierce’s man to either start a post up for him by the basket, or let Pierce flare for a shot.  The Hornets switched that all night, which meant Henry and Aminu had to take Garnett’s hits, funnel him away from the basket, and generally muscle him for several vital seconds.  They were up to it all night.  Henry, in particular, didn’t back down a second to Garnett.
  • Lopez has great footwork in the paint.
  • Anthony Davis put up a 27-minute 10-10-1-1-2 line on five shots and had exactly one play explicitly ran for him.  The rest he simply made himself available for and finished. The Kid just impacts games.
  • Brian Roberts rolled his ankle in the second quarter.  It looked ugly.  Let’s hope he’s not too badly hurt.
  • With Gordon and Roberts out, that set up Rivers with lots of minutes and he responded with a solid game.   Eight points on six shots and an assist.  Zero Turnovers.  Spectacular?  No.  Baby steps, though.  Keep at it, rook.
  • 2-17 from deep for the Hornets tonight.  If they had done that earlier in the season, this game was a laugher in the Celtics favor.  It’s nice to see them figure out other ways to win.

Next game is Saturday against the Warriors.  Will the Hornets continue their winning ways?

23 comments
xman20002000
xman20002000

These are great comments.. one thing needing mentioning is the length inside... Lopez, Anderson, Davis and Smith plus

Wispy
Wispy

Could it be that the team is now starting to 'click' and know what coach wants out of evreyone? The team was practically all new faces at the start of the year and like anything it takes time to adjust to something new. Living in Australia I don't get to watch any of the games but reading comments on here it seems to me that the team is playing a better brand of basketball these last few weeks and the results speak for themselves. Lets hope the trend continues!

WhoDatHornet96
WhoDatHornet96

They are. Sorry you aren't getting to see it. Its unbelievable how much they have improved in these last few games.

BRballboy
BRballboy

Very enthused about team esp. Aminu. Liked his free throws last nite & heard on the tube that DWesley has been working w/him. Joke/true? If he could shoot j's w/same arch he shot ft's last nite he'd be dangerous. Do we have a shooting coach? Can Wesley double as one?

houp garou
houp garou

aside from the free throws and boards, aminu's d was freaking incredible last night. any guesses who we bring in to help out at pg? now we get to test that recent theory in espn that said any shlub off the bus would be better than rivers

houp garou
houp garou

did sloan sign elsewhere or is he coming right back?

houp garou
houp garou

alright scratch all that, I see we still have sloan. mistakenly thought I heard we had lost him

NolaHog
NolaHog

The Hornets are no longer in last place in the West!!! Again, people scoffed when I mentioned playoffs, but this is a new team that's improving, as opposed to the other bottom dwellers in the league that will continue to play poorly. Hornets won a VERY physical game tonight. Vasquez has his speed limitations, but the dude is cagey, and finds ways to make an impact. When the fourth quarter started and we needed clutch scoring, he took over, and looked like a more competent floor general than Rondo. I LOVE BEATING THE CELTICS!!! Garnett probably had to cuss him self to sleep last night!

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

But I also love beating the Celts because their fans are the biggest A-holes in the NBA hands down.

WhoDatHornet96
WhoDatHornet96

Celtics and Lakers have and will always have the most bandwagon fans out of any team in the league. OKC and Miami are on the rise

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Maybe so, but there are way more fair weather Celtics fans in New Orleans and they are annoying as the ****, even compared to Lakers fans. There are barely any OKC fans down here.

RonJohn
RonJohn

Not trashy or necessarily mean, just very annoying. Hmmm. Polite fans of a very successful team?

WhoDatHornet96
WhoDatHornet96

OKC fans are the worst. Most of them I've talked to are oblivious to the rest of the NBA and very very cocky. Not trashy or necessarily mean, just very annoying. I really don't like OKC

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Oddly enough, Garnett was fairly lighthearted and had quite a few complimentary things to say about our rooks.

joshuaclause
joshuaclause

I think the reason for rivers success last night was due to him driving to the middle of the lane and shooting early to make the shot instead of being underneath the goal to shoot..eventho he didn't get contact calls for free throws nice job for Rivers tonight

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Aminu! 13 FREE THROWS!? You serious son? Dude was flat ballin tonight. Hopefully Monty can use games like tonight to remind AFA of what he can be when he's going through his usual ups and downs. Man it is nice to have a big man (yea you Lopez) that has legitimate post moves. That said, man it was a big bummer to see Roberts go down tonight. He has been a more efficient Pargo for us of late and was really doing a nice job leading the 2nd team. He has improved leaps and bounds throughout the season in my eyes and has proven to have some pretty huge cajones to boot. I am praying that Monty lets AR25 run the 2nd team though, because if we get treated to a healthy dose of Donald Sloan (15-20 mins a night?) we are going to be in BIG trouble. Last note: Anyone else notice that when Roberts went down, Doc chose to send AFA to the line instead of his 56% FT shooting son? I mean, I'll take it but if I'm a Boston fan I'm kind of ticked he'd so obviously let his feelings get in the way of winning.

RonJohn
RonJohn

Austin Rivers' stat line looks... odd. 0 rebounds? Did he make a defensive impact that doesn't show in the stats? Also, our SGs got 67 minutes, but SFs only 30. Was Lance Thomas so ineffective that Monty ran 2 SGs when AFA was resting? GV's stat line doesn't look too impressive, but he must have been doing something right to be +10. (41 minutes? He's gonna sleep well tonight!) AD's stat line looks good, but he was -7. What's up with that? (Of course, Kevin Garnett was 7 of12 and -26.)

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

Lance had trouble guarding Paul Pierce. Monty also chose to run with Henry a lot because he was physical enough and had more speed. Pierce isn't exactly an athletic freak anymore. AD was in at the start of the game, when the Hornets missed a bunch of threes and had 4 turnovers. It impacted his +/-.

RonJohn
RonJohn

It impacted his +/-. The problem is that he has a lot more minues than plusses. (In the 12 games since 26-Dec -- when we broke the 11 game losing streak -- he's only had 4 "+" nights while the team has 8 wins

houp garou
houp garou

as for austin normal d, there was a real funny moment captured on fox's "sounds of the game" segment which austin was miked for (maybe ?!?). He was guarding pp who told him "here comes your welcome to the nba moment" before promptly blowing by austin for an easy bucket xhenry played at the 3 to help guard pierce. ad's =/- is an anomaly as he was very effective on both ends of the floor. clearly the hornets d was solid all around and the + - is skewed based on the few times celtics got hot especially jason terry, and in anthony's case, kg. though hitting long jumpers several times in a row does not necessarily mean your opponent is doing wrong, they goaded you into taking the shot they wanted you to, it does hurt your + -

loudlikepat
loudlikepat

All the reports I've read said EG was out with knee soreness. I assumed it was the smart resting on back-to-back games. I'm hoping that it was just the fact that he played so many minutes last night that his knee wasn't great and they were playing it safe,as they should. Should I be worried? Nonetheless Great 3 and a half quarters of basketball. Oh, and AMINU!