Hornets Lose at Home to the Offensively Challenged Wizards

“We played down to their level.”

That was the word coming out of the locker room, as Jason Smith pointed out something glaringly obvious, yet completely unexplanable. How could a team with the worst record in the Western Conference think that they can come into any game and take an opponent lightly? How can you afford to not play with the same intensity that we all saw you play with on opening night against the Spurs? We can’t blame the injury bug anymore, because tonight featured the return of Anthony Davis, and that means that we had the same 12 guys suited up tonight as we did that first week and a half when this team was earning their way into all of our hearts with high intensity, focus, and determination. The bodies of those players are the same, but the heart and soul has been replaced with something that is less than what us diehard fans deserve.

I wish I could say that this was an abberation, but if you listen to the latest ‘In the NO’ podcast, I told you all that I had a feeling this was coming. I saw this team do the exact same thing last year, specifically against the Bobcats in a game that was even more unwatchable than this one. They don’t bring the same intensity for games against the bottom tier teams, and instead of putting a game like this in the win column, they just add to a steadily rising loss column that will continue to grow as this schedule simply does not let up any time soon.

It was nice when we could lie to ourselves, saying we were just a healthy Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon away from being a respectable team. We can stay in this illusion and imagine a world in which these players cover up all the gaping holes in Vasquez or Aminu’s game. As fans, we love to believe that this team is better than they really are, and that all it will take to climb our way back to respectability is a full squad showing up healthy. At that point, our opponents will just lie down and hand us the victory that we somehow feel entitled to for no reason in particular.

The fact is, however, that this team needs a lot more than a healthy Eric Gordon to be at the level that they all seem to think that they are at already. You don’t take quarters, halves, or entire nights off when you are this far away from average, let alone greatness. How does the saying go? It is always darkest before the dawn. Well, it doesn’t get much darker than this, so here’s hoping we have reached rock bottom. That’s as glass half full as I can get after this performance.

Notes and Observations

– 504-322-3333. Play with the trade machine and then tell Ryan and I how you would solve this mess. Have you finally given up on Aminu? Is it time to trade a big for a small? Can we get through this season with Vasquez at the point without losing our minds? Give us your ideas, because honestly, I need something to distract me from the on-court play of this team.

– Everybody is going to pile on Greivis Vasquez after this game, but honestly, he is not a starter in this league and this is what happens when you put the fate of your team in the hands of a guy who should be a 7th or 8th man. That said, it was Monty’s decision to put the ball in Vasquez’s hands in the 4th quarter when both Roberts and Rivers were having better nights running the offense. Monty is loyal to his guys, sometimes to a fault. Tonight was one of those times.

– Ryan Anderson went ice cold in the second half, and that is going to happen with shooters no matter how good they are. What I am more upset about it that they didn’t just keep going to Anderson when he had the hot hand. He was red hot in the first half, and they ran post-ups for Lopez or got Aminu 15-footers off of curls. Really? Feed the man while he is hot, and maybe he never goes cold in that second half.

– Rivers was fantastic, save for some shots he had to chuck up at the end of game and his three missed free throws. He is starting to play with pace and is taking his time when going to the hole, as opposed to flying to the rim out of control and hoisting up garbage. He seems to be letting the game come to him more and more, and I only expect that to become the norm as the season goes on.

– Lopez was fine, playing to a relative draw with Emeka Okafor tonight. The bigs minutes tonight were: Anderson-38, Davis-25, Lopez-22, Smith-11. I still would like to see Davis and Anderson around 34, with Lopez and Smith both around 16, but this wasn’t a bad distribution considering Davis was working his way back.

– Speaking of Davis, he was good on both ends of the court tonight and didn’t seem inhibited at all by his injury. He was terrific when it came to hedging or showing on screens and with his weakside defense, but he was still pushed around quite a bit under the basket. Teams should take advantage of that now, because I dont think they will be able to for much longer.

– If you still believe that Al-Farouq Aminu can be a key part of this team moving forward, then you were probably one of those people who held on until the bitter end with Julian Wright. Maybe this will work out differently, but I’m not betting on it, which is why I was happy to see Darius Miller play well in spurts tonight. Xavier had his shot and Aminu has gotten two- isn’t it time to give Darius Miller an extended look?

– Tomorrow night at Thunder!


