Hornets Bench a No-Show as Jazz Pull Away in the 4th

Published: April 5, 2013

A familiar pattern reared its ugly head tonight as the Hornets starting lineup got the team out to a nice lead at the end of one quarter before the bench came in and absolutely killed all the momentum. The Hornets haven’t won a road game since the All-Star break, and the bench is as much to blame as anyone. Tonight they went a combined 2-25, including a horrendous 0-10 performance from Ryan Anderson and an 0-5 stink bomb from Xavier Henry, who is being given a 28th chance for some reason. Thanks in large part to the bench, the Hornets were outscored by 19 points after the first quarter as the Jazz won 95-83.

It wasn’t all bad for the Hornets, however, as Anthony Davis and Greivis Vasquez both had terrific games. Davis played with great energy two nights after his worst game in nearly two months and finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Vasquez, meanwhile, dominated his matchup, scoring 21 points on 9-13 shooting and dished out 9 assists to go with 5 rebounds. Aminu played well in the first quarter and Lopez had some moments in the 4th, but outside of that, it was a pretty sad night for the rest of the Hornets roster.

Long term, perhaps the biggest news coming out of this game might end up being the blowup between Monty Williams and Eric Gordon. I was at the game and the confrontation was loud and very animated. Monty charged at Gordon and just absolutely blew up at him after pulling him off the court in the third quarter. The exchange started off with Monty saying something in a fairly calm voice to Gordon, but then Gordon said something back as he was walking past Monty and Monty just went absolutely insane. After that exchange, Gordon sat at the end of the bench and did not return to the game.

Other Notes and Observations

– Lou Amundson is sure making a case for a roster spot next year. He isn’t flashy by any means and the stat sheet doesn’t show 20% of what he gives to the team on the floor, but trust me, he is a very solid backup big. He is a smart defender with good length and he gives solid effort every minute that he is out there. Picked up two huge charges tonight – one on Milsap and the other on Favors. I wouldn’t be upset at all if he was brought back next season.

– Davis is better at showing on the pick and roll before getting back to his man than any player I have ever seen in a Hornets uniform. He is so long and active that he can push the guard four or five feet beyond the three-point line and then get back to his man a second after the pass is made. In al league that is becoming more pick and roll than post-up on the offensive end, that skill will be invaluable.

– Anderson’s shot was just off tonight. Utah didn’t really do anything special. Just a bad shooting night. Shooters go through slumps. Anderson is in one right now.

– Al-Farouq Aminu had back-to-back possessions that just reminded me why I honestly don’t care if he is gone next season. On the first one he got the ball kicked out to him in the right corner, drove to the hole and put up some kind of weird floater/push shot hybrid that missed by a mile. On the next possession, the ball was kicked to him on the other side of the floor and he pump faked before traveling. Best of luck to you moving forward Al-Farouq, you won’t be missed by this writer.

– The Hornets took so many shots at the end of the shot clock tonight, and that just isn’t going to lead to good offense. They have to get into their sets earlier and move the ball better to be a consistently good offensive team.

– Robin Lopez’s hook shot is even uglier than his jumper, but who cares if it is going through the net, right?

– Demarre Carroll is my wife’s favorite player, and she didn’t miss the opportunity to tell me that he completely changed the game in the second quarter. The guy is non-stop energy and hustle, with a solid skill set. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and he doesn’t figure to be a guy that will demand a lot of money. I really like Darius Miller, but I would gladly move on from Miller if Carroll signed on to become our backup small forward.

– The Gordon/Davis pick and pop is really nice. Looking forward to seeing those two developing that even more next season if Gordon is still here. More on that in a minute.

– If you listened to the podcast, you know that I called a big game for Vasquez. These are the exact type of teams he flourishes against. It’s fools gold in my opinion, but hopefully some other GM believes that fool’s gold is real.

– Although Gordon had his moments, I just don’t know what he is doing with his dribble sometimes. He just puts his head down and clumsily tries to weave through defenders with no luck. An easy steal and dunk off a Gordon turnover for Hayward in the third quarter was a result of one of these all too frequent moments.

– And in the biggest Eric Gordon news of the game, he and Monty had a pretty loud exchange in the third quarter. Monty was absolutely furious and channeled his inner Mike Rice, Jr. I will ask Monty what he said and why, but I expect a typical Monty no answer. From my viewpoint, it looked like Monty is just fed up with Gordon’s lackadaisical attitude and he just burst after Gordon talked back to him. Has probably been building up for a while. Can you blame him?

– Big win for Toronto tonight over Minnesota, as far as we are concerned. Toronto’s schedule is nothing but playoff teams down the stretch, so they could very easily lose out. Not only would that have made it possible for the Hornets to catch them, but this is big because OKC has Toronto’s pick. If we are ever going to catch them, we need them to whiff on this pick, so the further back the better. A Sacramento win over Dallas would be huge too, basically guaranteeing we finish no worse than six most ping pong balls, so check out that game after you read this recap. 🙂

– Tomorrow’s Missing Piece article will focus solely on the point guard position and the 8 guys I see as the most likely options for us to bring in. I worked all week on it and there is some very interesting stuff in there that I didn’t know prior to my research, so check it out and let me know who your favorites are.


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