Kendall Marshall played 20 minutes and had 3 assists. Austin Rivers played 16 and had 3 assists. I'll still take Rivers
« Game On: Suns @ Hornets
Hornets use strong 3rd Quarter to fly past the Suns with 93-84 victory
In a battle of the teams with the two worst records in the Western Conference, New Orleans protected their home court over Phoenix in their one home game between January 25th and February 13th. Before the game, Coach Williams expressed his desire for the Hornets to keep the team’s turnover total around 12. Mission accomplished, as the team finished with just 13 while forcing the Suns to commit 17. From a shooting perspective, New Orleans trumped Phoenix by a considerable margin, posting an effective field goal percentage of 54.7% on 75 shots compared to 45.5% on 78 shots for the Suns. Before we get to some of the game’s more intriguing individual performances, let’s see how the Hornets fared in the three keys to tonight’s game from earlier today.
1) Attack the offensive glass. After putting up a goose egg in second chance points on just two offensive rebounds (both by Lopez) in the first half, the Hornets kicked things up a notch in the second half. The team finished with 9 offensive rebounds (25% offensive rebound rate) but only 4 second chance points. Hard to be very happy with the team’s overall performance in the offensive rebounding department, though.
2) Remain disciplined on defense. Both teams lived up to their reputations in this regard, posting similar free throw rates of around .2 tonight – .227 for the Hornets and .192 for the Suns. Still, the goal was to keep Phoenix from getting to the line by refraining from committing needless fouls, and a free throw rate of under 20% means that New Orleans certainly succeeded in that regard. The 11-17 the Hornets shot from the line is an area that definitely could have been improved upon, though.
3) Work for open three point looks. True to form, the Suns allowed a surprisingly low number of three-point attempts, but in an odd twist, the Hornets shot a relatively low percentage on them, going just 4-14 (28.6%). Vasquez and Anderson combined to go 4-7 from this distance, but no one else could knock one down; Gordon and Roberts went 0-6 collectively. The Hornets’ output from beyond the arc was disappointing, but fortunately it ended up not mattering too much since the Suns went a horrific 1-15 from 3-point range.
- Despite struggling mightily in the first half in two of the three keys to the game – zero second chance points, -5 free throw attempt differential, & just two made 3-pointers – the Hornets still led by one point. Why? Thanks to one of the best halves of basketball Greivis Vasquez has played this year. He scored 15 points on just 7 shots while adding 5 assists and 3 steals, and did not commit a single turnover. The offense might not have reached 40 points in the first half without his stellar play. Vasquez finished with 19 points on 8-9 shooting, 12 assists, 4 steals and no turnovers, easily one of the best games of his season.
- Luis Scola dominated Anthony Davis in the first quarter, scoring 9 points on 3-5 shooting, but hit a wall after that. He converted just one of his final eight shots, finishing 4-13 overall for just 11 points. Davis appeared to realize that if he just used his length and kept from biting on shot fakes, he could successfully defend Scola. Nice adjustments made by the rookie defensively tonight, who also had a couple nice finishes on offense as well.
- Hornets starters not named Eric Gordon made 24 of their 32 shots for 54 points, while Gordon made just 3 of 14 for 9 total points. Not a good showing for Gordon against the team that tried to sign him away over the summer.
- Very nice game for Aminu tonight, finishing with 16 points on 9 shots to go along with 11 rebounds and just one turnover. Aminu has always possessed the athleticism to succeed in this league, but more than anything this season, he has learned to play smarter, resulting in more aggressive rebounding and higher percentage shots.
- Tonight’s game featured the two players with the league’s worst win shares per 48 minute averages in Austin Rivers (-.061) and Michael Beasley (-.046). No one else is anywhere close either, as the next worst player on the list is all the way up at -.016 (Norris Cole). Neither player was average tonight, but they weren’t that awful either; Rivers made one of his two shots and had 3 assists and one turnover, while Beasley scored 11 points on 12 shots with 5 rebounds, an assist, and 3 turnovers.
The Hornets now head to Atlanta for the first game in their three-game Mardi Gras road trip where they’ll take on the Atlanta Hawks.
I am happy about the win, but can't get too excited. Phoenix was on the back end of a road back to back and the Hornets has three days of rest. A loss by the Hornets last night would have been pretty bad.
Even when Gordon doesn't score the ball like his name suggests, he is a HUGH decoy and is usually double-teamed leaving someone open. That said, 58 mil is a lot to pay for a decoy. His perimeter defense is also above average though. All in all, he has made an impact while on the court. I'm just ready for him to be 100% healthy. Good team win, Amimu and Vasquez won the game for us. If Lopez plays like this every night, I would like to keep him. Unless we get Greg Oden.
The major conflict in this game for Hornets fans was which player was more infuriating to watch, Eric Gordon( be frank with me everyone are we going to have to swallow this contract until it becomes expiring ) or the old stand by Brian " have I been dribbling the last 21 seconds" Roberts