32 responses to “Hornets Lose at Home to the Offensively Challenged Wizards”

  1. 1st we give a d-league wizards team a gift win, now we gotta take our show to OKC? Didn’t they put 80 on Charlotte in the 1st half and held them to 25? This will get ugly. We need Eric Gordon ASAP!

  2. Thank god someone finally pointed out how terrible GV has been lately. My god, I want to pull my hair out watching him play now. Teams have adjusted to his style of running the offense and he just does not have the athleticism to combat those adjustments.

    For the love of God, let Rivers run the offense Monty. He already looks better running the offense and getting people set up than GV and he’s been borderline terrible at times. Not to mention, Rivers is easily our best perimeter defender already. We’re obviously struggling, TRY SOMETHING NEW.

    People actually pay to go to these damn games and it is just plain taxing. We lose to the Wizards. When we play good teams, we’re lucky to be in the game by the 4th quarter. It starts at the top. There is no flow on offense. That lack of flow on offense leads to terrible positioning on defense and overall lack of flow on that end too.

    RIVERS FOR PG 2013!

    • I totally agree with this. We might as well let Rivers take his lumps night in and night out against starting PG’s and learn the ins and outs of actually running the show. Not only because of Vasquez’s play but also because the market has basically dictated that Rivers developing might be our best bet at having a quality starting PG on this roster. I still love Vasquez as our primary backup Point Guard and possible 6th Man. His energy, passing ability and the fact that he could step in for a few games and start if injury happens makes him a great backup Point Guard in my opinion.

    • Rivers can’t run the offense….accept that! He’s not ready nor does he see the gamne as a point guard…he’s more of a scorer…you have to think and see the game as a point guard…..he’s not ready for that demand..

    • You haven’t been listening about the Vasquez situation…he’s a backup guard…step slow…..nice player vs “B: level guards not ‘A” level…said this last year.

      • Always disagree with this guy GerrV. Same guy who said the Saints would crush the Redskins… anyways Rivers is our best option at PG because of the ball skills, speed, shooting threat and tempo he creates. NBA has changed and it is played at a faster pace. You don’t need a D’Antoni style but per 100 possessions Hornets are near dead last in scoring.

      • Lol, while I think we should start Rivers it’s not necessarily because I think he’s SO much better than Vasquez at this point. It’s moreso because I think it would be better for the team long term to get both Vasquez and Rivers in there likely roles for the future. Like Dru pointed out, Rivers’ shot has been off so far which is surprising seeing as how I thought that was one of his better coming out of college. And Nolakid21, YA GOTTA RESPECT GERRY V, HOMIE!!

  3. could not agree more with your notes and observations. I just wish Lopez would have been in the game at the end. I think he give the team the best shot to get the rebounds and the Wizards got a lot of second chance shots late in the 4th to pull away.
    But it is easy for fans to run the show. The coach knows best. He put those guys in that situation for a reason, they have to execute.
    Speaking of coaching, we have said for 3 years now that Monty is the best coach for this franchise. Well, this talent and his coaching should have beaten the Wizards. I will stay with him for the time being, but I am starting to lose some faith in his coaching style, if he cannot beat the Wizards!

  4. We have two very talented players (Davis, Anderson). We have another potential talent (Rivers). We have a serviceable center (Lopez) and a decent backup big (Smith). Miller is worth an extended look. Who knows what will happen with Gordon. Beyond those players, there really is little to no talent on the roster. With that said, I would not panic and take on a bad contract. I hope Demps will instead wait until the offseason to improve the team. I think he is likely to make better decisions at that time.

  5. Love the article. I was literally starting to think with the return of Davis and Gordon, this team could have stretches of 0.500 play against the weaker part of our schedule. After tonight that thought looks like a joke. We are realistically three quality starters (at PG, SG, and SF) away from that. If you assume Gordon will be the quality starting SG, where do the other two come from and how do we get them? The answer seem likely to include a period of time longer than this season. OUCH!

  6. Im gone have to just say this, I love Monty and I think if he was coaching the Lakers or something he would be great…But he is not the right coach for the Hornets, I see teams with less talent than the hornets win more often which leads me to believe its coaching!!! When your team constantly blow leads out of the half, everyone is scared to shoot or make any mistake its the coach. When you got a young team you got to unleash them sometimes they going to look bad, but sometimes you will be surprised at what young talent can do!!! The hornets doesnt need to be a half court team, more run and gun… And Miller needs to play more Monty!!!

