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Hornets Give the Game to Warriors

Published: January 20, 2013

The New Orleans Hornets lead the Golden State Warriors by 2 with 70 seconds left to play in the game. One of the largest crowds this season is attendance after a series of things going right produced win after win after win for a team that could not do anything but lose in prior weeks.

The Hornets stopped the Warriors’ attempt to tie, so they have the ball and a small lead . . . a far better position than when they were 11 points down with 70 seconds left to play in the first half.

Davis inbounds the ball to Eric Gordon, connections between these two being too few for the taste of Hornets fans making this a wonderful sight. With no pressure, Gordon marches the ball up across half-court. Klay Thompson waits for him at the top of the arc, but does not press.




Davis sets a screen on Thompson after 10 seconds have bled out, leaving Ezeli on Gordon’s right, the direction the play is going. Thompson sticks with Gordon after a two step chase after Davis, so now Gordon is double-teamed beyond the arc after moving deliberately along the line to his right.

Someone is open, right? Yes. Of course. Four is still bigger than three.

Anderson has been given some cushion in the corner to Gordon’s right. Davis drifts back into the paint, ending up under the basket. Greivis races to the arc from the baseline to Gordon’s left, and Aminu is the in far corner.

Gordon passes cross-court and diagonally the ball to Jarrett Jack after 3 seconds, slowly following the guard as he earns two trips to the line, eventually converting both.

The issue here being, of course, that Jarrett Jack was traded to the Warriors this Summer. Warriors tie. 52 seconds left.

Ok. Tie game. Pressure on.

Jen Hale tells us that the plan is to force a switch so Gordon can get the ball and make a play.


Mason inbounds to Gordon. Thompson, again, meets Gordon near the arc but applies no pressure. Vasquez sets a screen about 6 seconds into the play. The smaller Curry sticks with Gordon. It’s an iso, and Gordon is dribbling while surveying the court. Anderson, again, is in the corner to his right but with less cushion than before. The other three are clustered in the far corner. Gordon starts to back Curry past the arc . . . Gordon crosses the line and makes his move. He takes a 20 footer with 10 seconds left on the shot clock, missing it short. Rebound: Thompson. Timeout: Warriors. 34.7 seconds left.

There’s time for a two-for-one, but the Hornets will be hip to that. Nothing easy.

Out of the timeout, Thompson inbounds in the frontcourt to a streaking Jack who left Vasquez in his dust. He curls around into the paint, drawing attention from Davis and Smith. The floater goes over them and into the basket. Less then 3 seconds expire. Hornets down 2, 31.8 seconds left.

4 point swing in two full possessions, mind you. Remember this.

This time, Vasquez bring the ball up. With 25.8 seconds left, Smith sets a moving screen. Turnover.

The Hornets have to foul at this point, which they do. Jack makes one of two free throws, growing the lead to 3 and leaving 22 seconds on the clock.

Mason inbounds to Gordon who is streaking with a trailing Thompson. He curls into the paint with Thompson now, somehow, at his side. This is looking a great deal like the Jack curl, and that turned out pretty well. A quick 2 here closes the game to one. Foul again if you can’t steal the inbounds, and keep it going. The Hornets have a timeout, so it can work. Gordon enters the paint . . . floa . . . no, pass to an open Vasquez . . . clang. Warriors rebound. Foul. Jack sinks both free throws. Down 5, 15.7 seconds left.

No miracles happened, but Mason missed a three and Gordon had the ball stolen from him by Thompson. Mason got a garbage 2 to close the game, bringing the final differential to 4.

Rewind . . . when could we see this unraveling? With 10:26 left in the game, Rivers got called for traveling (good call) when initiating a move against Jack. Monty very clearly told him repeatedly, gently, firmly: Slow down. This had to be repeated to others. It just had to.

That was the game. Monty even talked about the youth on the team showing tonight.

The upside of this is the the Hornets did this to themselves. They likely win if they don’t pile up mistake after mistake after mistake. Mistakes happen, and capitalizing on them is how teams win games in many cases. This is exactly why the Hornets can not simply manufacture more when the other team fails to do so on their own. I’ve heard of Southern hospitality, but this is excessive.

More good stuff . . . Gordon, Aminu, Anderson, and Davis all had good games. Rivers put up a good performance in his 14 minutes: 4 of 6 for 8 points with 2 assists, but with a cost of three turnovers.

Other bad stuff that has to get mentioned . . . Davis was 2 of 7 from the line. This free throw shooting woes continue, and I worry. Vasquez’ 15 assists compared to 2 turnovers were likely not enough to make up for his woeful shooting: 3 of 10, 2 of 6 from 3, no free throws attempted, for a total of 8 points on 10 shots. Also, the team shot 13 of 23 from the line, with half the misses coming from Davis. In a game where you lose by 4 (or 6 if you wish), even hitting free throws at that league-bottom 68.1% changes the character of the game. Meanwhile the Warriors went 30 of 35.

I can’t tell if this is good news or bad news . . . the Hornets out-shot the Warriors 57% (79 attempts) to 49.4% (77 attempts) and lost.

Besides free throws, no other stat really jumps out. They just gave it away, plain and simple.













  1. Pingback: Hornets Lose to Warriors, 116-112 | NOLA DEFENDER

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