Hornets Collapse Late Against Nuggets

Published: January 6, 2012

The Hornets gave up a 19-0 run to the Nuggets which stretched from the end of the third quarter into the fourth, costing them a lead they had held all game previously and a much needed win.

Denver Nuggets 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 New Orleans Hornets
Chris Kaman, C 28 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -19
Kaman was very active on the boards throughout, especially on defense. He really controlled the glass for a while, and as a result the Hornets didn’t give up many second chance points early on. Started at co-center with Okafor. He didn’t have the jumper working early (or ever). Committed a dumb clear path foul toward the end of the second quarter, as well as a few other odd turnovers. Defensively he held his own one-on-one, but as a help defender he seemed pretty worthless tonight.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 22 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -12
Made a couple nice plays on offense early on, but two unnecessary fouls took him off the floor after only six minutes. He came back in halfway through the second and made a nice cut inside for a layup. He was late helping Vasquez to cover Gallinari right after that though, and it cost the Hornets a three-point-play. Nice D on a fast break shortly after, but then somehow deflected his own pass on the other end. For everything good he did, he seemed to do something bad to counteract it shortly after. I imagine there will be a lot of nights like this for Aminu. He should tone it down on the passing speed, also. Those no-look bullets are destined for failure more often than not. One rebound is less than stellar as well.
Emeka Okafor, C 31 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +3
Struggled to find the boards early on, and was just a bit too small to combat Nene effectively. Just not enough from him tonight on either end.
Jarrett Jack, PG 40 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 15 PTS | -1
Had a much harder time finding the basket than in night past, but still got his by working hard. As a distributor he was mostly ineffective. Not a bad game, but not a good one either.
Marco Belinelli, SG 40 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -15
Started off hot, making four of his first five shots and finally getting zeroed in from behind the line. It didn’t last. He also guarded Gallinari rather effectively considering the size difference. I think he wound up being Player of the Game despite a rather mediocre performance overall. Maybe he was player of the game relative to expectations?
Carldell Johnson, G 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +3
Played the final minute and a half, and didn’t make any mistakes. He even had a nice assist to Jason Smith. He gets an A for a perfect, albeit short (heh) performance.
Trey Johnson, SG 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +5
Only played a few minutes and had a turnover and three fouls. Not too bad, though. He can give the team a few minutes when they need it.
Jason Smith, PF 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +2
Lots and lots of energy yet again. He had a huge block right after coming into the game at small forward. He also made a move to get inside and score late in the first half that had me wondering if he doesn’t have a little bit of D-West in him. We used the word “guile” a lot for D-West, and Jason Smith is finally starting to show that he knows what it means. I continue to be impressed by how improved he looks from last year.
Carl Landry, PF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -7
Came off the bench in reserve of Aminu at the SF position, but saw time at power forward as well. Had a very strong slam dunk that brought the crowd to their feet, but was otherwise relatively quiet as he struggled to find a matchup that gave him a clear advantage on either end of the floor.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | +1
Got himself in trouble a few times early when he probably could have just taken an open shot instead of penetrating. Defensively he looked a bit lost again. He hit a couple nice threes in the fourth to keep the Hornets within striking distance, but it was too little, too late. Pretty solid game overall on offense in the end, but defensively he’s still not particularly in sync with the rest of the team, despite what the two steals and block may lead you to believe.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Hornets had a 32 point outburst in the first quarter on 59% shooting and 80% from three. Bellinelli added 10 in the quarter and played all 12 minutes. Hornets led by eight after the outburst. The Nuggets looked downright sleepy early on.
  2. Lawson struggled to find a rhythm throughout the game. Considering he was considered the worst matchup for the Hornets defensively, that goes a long way to explaining why they were able to stay ahead for so long. Another reason was the rebounding. Hornets dominated even more than expected early on.
  3. The Hornets led 63-54 with a few minutes to go in the third. They didn’t trail until the Nuggets first possession of the fourth quarter, despite everyone and their mom thinking this would be a very tough game to win. Monty called timeout with 10:07 to go in the fourth. At that point, the Hornets were on the bad side of a 17-0 run by the Nuggets. Eric Gordon, where art thou? The run would continue to 19-0 before Okafor made a layup to sort of end it, but let’s be real—the game was over at that point.
  4. The next time the Hornets have consecutive off days is February 11th and 12th. This could get ugly…
  5. Stuff at the game– A guy wearing a Roll Tide shirt got pied in the face by Hugo, who ran out to center court with an LSU flag. The crowd roared. People really like LSU a lot. Maybe one day we will have a fan-base as large LSU. Also, maybe we will one day create a flying Arena. The guy sitting next to me was recording how many seconds the Hornets sponsored billboards at halfcourt were on TV. Well played, Hornets off-the-court staff. That’s how you market!!! Three point shooting competitions are always an exercise in futility. Nobody ever makes more than 2/15. Today both guys were lucky to get one.
The Timberwolves lost. At least that’s a win.


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