Published: March 27, 2013
The Miami Heat’s winning streak isn’t the only one that ended tonight. The Hornets 3 game winning streak over playoff teams came to an end at the hands of Los Angeles Clippers. Those cheers you’re hearing come from those on the tanking train. More ping pong ball combinations!
But that’s the future and tonight is tonight so back to the game.
Offensively, this is what I expect the Hornet look like next season. Monty has been introducing new sets to the Hornets’ offense slowly over the past month. Tonight you got to see it all put together. There was more off ball movement, inverted sets, more drive and kicks, tons of baseline cuts and skip passes to go along with the usual pick and rolls.
Defensively, this’ll be par for the course. The Hornets’ gameplan, whether we agree with it or not, is to collapse and take away points in the paint. When that’s the focus you can live and die by the 3-point shot. The Clippers took 29 shots from deep tonight, about 9 more than they normally take, and made 13 of them. The strategy is great if the opponent doesn’t make them but when a team shoots 45% from deep against you that’s tough.
But the Hornets did their best to avoid simply collapsing into the paint. The Hornets bigs tried to stay in front of their mark on defense; they tried to stay between the ball and the player in order to simply deny and defend any passes into the paint. When it worked Blake Griffin was ineffective, when the Hornets’ defenders were behind him, he scored.
-There was some sense of complacency, or something, with the Hornets tonight which I think stemmed from how well they’ve played during this mini win streak. The Hornets forced passes into the post which worked in previous games but didn’t tonight. Instead of realizing this and adjusting, the guards went right back and tried it again only to find the same result. The guards also telegraphed lots of passes. That works against Andre Miller but not this guy named Chris Paul who I hear is pretty good.
-A new-ish aspect the Hornets have been using recently is the skip/cross court pass. When the ball is on one side of the court the defense shifts slightly to that side and give players on the opposite end some space. If you can create a pass to that shooter though, they should have plenty of space to get a shot off. This has been getting Anderson and Mason Jr. in particular open looks.
-Eric Gordon looked better than he has in, like what, ever? He came out in the 3rd quarter and attacked the rim play after play. It led him to scoring 12 points and creating looks for his teammates. He faded some in the 4th quarter but at least he showed some quality in the 2nd half which we haven’t really seen this season.
-Darius Miller needs to continue playing 20+ minutes a game.
-Against the Nuggets the Hornets took few mid range jumpers and instead focused on 3-pointers and shots close to the rim. And we all know how that worked out. Tonight they got away from that their shot chart has a bunch of mid range attempts. The Hornets aren’t a great jump shooting team and while they were okay from that distance tonight, if the Hornets want to win that isn’t the direction they should take.
-For most of this season the Hornets have been very good about avoid foul trouble but since the All-Star break the team has been struggling with that. Davis has been picking up early fouls and tonight Vasquez, Gordon and Roberts had to spend some time on the bench because of the refs whistle. With Davis this could be due to teams scouting him more and finding ways to attack him as well as some fatigue which rookies usually struggle with.