Hornets play well but come up short in LA

Published: January 8, 2011

In the last month the Hornets have lost road games at Minnesota, Detroit, Philly, and Indiana yet they went to Boston and got a win and played the two-time defending champions tough on Friday night before falling to them 101-97.  In some ways, this game was similar to the one these two played in New Orleans, but in most ways it was quite different.

For starters, the Lakers did not dominate the glass the way that they did in the first meeting, as New Orleans actually had the advantage tonight, 39-38. In fact, both West and Emeka attacked the offensive glass despite being undersized, as they came up with a combined nine offensive rebounds. Unfortunately for the Hornets, however, the Lakers also focused on an area of concern, as they cut down their turnovers significantly in this game. In the first matchup LA was sloppy, and as a result, they totaled 20 turnovers, but this time they cit that number down to 11, with Kobe having zero (compared to 7 in the first game).

Their were some similarities, however, as LA did control the paint again, winning that battle 50-32. In fact, the bucket that all but clinched the game was a floater from Kobe that came in the lane, while the Hornets spent much of the fourth quarter taking mid-range jumpers or three-pointers. Luckily for the Hornets, they were hitting their 3’s at a better clip than we had seen recently on the road, going 8-19 (42%), and that includes a huge one that Marco hit to pull the Hornets within three with just over 1:20 to go in the game.

The Hornets had their chances in this game, which serves as both reason for optomism in the future and a reason to be frustrated that they couldn’t pull this one out. It is rare that you get the chance to go into an elite teams house and pull out a victory, and getting this one would have been nice, especially when you consider the schedule the Hornets have over the next week. Here’s hoping they can get a win in Denver and go home with a split for this two game road trip.

Other News and Notes:

– Oh no, here we go again. Excluding Bellineli, the other four starters read as follows: 42, 41, 38, and 38. Does anybody remember when the Hornets were winning games and CP3 was averaging under 34 minutes per game? Now they are playing more minutes AND losing? This is troublesome and it shows that this coaching staff is beginning to panic early in January. They have tried different combinations and now they seem to be throwing their hands up in the air and admitting defeat.

They gave Aaron Gray a chance tonight for 8 minutes and he responded with no pints, 3 rebounds, and a assist while registering a -10 over that span. Jack played well in the first half, at least offensively, but couldn’t hit anything in the second half, and the bench as a whole went 5-19 in the game and only registered that 1 assist by Aaron Gray. Meanwhile all you have to do is look at one guy on LA’s bench, Lamar Odom: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks. Wow, it must be nice.

– The Lakers shot 61% in the first half. 61 percent! The Hornets are supposed to be a top 3 defensive team in the league? Does anybody really believe that after what we have seen tonight and against Golden State or Minnesota, etc? Above average, I will give them that, but we are fooling ourselves if we believe this is an elite defensive team that just needs a spark of offense to fix all our problems. Eventually the Hornets are going to have to find a way to lock down that paint, or they will be one and done come playoff time- if they get there at all.

– Even though both guys were better in the first half than the second, I will say that this game gave me some additional hope for Ariza and Jack moving forward. Both played horrible during the first three weeks or so in December, but each has shown signs of late and perhaps they are starting to find their place on this team. To be fair, Emeka looked horrible last year and has finally found his way after playing about 50 games with CP3 (41 last year and the preseason this year), so maybe we will see the same from our new guys this year.

– Q-Pon got more minutes (17) than any other reserve and looked like he will be a valuable part of this roster for years to come. He still needs to add some strength and possibly improve on his lateral movement, but his IQ and desire are traits that are apparent, which is good because those are things you really can’t teach.

– Best bench ratings according to Hollinger, from 5 to 1:

5. Houston 4. SA 3. Philly 2. Denver and Number 1…..

Toronto Raptors. Yes those same Raptors that have Bayless, Peja, and JuJu coming off their bench.

And with that, I say Good Night.


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