Hornets can’t hang on and lose to Dallas

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Published: February 22, 2013
Eric Gordon MAvs

The end of that game was crushing as the Hornets gave themselves every opportunity to win the game.

Hornets up four with 55 seconds less?  Still a loss.  Sigh.

In a theme for the year, the Hornets went with caution in the game and after Anthony Davis bumped knees and went back to the locker room, he did not return to the game, despite coming out and sitting on the bench and being available.  It was a bit of a shame because Davis was playing with energy and aggression out there – and was making a major difference.  Yeah, his shooting numbers don’t look great, but he was putting himself in great finishing position time and time again – and shots he usually made were rimming out – usually back into his own hands again.  Then – bumped knee, done for night.  Sigh.

Screw you, Vince Carter.

Besides Davis, the big story was Eric Gordon, who looked enormously explosive in the first half, looked less so in the second, and had some awful iso plays ran for him to close out the game that he wasn’t able to finish.  In case you haven’t seen me say it before – or heard it on the podcast – I hate, hate, hate, iso plays at the end of games.  If they aren’t great plays to run earlier in the game, then why are they at the end of games when defenses get more intense?  Every coach in the league does it – except two: Rick Carlisle and when he has a full compliment of players, Gregg Popovich.  Tonight, you’ll notice that even when his team was trying to burn clock with 23 seconds left in the third quarter, they didn’t just back out, stare dumbly at the clock, wait until there’s no time left, then try a quick pick and roll or iso.  No, they ran their play, turned down shots generated early in the shot clock, but kept moving, kept the Hornets shifting and moving to cover, and got a good shot.  I wish we could see a little more of that.

Screw you, Vince Carter.

Jason Smith was on fire – and his guys kept finding him.  He was only out there for 24 minutes but it felt like more.  He had a huge impact.

Other observations

  • Screw you, Vince Carter.
  • Robin Lopez played 18 minutes.  If Davis hadn’t hurt himself, he probably would have played less.  The Mavericks opened the game with a pick and roll on 5 of their first six plays – and they were all targeted at Robin Lopez’s inability to stick with quick players like Collison or the athletic Bernard James.  He couldn’t stop the play – and it was a problem.  Later, he re-entered the game, and the Mavs immediately ran three more pick and rolls at him.   He just couldn’t handle it and he was always out of position both as a defender and a rebounder.  The result, -18 in 16 minutes and zero rebounds.  Zero.
  • As always, Carlisle had a great game plan and as soon as Anderson checked in, he put a slower-footed forward on Vasquez, and put either (Screw you) Vince Carter or Mayo on Anderson to chase him.  It made Anderson’s life pretty hard until he started taking them inside and getting the ball.  He also started crashing the offensive glass.  Mayo couldn’t handle that at all, though Carter could.
  • Vasquez was taken out of the game offensively in two ways tonight.  Dallas negated his size by putting forwards on him, and his speed wasn’t enough to get him past the slower defenders.  When he did manage to catch Collison guarding him, he tried to post him up, and all four times his trips came up empty with forced shots or turnovers.  Sometimes doing something you don’t practice very often doesn’t help you, even if you have a mismatch.
  • Another rough shooting night for Austin Rivers, but he played well defensively and kept breaking down the first line of the Mavs defense with his dribble penetration.  If only he didn’t desperately rely on finishing with his right hand.

Next game is Sunday against Sacramento.  I’d really like a win, please.

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18 comments
GerryV
GerryV

First of all I was stunned to see the ball in the hands of Vasquez for one of the most critical plays of the game ( horrible three ball attempt) Gordon should have had it from the start of that play. - The lack of speed from Vasquez during open floor situations denied the Hornets scoring chances. - The robotic like efforts required to run a half court offense vs Dallas. My earlier in the year comments about upgrading the point guard position are now LOCKED IN GRANITE...there is nobody on the planet that has the skill or the ability to talk me off my perch as I scream to the masses " The position must be improved!" Sitting close to the floor only further validated my observations as i closely watched every moment...observing the advancement of the ball...open lanes not taken advantage off due to lack of ball quicks....scoring stiuations that were denied because of the lack of "escape game" Your honor i have no further comments!...I rest my case.

thouse
thouse

"Vasquez was taken out of the game offensively in two ways tonight. Dallas negated his size by putting forwards on him, and his speed wasn’t enough to get him past the slower defenders. When he did manage to catch Collison guarding him, he tried to post him up, and all four times his trips came up empty with forced shots or turnovers. Sometimes doing something you don’t practice very often doesn’t help you, even if you have a mismatch." Great observation. Smart teams will start defending him this way, just as smart teams have started defending Anderson with SFs. Vasquez is a plus player, but he is still limited in many areas. A 7 game playoff series v a smart coach would expose him a la Bowen on Peja in 08.