    • I totally agree. The Hornets don’t have enough talent to play strictly half-court offense. They get no easy baskets. They have the second youngest team in the league but they don’t run. The offense is boring and lacks creativity. While the Hornets certainly need more talent, I don’t think Monty’s offense is suited to the team’s talents.

  7. last night was an abomination
    worse even than the bobcraps loss last year
    empty arena, no energy, no intensity, no nothing
    the play was amateurish and the environment was sickly

    it is the only time since i became a season ticket holder that i wished i hadn’t gone to the game. there was nothing at all all offered at any point that justified my presence or my expenditure

    rock bottom is right…

    • Couldn’t go, couldn’t give the tickets away, and wasn’t willing to pay someone to go in our place. We have experienced two wins this year, and I had to miss one of them. Every other home game has been depressing. No fight, no action, no personality, no crowds, no excitement.

      Missing tons of free throws is the sign of a team that is not sharp, and doesn’t care.

      Vasquez and Roberts threw up a bunch of shots that looked like my 8-and-under team. “floaters”, “runners”, and the like are okay once in a while, but not when you are 15 feet away and off balance. Zero offensive planning and executions with any of our guards. Zero. Vasquez can’t see past the man guarding him, and Rivers/Roberts don’t even look.

      I’d like to see us try a big line-up with our 4 decent players: Smith, Lopez, Anderson, and Davis. I don’t care who else plays with them, as long as it’s not Aminu. If that 5th man can’t advance the ball, let Davis or Anderson do it.

  8. @Michael Yes, it is Millertime. Also, AD is going to breathe life into this team. I am glad AR is back in the starting line up. Davis should be, too. These two need to build chemistry now. That alley oop from AR to AD was our future. Also, Darius and AD already have chemistry. I personally think an AD, Ryno, Miller, EG, AR line up could be pretty solid right off. There would be growing pains for sure, but we could win games with that team. Granted, EG playing is a long shot, but hey. Here’s to optimism.

  9. This team really is in flux. Not really sure where we can go from here. We don’t have the assets to make a significant trade(not anybody we would actually trade). Gordon has a no trade clause the rest of the season. So that makes trading him even more difficult. Even if we can please Gordon and another team we have so many holes that won’t be filled in one fell swoop.

    I been preaching patience and building via the draft. So if I was running this team I would trade Gordon for a high pick and maybe a short bad contract. Looking around the bottom of the league I’m not sure who will be willing to take on EJ with his injury problems and contract.

    Cleveland has Waiters, Washington has Beal, Toronto has Derozen and Ross, Sacromento has Thorton and Evans(and really don’t need more scoring) outside of Drummond and Monroe there’s nobody on Detroit roster I would want to bring in to match contracts with and obviously Pheonix is out of the question. So that takes away any chance of getting another top 7 pick.

    We really should have moved Gordon the min he made it clear he wouldn’t sign the original deal we offered.

    • I agree. Sacramento looks like it will trade some pieces this year once it can sort through them.

      We obviously should never have signed Gordon to that max contract. Unfortunately, he’s a big time depreciating asset right now that no GM in their right mind would want to touch.

  10. “Played down to their level” Over the years when i’ve herad a player say that it would make my skin crawl. Tough talented teams dictate the level of play,they selct moments in games where they take over.Here’s what i believe is lacking

    a-Stronger Peer Pressure- eventually you want a couple of guys who know what success is in the NBA, they lived it and they have the personality to tell sosmeone they are not carrying their load

    b- Guard Play- Its not even a debate! Lack of creative play hurts this team.How mant times have you heard me ask” Who has the escape game?”…Who can play make, at least to a degree…upgrade this area or suffer…

    c- Scoring Wing with “attack game” off the dribble type who can score the ball.

    Who are the “short guys?” late in the shot clock who can get their own shot? Who?

    Team seems to mechanical…stiff…robotic…thats because of the lack of guys that can “just play”

    In street terms i ask you…”Who are the ballers?’

  11. They lost at home to the Washington Wizards without John Wall? Are you kidding me?

    Well, Well, Well… I never waited so much for 4 numbers and 1 word: 2013 JUNE.

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