Hornets Struggle From Deep, Fall to Thunder

Published: January 11, 2012

The Hornets were a mess from downtown, which was too much to overcome against the talented Thunder.

Squeaky Johnson blows by Reggie Jackson


Oklahoma City Thunder 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 New Orleans Hornets
Chris Kaman, C 31 MIN | 8-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | +1Had it all going early on. 6 pts, 3 rebs, 2 assists, a block through 5 minutes, then slowed way down. Still finished with a decent game, but he had a few dumb turnover and a three second violation that again hurt his performance overall. He really struggled with the jumper from the top of the key for some reason. Elsewhere he was pretty good with it. Tonight was a better performance on D than we’ve been accustomed to so far.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 25 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -1Aminu really did a lot better defending Durant than I thought he would. He avoided dumb fouls, used his length to challenge Durant when he was on him, and really prevented him from getting easy buckets inside. Sure Durant got his from outside, but that’s going to happen no matter who is guarding him. Landry had a much harder time. Offensively he did what he’s good at, grabbing a few boards and trying to finish strong. He had a nice dunk and should have had another if not for that pesky rim. Within a few years I’m not sure there will be many players better suited to guarding Durant than Aminu.
Emeka Okafor, C 26 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -8His jumper really does look a lot better this year (not saying that much), as does the rest of his game, but he was utilized a little much for my taste, especially late in the game. Started off strong and faded, just like the Hornets did. Defensively he did his job for the most part.
Jarrett Jack, PG 35 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 8 AST | 8 PTS | -6Very quiet game on offense, presumably because the ankle wasn’t 100 percent. Defensively he tried to hang with Westbrook for a while, but that was destined to not work. He looked legitimately scared when Westbrook ran at him in the open court at one point, but managed to limit him to just free throws instead of an easy bucket. Was a decent all around game overall.
Marco Belinelli, SG 39 MIN | 3-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -1Was much more aggressive in taking jumpers and getting to the rim, but he shied away from a few open threes. That’s the last thing he should be doing, even when he’s off like he was tonight. Guy is a three point shooter. He needs to let it fly when he’s open. Also, someone needed to stress to Belinelli that Harden is left-handed. He was playing him on the wrong side most of the night.
Carldell Johnson, G 11 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -10Got some nice burn in the first and second quarters sharing point guard duties with Vazquez. The backups played a decent Thunder lineup to a near draw in six plus minutes in the first half. Squeaky is fast enough and has a good enough head on his shoulders (and awesome hair) to continue to see time against teams both good and bad. Drew a nice loose-ball foul late in the third to get free throws, neither of which he made thanks to my jinx. Gotta make those, especially as a young player looking for more time.
Carl Landry, PF 35 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -6Very quiet night early, but got into a better rhythm late. When he drew Durant on defense it was like watching an execution live. You know what was about to happen, but sort of pretend it won’t until it actually does (I assume). Can’t fault him for that, so I won’t hold it against him in my evaluation. The three turnovers hurt his final grade.
DaJuan Summers, F 19 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -7Came in during the first batch of subs for Aminu. Drew Durant. Ouch… had a nice offensive board and putback. Hit a trey mid-way through the second. Wound up with nine points in the first half in only 12 minutes. Guy is really athletic and appears to be in sync with the rest of the Hornets offense. Made a mean move on Durant which lead to free throws mid-way through the third. This was my bright spot of the game.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 15 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -5He’s not great against point guards on defense, but he had two blocks and a number of nice passes. He never did get the shot (or anything else) going.
Gustavo Ayon, PF 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -7Played a few nice minutes in the first half. He’s not overmatched right now, which is a good sign going forward. He also appears to be a smart player, always keeping his head on a pivot on defense to avoid getting burned. He scored his first home buckets as well (I think).

Five Things We Saw

  1. Vasquez, Squeaky, Summers, Landry, and Ayon were on the court together for roughly a five minute stretch in between the first and second quarter. They were outscored by a few, but overall gave a nice effort for a group of guys that non-Hornets fans are mostly unlikely to recognize.
  2. I spoke with Hugh Weber before the game and he seemed pretty confident the Hornets would have a new lease and a new owner around mid-late February. I mentioned Jamal Mashburn and without confirming or denying he was involved, said that the Hornets remain in conversation with a bunch of potential minority and majority owners.
  3. The chair guy was performing at halftime. I’m always shocked/disappointed/impressed when he doesn’t fall down. Ingram and Cameron Jordon (Saints guys) were at the game courtside. They threw balls into the crowd and were met with a loud round of applause. Mini Air-Hugo was in the house. He’s my favorite of the Air-Hugo’s. Take that, normal Hugo! Jazz tonight was really slow… Made me sleepy, as Jazz often does.
  4. After shooting over 52% from behind the line in their previous three games, the Hornets fell apart from deep. They went 1-15 in the first 45 minutes, completely killing their chance of winning. Considering how many threes they miss, it was a surprise that they were within six with less than 90 seconds to go. They finished 1-16. Nice!
  5. There’s a huge game against the Timberwolves on Friday. We kind of win and lose no matter what, so let’s win the game and be tall.


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