Will
Will

I agree completely about end of game iso calls; I can't be sure but I think I saw a video of Gerry V last year explaining how ineffective these plays are. It's like prevent defense in football. If your game plan has worked all night, you've run great, complex plays that have resulted in open shots, why dumb it down at the end of the game and run the shot clock so low that you have to force a shot. Stupid play. I'd love for Rivers to get a start at PG. Unfortunately, I don't see Monty doing this unless Vasquez gets hurt. I think his instincts, athleticism, frame, and handles suit him being the primary ball handler; it pains me to see him (and Anderson) stand in a corner while Roberts does his thing. All he's doing is accumulating empty minutes. He's made plenty of nice passes to Mr. Mid-range, Jason Smith, and if he's going to improve and be a big part of our future, he has to start getting more minutes with our other long-term pieces.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

That last play run that resulted in a TO was god awful at its finest. Having a guy that doesn't normally inbound the ball that the whole Mavericks team knows we want to take the last shot? Brilliant! They knew people would be coming to the ball to hand it back off to Anderson and defended it well. To boot, Anderson showed his inbounds' inexperience by forcing that ball in instead of calling 1 of our 2 remaining TO's. Ugh. I think the whole finishing out close games has gotten into our guys' heads. That's the only logical theory I have for what seems more TO's than shots taken with 90 seconds or less on the clock. Also, we just need to determine our primary ballhandler late. Instead of letting GV and EG fight over it and take turns screwing up, just give Eric Gordon the ball every time please and let him develop some consistency with the rest of our team closing games.

RBee
RBee

It is so hard to watch the bees with the ball, game on the line and less than 10 seconds on the clock. We are just awful. I know we must have an offensive coach in that big group on the bench, but seriously I only remember one game when we didn't do something totally dumb. I miss Tim Floyd. It was a really bad season with him and bower, but Floyd always had some scheme with a short clock, or maybe it was having cp3 to run it......

504ever
504ever

Look where we are in the standings: 7th worst team in the league. The 6th worst team (Minn.) is three games ahead of us, a mile away the way we are playing. The four teams behind us are all within a 1.5 games of us, and we are tied with Sacramento. (We probably can't finish better than 7th worse and could finish worse.) I am not suggesting we tank, but maybe a lose to Sacramento isn't the worst thing that could happen.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Vasquez' play up one with about 40 seconds left is typical stupid basketball. Instead of getting off a shot within 10 seconds to preserve a final possession, he burned 16 seconds then trew up a brick that looked like he wasn't even trying. His game tonight was out of control, listless, and passive. Smith and Anderson gave their all, while Gordon gave about 2/3 of a game (which may be his all). Shame for Vasquez to waste it.... Rivers is getting much better.

NolaHog
NolaHog

That was an epic choke job by the Hornets. Gordon's defender was mauling him on that final inbounds play, and it resulted in another no call plus a turnover. A truly sickening loss.

mateor
mateor

Ah...I see my ESPN box score was lying to me. I just made a big stink in then other thread about J.Smith taking so many shots. After reading your recap, I know more. The original box score immediately after the game had Smith in for only 10 minutes. I literally thought Monty had lost his mind, giving JSmith a usage rate of Kobe 2005. 24 minutes explains things a little better.

JJacob
JJacob

I think it would be nice if Rivers abandon the largely ineffective floater he's trying to develop and work on a midrange pull-up jumper. He's constantly getting past his first defender, and it's at the rim where he struggles. Developing a nice midranger like Westbrook has would really help his game. At the beginning of the game we were just blowing easy opportunities. There were two missed Vasquez runners off the backboard that he usually makes, a missed Aminu dunk, and Davis was literally just throwing it at the goal at one point and chasing his rebound. Oh, screw you, Vince Carter.