« Game On: Hornets @ Kings
Sacramento Runs Away from the Hornets 121-110
From the opening tip you could tell that Sacramento was going to make the Hornets play their style of basketball, and it was then that you knew the Hornets had no chance in this game. The Hornets came into this game ranked 30th in pace, primarily because they don’t have the athletes to get out and run and they don’t have enough skill to win shootouts with more talented teams. Rather than stick to their game, the Hornets got caught up in a shootout, and once they did that, the game was over.
John Salmons poured in 22 points on just 10 shots, while Jason Thompson and Marcus Thornton each added 20 in the Kings 121-110 victory. The Kings were on fire practically all game long, shooting 55% from the field and 50% from three, while managing to turn the ball over just 12 times. As I noted in the preview, they have been the 2nd best offensive team since the All-Star break, and they played that way tonight as they moved the ball around the perimeter and got a few easy buckets inside as well.
Meanwhile, the Hornets offense had peaks and valleys all night. Eric Gordon looked terrific when he took the ball to the rack and he finished with 23 points on 16 shots. Robin Lopez and Brian Roberts were also incredibly efficient, combining for 40 points on just 19 shots. But Ryan Anderson was cold yet again, missing on his first five three-point attempts as he finished with just 9 points on 13 shots in his homecoming game. Anderson and the Hornets will try to bounce back this Friday night at home against CP3 and the Clippers.
Other Notes and Observations
– Anthony Davis went down midway through the 4th quarter and it looked bad at first. After watching it and rewatching it over and over, it was obvious that it wasn’t an ACL or MCL injury. Still, I dont want him on the court for one more minute this season. Not worth the risk. Shut it down, start next season fresh.
– 2nd biggest story of the night is lotto balls. I know some hate hearing about the tank, so skip down if you are one of those people, but in all likelihood, this game was for 45 lotto balls- loser takes all. For a complete breakdown of what a loss meant tonight, read this.
– Eric Gordon had an epic throwdown in the third quarter. It was the kind of play that made you wonder, “What if he can come back 100% next year and play like this all season?” The trap is set, will you walk in?
– Anthony Davis did a fantastic job of running the floor tonight. Problem was that the guards couldn’t find him often enough. Oh yeah, and there weren’t many misses.
– This is the exact type of game that Brian Roberts should thrive in. Frantic pace, not many set plays. Perfect for Roberts.
– Anthony Davis was abused at times defensively when he tried to guard big men near the basket. Cousins and Hayes pushed him around with ease and Thompson just shot over him. Not a great night on that end by AD.
– If the Hornets want to lose out and clinch the #5 ping pong position, all they have to do is run the offense through Robin Lopez in the high post. Turnovers galore and even when they didn’t turn it over, the ball just stopped.
– Isaiah Thomas, Jr. is small but he takes such large strides when driving to the basket. He is very deceiving in that aspect. I will admit that I thought Thomas’s season was a fluke last year. It wasn’t. He’s pretty good.
– I have mentioned Toney Douglas as a guy the Hornets could look at this summer in a MIssing Piece column, and I stick by that. He is a terrific on-ball defender, and he could prove to be a great backup if we need that this summer.
– Speaking of my Missing Piece feature, I am focusing in on Shabazz Muhammad this Saturday. He is, by far, the most polarizing prospect in this year’s draft and I have really learned a lot doing the research this week. I hope you enjoy it.
– The Hornets have played Vasquez a ton at small forward over the past week or two. Dell spoke about GV possibly playing SF next year if they get a point guard, so I think they are exploring that further in case it plays out that way.
– It was Gordon’s first time playing in a back-to-back this season. Several people have speculated that this is being done to show other GM’s that Gordon can play and play well in B2B’s. Nice theory, but I am not completely buying it personally, and even if that is Dell’s intention, I don’t think that will persuade a GM to trade for him when he otherwise would not have.
– Two games at home this weekend. Show up and support the team. These will be the last two Hornets home games in New Orleans- EVER.
Two comments from the game. Why was AD still in the game? Not a very wise decision by coach Williams. And, Williams played Gordon longer than he should, taking him out in the last minute of a game decided long before. It's as if he's coaching without regard for the future. On Gordon, whatever people say about him, he's consistently had very good +/- numbers with NO and in his career. Last night it was +7 on court and -18 off.
Are we glad the Davis injury happened when we didn't have nothing to gain this season and thank god we was not a playoff team this year because that really would have doomed us.Due to his rehab process he wont be in the weight room this summer so we might have to deal with another year of the slim Davis.
I see this first back to back in just over a year (April 6th and 7th of 2012) as a message to fans. GM's can get all the info they want from the team and doctors (the ones that magically kept Lopez healthy all season while the Suns staff could now); Hornets fans and other fans can't, so they need something else if the GM getting Gordon is to have a easier time of it.