Hornets’ Changes Do Not Show, but They Claim Una Victoria

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Published: October 7, 2012

The new look New Orleans Hornets look a little too familiar, despite the heavy roster turnover, and look unimpressive in their defeat of the Magic in Mexico City.

First and foremost, let’s remind ourselves that this team is working on climbing out of the cellar, and they have years to do this while the team puts deeper roots down in New Orleans.

Second, they’ve managed to amass some talent that could make great things possible in the coming years.

Third, there’s just no delaying the incontrovertible truth that Eric Gordon sat yet again, and the offensive output of this team remained abysmal. The outcome of the game does not matter. The Hornets’ run at the end en route to an 85-80 victory is in no way representative of typical play by either team on either side of the ball. The Hornets’ Gordonless core was devastated by the Magic’s newly-Howardless core, and that’s the truth of it.

You can write the story, as it’s the most typical one from last season. The Hornets came out slow on offense, slowed the bleeding with some defensive flashes, but ultimately turnovers were their undoing.

Let’s not pretend there was a gameplan and look at the starters.

Vasquez hit the bench with cuatro fouls at a rapid pace, highlighting his defensive weaknesses and his wrong-headed tactics on offense, as he bookended those fouls with three turnovers and two assists. The Hornets were scoreless in his first run, and an assist was not recorded until Rivers helped Henry score, and boy did he need it. That also marked the last of Rivers’ charity work, though he was not charged with running point.

Rivers met expectations. He scored 10 points on 6 shots, eeked out an assist, and would have done much better if thought better of some boneheaded long shots.

Aminu got yanked early to help with some offense. Anderson came in, and Davis shifted to small forward. The Hornets did eventually score, but it was awkward. I would call this a situational set, suppress a groanish giggle, then run away. His nearly 19 minutes were unremarkable, which may be all we need in the final analysis. A nice defensive possession of his was derailed by a smart foul by Orlando, which I mention only to make a remark, flying in the face of my characterization of his play as unremarkable.

Davis did well. He had some nice defense, got nailed on three fouls, and managed to score 8 points on 9 shots. He got the third-most minutes and ended with the fifth-most points, second among starters (which says a great deal about starting). I say that this is fine for the young’un. Good show.

Lopez was as expected. His defense was ok, but his offense was worse than Okafor and Ariza on their bad days. No field goals in over 20 minutes. Good thing he made it to the line.

Speaking of the line, the team shot 21 of 34 from the line, which is ridiculous.

Again, ponder how the 27 points of the starters really figures into the story of the game.

Of note is that Thomas did play well in garbage minutes, which, along with Roberts’ 17 points on 11 shots and otherwise nice stat line, led to the Hornets’ faux win.

Also, Warrick did not play. He’s looking like a practice body, as theh Phoenix writers told us, and a dead weight on the cap whose removal, along with Lewis’ (or Okafor’s and Ariza’s), will propel the team forward 89 games from now.

It is left to the readers to judge the judgments and discuss the good games of Mason and Smith.

Excellence will be rewarded with tickets to Tuesday’s game.

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