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Hornets blow lead, fall to Jazz

Published: January 2, 2012
New Orleans Hornets 90 Recap | Box Score 94 Utah Jazz
Trevor Ariza, SF
2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +3

Ariza was essentially non-exsistent prior to his injury in the third. Solid defense, but nothing to write home about on the offensive end. Initial reports are saying its a mild groin strain, which can mean anything from one day to three weeks.

Carl Landry, PF
1-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | -1

Wait… He played tonight? Yes, Smith was hitting from mid range and Kaman had some nice moments, but Landry’s poor play had nothing to do with those two guys. He simply couldn’t deal with Utah’s size and for whatever reason, he just didn’t play with any fire tonight.

Emeka Okafor, C
3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | 0

I try not to grade Okafor based on his contract, but it is always in the back of my mind on a night like this. He is just so stiff offensively and he is not a game changer on the defensive end. If he had Jason Smith’s contract, I would have no probably with a stat line like this, but he is set to make 33 million dollars more than Smith over the next three years. ‘Nuff said.

Jarrett Jack, PG
11-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 11 AST | 27 PTS | -1

A monumental effort by Jack that is sadly wasted because of subpar play by his teammates. The Clippers are off tonight- Jack should give CP3 a call and tell him that now he truly knows how he feels.

Marco Belinelli, SG
2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -3

I wish there were an F- on this thing, because that was one of the worst performances I have ever seen from a player in a Hornets uniform. I can’t be brutal enough after that display. Five of his seven misses were practically uncontested and he just made one bonehead play after another, included a charge that essentially ended the game for the Hornets with just over 15 seconds remaining.

Chris Kaman, C
6-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -7

First efficient game of his Hornets career saw Kaman score 14 points on just 7 shots. It looks like Kaman is understanding that he can help this team more on the perimeter, as opposed to clogging up the lane. Kaman only gets a B, however, because it was his porous defense that led to Al Jefferson getting hot in the third quarter.

Jason Smith, PF
8-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | 0

If this year’s Hornets do in fact end up resembling the ’04-’05 team, J Smitty might become our new Birdman. His energy is infectious, and when he hits his jumper like this, he quickly becomes a fan favorite. Somebody needs to tell Smith that he never makes that 17 footer after he puts the ball on the ground, though. Either catch and shoot, or reset Jason. There is no third option.

Al-Farouq Aminu, SF
3-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | -6

Best game so far for Aminu, but that’s kind of like saying that a particular episode of House of Payne is the best one yet. Aminu got to the rim more in this game and he seemed more confident as the game went on. He still seemed lost at times, but this Ariza injury could help him find his niche on this team.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Hornets capitalized on Utah turnovers in the first three quarters, but once the Jazz started to take better control of the ball, the Hornets offense struggled. The half court offense was basically Jack and Smith, with no real third option. Eric Gordon would have been able to help with that.
  2. Big front lines still give Okafor and Landry tons of trouble. Multiple times we saw those guys try to take it up strong, only to get swatted like fifth graders trying to play with the high school boys. Smith and Kaman aren’t as physical, but at least they can stretch pull the bigs out of the paint.
  3. Eric Gordon’s suit was underwhelming at best. Nothing fancy. Perhaps that is because he is still on a rookie contract. I think Dell can cure that by extending him!
  4. As if a loss to the lowly Jazz weren’t enough, the Timberwolves won their second straight, bringing their record to 2-3. They have been in all of their games and could easily be 4-1 or 5-0, and Kevin Love is playing like a top five guy this year. As one of our twitter followers wrote,” If we’re going to get a top five pick, we’ll have to earn it ourselves.”
  5. Hornets will be at home Wednesday to face Philly and Aminu should watch New Orleans native Thaddeus Young very closely. If there is a player who Aminu can model his game after, it is Young- a hybrid 3/4 who plays with energy and passion.


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