Hornets can’t hang on and lose to Dallas

Published: February 22, 2013

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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