During a pair of back-to-backs, Vasquez showed why he’s not the Hornets/Pelicans’ point guard of the future. The Bulls won in the Arena on Tuesday primarily because of defensive pressure in the second half, much of it applied by Kirk Hinrich on Greivis. Most of the time during the fourth quarter, there would be only 14 seconds left on the shot clock by the time Vasquez – with Hinrich buzzing around him like a gnat -- got down the court and found himself at the top of the key to begin his offensive possession. This led mostly to forced shots – and a low shooting percentage. Then, last night, against the Cavs, of course Monty didn’t even ask Greivis to attempt to guard Kyrie at crunch time. It’s possible that no human could have guarded Irving last night. But what does it say about your point guard when your coach doesn’t even ask him to guard the other team’s point guard? Any Hornets fan has to love what Greivis has done for this Hornets team this year, but we also need to admit to ourselves that he simply is not the player to lead this team deep into the playoffs.
Kyrie Irving Too Much as Hornets fall to Cavs
The first 43 minutes of an NBA game is so different from the final 5 minutes and there is no better evidence of this well known fact than tonight’s game against Cleveland. With 4 minutes and 58 seconds left, the Hornets and Cavs were tied up at 83. Over the next 3 minutes and 11 seconds, Kyrie went on a 11-2 run and that was the ballgame. Notice that I didn’t say the Cavs went on a run- KYRIE went on a run as he scored all 11 and had 20 points total in the 4th quarter as the Cavs rolled 105-100.
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, there were some positives for the Hornets as Austin Rivers played above average on both sides of the ball, finishing with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and most importantly, zero turnovers. Jason Smith played another great game, giving Monty exactly what he asks for, 20-25 minutes of heart, hustle, and production (12 points & 6 assists). Roger Mason and Brian Roberts were stellar offensively off the bench, giving the team 26 points on just 13 shots and Aminu played within himself, taking just 2 shots but contributing 10 boards in 36 minutes.
The loss could be blamed on a few things, mainly Monty’s questionable rotations, the fact that the Hornets didn’t have their best player, and some questionable decision making by Vasquez, but really you just gotta give it up to Kyrie Irving. These teams were evenly matched up for the most part, but they had a star who took over in winning time and got them this victory. Nothing you can do when that happens but tip your cap to the man and move on to the next one.
Notes and Observations
– Ric Bucher is reporting that the Warriors will not trade for Eric Gordon by tomorrow, but they could explore the possibility this offseason, depending on how this season shakes out and how they see the Curry/Thompson backcourt moving forward. Smart move on their part because they probably know that nobody else will give up anything of real value right now to the Hornets. They can give their young backcourt a try this year and come back to the Hornets with the same deal this offseason. Nicely played.
– Speaking of Gordon, there is only 4 more back-to-backs, so the best case scenario is that we get to see Gordon for 23 more games this year. That gives the Hornets 23 more games to showcase him as well if he stays healthy. Man, I hate typing those four wors so much- If he stays healthy – Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
– If Gordon is staying, I wouldn’t expect anything tomorrow. Maybe a small move like Roger Mason for a 2nd rounder or Henry and Lance for a backup point guard. Other than that, I can’t see anything going down.
– Monty is not happy with Vasquez right now and he purposely went with Rivers and Roberts at the end of the game tonight to send a message. Vasquez could not stay in front of Kyrie, but honestly, who can? That wasn’t the issue. The issue, once again, was horrible game management and shot selection in the 4th quarter. The raw numbers (13,8, and 4) will tell you that Vasquez had an okay game. Monty will tell you differently.
– Great game by Lopez in the low post. 15 points on 9 shots is fantastic. On the other end he picked up 6 fouls and failed to grab one defensive rebound. Again, if this guy is your backup, you have a huge bench advantage. But he is not a starter on a good team. Davis has got to bulk up or Demps needs to move Lopez and eventually look for an upgrade.
– Anthony Davis showed flashes tonight, but he was clearly tired tonight after playing heavy minutes last night. His energy and lift just wasn’t there tonight. His conditioning should improve this offseason, which will help him avoid games like this next year. On a side note, here is a great piece on Davis. Enjoy!
– Ryan Anderson has been cold in these two games after the break. No, it is not because of the 3-point challenge. Shooters are streaky. He’ll have huge games and bad games. It’s what comes with having a high volume 3-point shooter.
– Trade deadline is 3pm EST. If anything happens, we will get the news to you ASAP with full, detailed analysis.
Great Recap MM.....now i know that you are the one writing and not JM All I can say is sometimes monty need a slap on the face.....we will not win with AD sitting almost the entire 4th quarter and having our 2nd and 3rd stringer on the court....the positive is my boy rivers FINALLY (hoping)(finger crossed) consistently contributing for the hornets...future is much brighter for us than the cavs...sorry kyrie hopefully guys here in hornets247 interview dell after the trade deadline...on why he trade the guy or why did he stand pat...thanks
The rotations really had me upset tonight. We kept getting further into the fourth quarter: 8 minutes left, 7, 6, and our bench lineup was still in. A struggling Ryan Anderson, Roberts and Mason were on the floor too much for my liking down the stretch; Davis should have been in sooner despite a poor shooting night and, based upon his performance, Rivers should have as well. I guess to look on the bright side, we kept up with the Cavs for most of the game without EG, Lopez committing a foul a minute, Davis not making a FG all on the road. On the other hand, we played a bad team. I'm bummed. I wanted to pull out the win on national TV but at least tonight's game was respectable unlike the one against the Sixers earlier this year.
The only thing I'm pissed about is during crunch-time we had our Lottery guarantee line-up of Roberts-Mason-Henry-Smith and Anderson. On national tv we have the nerve to put Xavier Henry on tv! OMG And no Kyrie Iverson is not the 2nd coming of CP3. Remember, they only have 17 wins.
I didn't completely believe the hype about Kyrie because I had never seen him play live. He made me a believer. He's incredible. That being said, I have an idea: Brian Roberts straight up for Kyrie Irving. Who says no?