Hornets Win Three-Point Contest, Defeat Clippers

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Published: November 27, 2012

Hornets go 15 of 25 from deep to end seven game losing streak

The three’s were falling yet again tonight, coming from unlikely sources- same as it ever was. Over the past month we have seen Toney Douglas, both Morris brothers, Kevin Martin, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., and Paul George all have career games from deep against this horrid perimeter defense and tonight was no different. Caron Butler set a personal and franchise high with nine 3’s tonight against the Hornets. A guy who hit just 15 in 13 games hits 9 against us. So it goes.

But tonight the Hornets responded with a three-point barrage of their own, going 15 for 25 behind the arc. Ryno went 5 for 9, hitting 4 of his last 5 after starting off cold. Greivis Vasquez exploited his six inch height advantage over CP3, going 5 of 8 from deep. And the Schwan jinx finally paid off as Austin Rivers found his groove and hit 3 of his 4 from distance. The ball movement was fantastic throughout the game and the Clippers perimeter defense seemed a step slow all night, and both of those factors contributed equally to the best perimeter performance we have seen in years.

And while he didn’t attempt one 3 in this game that had 62 between the two teams, Jason Smith impacted the game in a multitude of ways. Defensively, he frustrated Blake Griffin all night, holding him to a career low 4 points on 1 of 9 shooting. Offensively, he was as efficient as ever, scoring 17 points on just 8 shots. He also had a rare 5 point possession, as he was on the wrong end of a Matt Barnes elbow that was called a flagrant one. He calmly sank all three free throws and then took the ball strong to the hoop for a layup when the Hornets got the ball back. This game will be remembered for the incredible three-point display, but without Jason Smith, the Hornets aren’t winning this game.

Notes and Observations

– Austin Rivers made mistakes tonight, but overall this was by far his best game as a pro. 14 points on 9 shots, just 1 turnover, and 6 assists that resulted in 16 Hornets points as 4 of the assists were kick outs for three. His first step made the Clippers defenders look like they were standing in cement and the only three he missed was a 30 footer that he had to take at the end of the shot clock. His drive and kick game was beyond impressive and on a night when Greivis Vasquez had 8 turnovers, Rivers was by far our most steady ball handler. He still has a long way to go, but anybody who legitimately thinks that there is any possibility that he will be a bust just isn’t watching close enough.

– People have called me crazy for saying that I would take Ryan Anderson over Blake, both short term and long term, but I stick by it and perhaps after tonight more people will jump on the bandwagon. Blake will sell more tickets, get on SportsCenter more, and create more buzz, but none of that matters to me. Ryan Anderson is just so much harder to game plan for and he can actually effect the game even when he is not scoring. And Davis over Blake is another no-brainer, especially when you project long term. I guess what I am saying is, CP3, if you are serious about wanting to win a ring, there is no better big man combo in the league to run the P&R with. A more deadly version of West and Chandler is waiting for you in the Big Easy!

– I feel like I say this in every recap: Greivis Vasquez has the unique ability to both be the best player on this team and the worst player on this team within the same game. I mean, 25 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds against the best PG in the league is amazing. But 8 turnovers and half a dozen near turnovers, combined with over dribbling that lead to taking bad shots at the end of the shot clock is equally maddening. At this point though, I’ll take it and we just gotta hold out hope that the good play will continue while the bad plays will diminish as he gets more time with his teammates.

– Al-Farouq Aminu’s stat line looks solid, but if you watched the game you realize that he was the primary reason that Caron Butler posted 33 points in this contest. He was caught looking at the ball or cheating far too often, and the result was an effort by Butler that was reminiscent of the one we saw from Paul George last week. I can live with the two or three times per game that Aminu tries to dribble and falls to the ground, turning the ball over, but the mental lapses on defense are unacceptable. That is his role on this team and if he can’t handle it, Dell Demps must move on and find a small forward who can.

– Robin Lopez got 21 minutes tonight, only 9 of which came in the second half and none of which came at crunch time. That is the way it should be. Ryan Anderson got 35. Again, the way it should be. When Davis comes back, I hope that he and Anderson hover around the 35 minute mark, Smith gets 20 and Lopez gets 12-16.

– And finally, for those who had not heard by now- YES, Eric Gordon was on the bench for the Hornets. He told reporters that he was optimistic about how the rehab was going and that he is feeling better but still has no idea when he will return. All I will say is that Davis and Gordon were front and center for this game and they saw their teammates pour their guts out in this game to get a win against a superior team. If this doesn’t make Gordon anxious to get back, nothing will.

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