Hornets wear down Trail Blazers in most lopsided victory of the season 99-63

Published: February 13, 2013

One night after a much faster paced game in Miami than the Blazers are used to, the team looked worn down from the start and never recovered. To make matters worse, Wesley Matthews was forced to leave the game after just a minute and a half with a rolled ankle, forcing Victor Claver (7.6 PER) and Will Barton (4.8 PER) into heavy minutes which they are both vastly unqualified for at this point in their careers. Aldridge, Batum, and Lillard combined for under 20% shooting from the field (7-36) for 21 points after going 25-43 for 67 points last night. Add it all up and you have a team that could only muster 63 points in 48 minutes, which will almost always result in a loss no matter how poorly the opponent plays. Fortunately, the Hornets appeared to get better and better as the game wore on, starting off great defensively and then adding strong offense to help with the beat down in the second half. Let’s take a quick look and see how much the keys to the game affected tonight’s outcome.

  1. Expect lots of 3-point attempts and box out when shots go up. The Blazers certainly didn’t let us down here, jacking up 17 three-point attempts and making just two. As far as boxing out when those shots go up, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Portland averaged almost two points per offensive rebound, a horrible number. The good news is that they only collected six total offensive boards on fifty (50!) missed shots for an offensive rebound rate of just 12%, so that two points per offensive rebound only means they scored 11 second chance points. Great job overall by New Orleans in this area.
  2. Work for high percentage looks. The Hornets doubled up the Blazers in points in the paint, finishing with 52 compared to Portland’s 26. However, it wasn’t Lopez and Vasquez doing the bulk of the damage inside, but instead Aminu, Davis, and Anderson who were a combined 12/21 from the paint. Overall, everyone on the team did their part to avoid attempting low percentage shots.
  3. Don’t be careless with the ball. New Orleans finished the game with only seven turnovers, about half of their per-game season average, resulting in just six points. Add tired legs to a team that already struggles at forcing turnovers, and they’re going to have a pretty tough time getting out in transition. The Hornets sweep all three keys to the game by a wide margin, and the result was a 36 point win.

Other notes:

  • Eric Gordon sat out tonight’s game with a “sprained hand”, and no one else seems to know much else about it (except my father, who apparently believes he hurt it when picking up his most recent paycheck). The Hornets seemed quite content without him, easily dispatching their opponent on both ends.
  • Fairly decent game from Rivers tonight, scoring 8 points on 3-6 shooting (including 2-2 from the free throw line!), but more importantly, he did not turn the ball over despite fairly heavy ball usage when in the game. Nice to see him under more control than he has been at most other points this season; hopefully it’s a trend that will continue and didn’t just happen because of a tired opponent.
  • Like most of the Hornets players, Anthony Davis started out slow, but had a monster second half. In the game’s final two quarters, Davis made 7 of 12 shots from the field to go along with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and only one turnover. He has needed a stretch like that for the past few weeks, so it was very nice to finally see him get it.
  • Aminu continues to play much smarter basketball, attempting all 9 of his field goal attempts from inside the paint. He finished one rebound shy of a double-double, and only turned the ball over once. It has been really nice to see some consistency from the Chief as of late.
  • Any time that Roberts, Rivers, Henry, Miller, and Thomas take the floor together, good things happen. That five-man unit is outscoring opponents by 13.7 points per 48 minutes. …okay sure, they’re only playing together during the 4th quarter of double-digit leads or deficits, but it’s still a fun stat!
  • At one point tonight, the Trail Blazers had just 31 points with seven minutes to go in the third quarter. That is 31 points in 29 minutes. Aldridge and Batum, the team’s two highest paid players, scored 9 points on 21 shots. No one Portland player scored more than 12 points or pulled down more than 6 rebounds. The team scored as many fast break points throughout the entire game as I did. Once again, not a good night at all for Portland.

The Hornets head into the all-star break on a high note after achieving their largest margin of victory this season. The team’s next game is another home one against the Chicago Bulls next Tuesday. Until then, good luck in Houston during all star weekend to both Anthony Davis in the rookie/sophomore challenge and Ryan Anderson for the three-point shootout!

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