Hornets ruin Kyrie Irving’s return with 112-92 rout of Cavaliers

Opponent quality aside, the Hornets used one of the best halves that they have played all season to blow out the Cavaliers after trailing at halftime. New Orleans players found open look after open look, as only Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris recorded more field goal attempts than points scored. Kyrie Irving was magnificent in his return from his shoulder injury, but it wasn’t enough to stop the barrage of three pointers the Hornets dropped on the Cavs as Anderson, Vasquez, Miller, and Roberts combined to make 12 out of 17 attempts from beyond the arc. With that kind of shooting accuracy, the margin for error in other areas is greater, but tonight’s keys to the game are still worth reviewing.


Three Keys to the Game

  1. Crash the offensive glass. The Hornets missed 34 shots and collected 9 rebounds off of those misses, good for an offensive rebound rate of about 26.5%. This ORR is lower than both the 34.6% the Hornets posted throughout the rest of March and the 28.1% the Cavs have allowed since Varejao was sidelined in December, but thanks to their strong shooting, it was more than enought. The Hornets’ best offensive rebounder (Lopez) saw under 16 minutes of action due to some first half foul trouble, but still led the team with 4 offensive rebounds. However, Robin struggled in nearly every other area of the game.
  2. Don’t foul them. The Hornets committed 19 fouls, but they led to just 12 free throw attempts. Overall, a very good job done by New Orleans of keeping Cleveland from getting easy points.
  3. Protect the ball. From a turnover perspective, tonight’s game was a tale of two halves. The Hornets committed 12 turnovers in the first half, with 2/3 of them coming in the first quarter. After halftime, New Orleans took impeccable care of the basketball, only coughing it up two more times. On a related note, the Hornets trailed the Cavs by one point at halftime, but won the game by twenty. I wonder what the difference was?


Other Notes

  • Thanks to the rest of the team’s sharp shooting from long range, Eric Gordon’s latest disappearing act in the second half went largely unnoticed. After scoring 12 points on 5-6 shooting in the first half, Gordon missed all five of his attempts from the field in the second half and totaled just two made free throws in his 13 1/2 minutes.
  • Irving, Thompson, Ellington, Speights, and Livingston finished 32-53 for 78 points. The rest of the team made 6 out of 29 attempts for 14 points. For this Cavs team to win, they need more out of both Gee and Miles.
  • I continue to love watching Amundson both rebound (4 in 10 minutes) and play defense, but he can’t even catch passes on the move on offense. He’s basically Aminu to the extreme – better on defense than Al-Farouq, but even worse on offense.
  • Greivis and Kyrie didn’t really seem interested in guarding each other all game long. Both had monster games on offense, scoring over 1.5 points per field goal attempt.

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