Belinelli and Landry Not Enough as Blazers Edge Hornets

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Published: March 30, 2012

Somehow the Hornets almost pulled out another road victory despite the laundry list of injuries.

Marco got going in the first half in a performance that was reminiscent of some of those games that Peja had during the magical ’07-08 season. He was coming off screens hard and always had one eye on the rim, as he drained 7 out of the 11 three’s that he put up. Meanwhile, Landry looks like he is 110% back as he took apart the Blazers in the paint and on the perimeter in this game. On one jumper in the second quarter, his shot was so pure that the net did not even move as the ball fell through it. But it wasn’t enough, as the Hornets could not overcome the fact that 6 of their 7 best players were injured; eventually falling to the Blazers 99-93.

The Hornets were about as deep as a Miss America contestant speaking on ‘The Iraq’, as they only dressed eight players, rolling out a bench that consisted of 3 guys who players in the D-League this season (Henry, Thomas, and Johnson). Still, the Hornets controlled the game through most of the first half and had the game even with just over 4 minutes to go in the fourth. The Blazers pulled away down the stretch, however, because they actually have a star who is playing. Aldridge’s jumper put the Blazers ahead 91-89 and they kept the lead from that point on.

The Hornets travel to LA next to face the Lakers in an afternoon game on Saturday, and Monty has been hinting at the possibility that Eric Gordon might return for this showdown. The most likely scenario, however, is that Gordon, along with Kaman, Ariza, and Ayon will return to action when the Hornets return home on April 4th against the Nuggets. It might be all hands on deck (minus Okafor) for the month of April, and the rest of the league should be scared of these Hornets once they have 11 or 12 warm bodies for Monty to throw out at them.

Notes and Observations:

– It’s games like this that make you wonder if the Hornets could bring back Landry and Belinelli. Not only did they play well, but two guys who the Hornets want to have bigger roles next season (Aminu and Henry) played rather poorly despite getting big minutes. You want to believe that an offseason and training camp can help these guys grow, but Monty and Dell know what they have with Belly and Landry now, and its their jobs that are tied to the players’ performance.

– Wizards blew another game down the stretch, losing a close on to the Pacers. The Wizards have a much easier schedule down the stretch, but the return of a few key players should make the Hornets a much better team, so the schedule might not be enough to help the Hornets overtake Washington for the #2 spot.

– The Blazers are a mess, but like us, they can get good rather quickly. As of right now, they would have the #4 and #11 picks in the draft. Dump everyone but Aldridge, Batum, the guys on rookie ¬†contracts, and the picks and they are in great shape if they hit on their picks. I will never forgive New Jersey for that stupid trade. Why couldn’t they have wanted Ariza instead?

– I am surprised Vasquez finished the game with only 4 turnovers. He started off a little wild, but quickly settled down and he has made the most of his minutes this season. It is only fair to point out that he is 4 years older than Aminu and 5 years older than Henry, but still, he continues to the the guy from the 2010 draft class that has the most potential moving forward.

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