Montyball sings! Then drowned in desire, our souls on fire I lead the way to the funeral pyre And without a thought of the consequence I gave in to my decadence
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Game On: Hornets @ Timberwolves »
One slip, and down the hole we fall
It seems to take no time at all
A momentary lapse of reason
That binds a life for life
A small regret, you won’t forget,
There’ll be no sleep in here tonight
One slip … one slip
– Pink Floyd, One Slip
A 1-2 week for the New Orleans Hornets brings their record to 22-44, maintaining their winning percentage on the seasons. They still sit at the kiddie table in the West, just a half-game above Phoenix, and are tied with the Cavaliers with the 5th worst record in the NBA (the Pistons have a higher percentage though they are 0 games behind Cleveland). The Hornets play their last road game for over 2 weeks, starting a stretch of 7 homes games to close out March. The games are mostly against solid teams, so it may not be a nice as it sounds. The first game is the second of a back-to-back, so we have no reason to believe, at this point, that Eric Gordon will play in the first of those home games. There is a 5 game road trip, with the season’s last back-to-back, follow by the last 2 games at home, and a final game at Dallas.
The week started with a win a week ago over the Portland Trail Blazers, and a rather dramatic on at that. It wasn’t quite 8 points, 9 seconds, but Ryan Anderson scored the Hornets’ last 6 points of the game in around 14 seconds. He hit a 3 to give the Hornets a 2-point lead, then a layup to give the Hornets a 1-point lead which he stretched with his and-1. The Hornets and Trail Blazers were nearly matched in many key categories, but rebounding leaned severely toward the Hornets: ORB% of 44.2, DRB% of 82.9. Wow. Also, their longest scoring drought in the game was just under 4 minutes (shorter than Portland’s longest drought), which is a great improvement from the week before.
The only Hornets-Nets game at the Barclay’s Center sealed the Brooklyn Nets v. New Orleans Hornets series at 2-0 in the Nets favor for all of history. The Nets led the Hornets in rebounding, but the teams and the same number of made shots and nearly the same number of attempts. With identical performance from 3, the big difference on the scoreboard was, clearly, from the line, with the Nets taking over twice as many free throws and hitting 10 more free throws, which was the margin in the game. Also, their longest scoring drought in the game was just under 4 minutes (shorter than Brooklyn’s longest drought), which is a great improvement from the week before.
The Wizards game was won with a classic case of vanishing stars. Ryan Anderson’s long ball was filibustered vigilantly, Anthony Davis’ 5 fouls neutralized him, and Eric Gordon went 1 of 7 in the second half, making only a 19-foot jumped after coming in during the fourth and making 1 of 2 free throws. His first half was killer. Maybe he shouldn’t do the second of back-to-back halves but play in every game. Wall was murderous, as was Davis (his best game in a long while), but Wall only committed the one foul and could continue to enjoy a highlight night.
The Hornets signed Lou Amundson for the remainder of the season today. Given that he was on 10-day contracts, he is likely receiving the minimum. Born in California, Amundson was raised in Colorado and played 4 years of college ball at UNLV, missing a year due to thumb infection. He started his professional career in the D-League, becoming rookie of the year in 2007 after the undrafted free agent was waived by the Kings just prior to the 2006-2007 season. After 10-day contracts with the Jazz and Sixers, he signed a full contract with the Sixers. He then signed a 2-year deal with the Suns and another with the Warriors (who outbid the Hornets for the services of the F/C). He was traded away for Brandon Rush (another near-Hornet), then signed by the Timberwolves earlier this season before being waived.
In order to make room for Amundson, the Hornet parted ways with Henry Sims. Sims played a total of 5 minutes across 2 games, scoring 4 points while going 2 of 3 from the field. He added 2 offensive rebounds, a turnover, and committed one foul.
Terrel Harris is still with the team, but his 10-day contract is on its tenth day today.
It also came out that Rivers finally had his surgery earlier this week in New York. There were no reports of complications. With a 4-6 week recovery time and just over 5 weeks from then left in the season, there is room for Rivers to play again this season, though the odds may be against him.
Finally, there is some construction adjacent to the Saints offices. This is either expanded office space or the practice facility.
Around the Site
This week’s In the NO features Ryan and Michael discussing how good Davis really is and if some players have mentally checked out.
Micheal Pellissier digs into Eric Gordon’s shooting numbers and finds more evidence that his conditioning is not what it should be.
The upside down offense is shown to be effective in this week’s Beneath the Screen, complete with Madistrator.
`Voices’ of the People
I appreciate the strategy breakdown. You can’t get that stuff from the box score….
disagree. in a vacuum he’s not a game changer. but when we are lacking that 4th quality big to give a few min (or more in times of foul trouble) it may mean the difference between a win or two, which makes a difference in the lottery
We have to pay very close attention to things that others perceive as miniscule. Once the game slows down and the swagger returns, watch out.
BTW, the title of the article is VERY cheesy, lol.
It’s that time of year again . . . the last month of the season. It’s a time push for playoffs or watch teams push for the playoffs. Of course, in the latter group, there’s an incentive to finish with the worst of possible records to increase chances of winning the NBA Draft Lottery. Higher chances don’t guarantee anything, but they actually are higher changes and offer disproportionate comfort to fan bases suffering through a lottery season (or seasons).
Rather than argue again about the merits of losing v. the merits of winning, I’ll go another way. Besides, the team is not excelling at winning or losing.
The Hornets played for 2 months with half of their salary as effectively dead money, summing up their commitments to Lewis, Carroll, and the then-inactive Gordon. During this time they suffered through injuries to Davis and Smith. While the team was at its peak, it played essentially 0.500 ball even with Lewis and Carrol on the books, leaving them with below the NBA’s minimum team salary being paid to active players. While not quite a Billy-ball kind of accomplishment, it’s quite encouraging.
Regardless of the how the draft lottery pans out or what trades will be made, the team will have a year of tough times bonding the key players and the front office will have significant cash to work with over the offseason. Seeing this team able to play well and willing to play hard reinforces that the unbuyable resources are present on this team.