I went to both Denver games this season and the difference between the two were pretty stark. Totally agree with Bigeauz about Gordon, it just didn't feel like he was even there if he wasn't turning the ball over, same for Vasquez. I was really impressed with Rivers' ability to penetrate and his shooting looked a lot better than what we're used to seeing. I don't think people really appreciate how much better he seems to play without Roberts on the court. Long ways to go still, but you can see a kernel of competency there. Miller is really intriguing but I hated to see Aminu get so few minutes last night. Henry...Lord help us!
Turnovers Doom the Hornets in 113-98 Loss
The first thing Hornets play by play man Joel Meyers said after the final buzzer was, “Tough loss.” In a way, yeah, any game where you turn the ball over 22 times (versus 9 for the Nuggets) and allow 32 points off those turnovers (7 for the Hornets) and yet really only lose by 12, while on the road, and playing your third game in four nights is a tough loss.
But I look at this in a more encouraging light.
This game had the makings of a blowout and one that would occur quickly. Yet the Hornets hung tight for more than 3 quarters despite shooting themselves in the foot constantly. The game really only got away from them late in the 4th quarter. In the games against the Lakers, Jazz and tonight we’re starting to see this team come together and play well, yet still remind us of how inexperienced they are. And that’s all to be expected of a young team.
The turnovers are brutal. But Gordon isn’t going to have 5 every night, Rivers might eventually cut them down, Vasquez has been much better since Gordon has returned. And the team hung tough with the second fastest paced team in the league while on the road and playing poorly with tired legs. I like that. I’m encouraged by that. Right now it looks like the Hornets can play with any team in the league and if they cut down on mistakes they have a chance to win every night.
-Mr. Rivers came out aggressive tonight and looked like a different players. He also showed by he’s considered an experiment at point guard. His passes were stronger tonight which is something I’ve wanted to see out of him but he still struggles to get the ball where it needs to go. There were back to back possessions where he passed into Davis’ shins. Still, if he played like this every night (8 points on 4 of 6 shooting) I’d be happy. Now he just needs to consistently get to the foul line–and make his free throws.
-I’m not going to freak out about the turnovers right now, but if this happens towards the end of the season then there will be a problem. I need to see some ball security developed by the youngsters.
-In the first half especially the Hornets did a great job of denying the Nuggets offensive rebounds. This is difficult since Denver ranks first in that category. Davis and Aminu were the main reason as they grabbed 4 and 5 first half rebounds respectively.
-The bench showed up tonight! There we’re solid contributions by Anderson, Smith, Rivers, Miller and even Henry. Roberts sat tonight due to a coach’s decision and honestly, the second unit looked better without him. There seems to be more of a rhythm with Rivers playing the point. He’s doing his best to try and get his teammates involved (though he still misses obvious passes) rather than dribbling around then shooting.
-Darius Miller can pass. Expect his minutes to increase after his showing tonight. His play against Utah caused Lance Thomas to stay on the bench all night.
Let’s hear your take in the comments below.
Miller's passing has been a really pleasant surprise. I want to see more of that. I hope Monty runs a few plays where he is the set up/assist guy. And he can get good space off his fakes. Like what I'm seeing. Rivers looked like a work in progress, but someone who is actually progressing. Nice to see. Bench feels 50/50 on any given night. If they show up, we have a chance. If not, there's nothing we can do. Gordon just disappeared for most of the night. I know Iggy was on him a lot, but he's a max player, #1 offensive option, etc etc. He still has to show up.
When I saw two turnovers in like our first four possessions, I got worried. Gordon, who had them both, was not at his best tonight. While Rivers was a more efficient scorer tonight, he still had a 1:2 assist to turnover ratio which is horrible for a PG. Yes he is better than he was and yes I agree with sitting Roberts tonight, but Rivers is still nowhere near an NBA PG. And that is disconcerting. I still worry Rivers is a player without the skills to be a PG or SG in the NBA. For a coach's son, I am still surprised he doesn't know where the ball should go and/or doesn't get it there quick enough. That is not a physical skill. So his inability to master it scares me.
I thought rivers had twelve pts. Miller is a beast and is a solid backup sf. Davis played well. Gordon wasn't hot offensively tonight,and Lopez contributed as well. This season is about developing chemistry and we are getting better and better every game. If we add a few players before next year like Oden, this team has a bright future. Henry even contributed. Can't wait for the first season as the pelcs