Hornets force just five turnovers in 95-86 loss to Hawks

Published: January 1, 2013

Led by an impressive outing from Josh Smith, Atlanta got the best of New Orleans despite the Hornets making 10 out of their 20 three point attempts. Smith finished the game with a decent 23 points on 20 shots, but was so essential because of all of the different ways in which he impacted the game. His stat line also included 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks, 3 steals, and just 1 turnover. He was all over the court in his 37 minutes of action (getting regular minutes after playing only 23 minutes the night before), and the Hornets really had no answer for him. From a game plan perspective, let’s take a look at how New Orleans fared with my three keys to the game in the preview.

  1. Get to the free throw line. The Hawks lived up to their reputation here, allowing only .146 free throw attempts per field goal attempt to the Hornets tonight. To make matters worse, New Orleans converted on just 4 of their 12 attempts, resulting in a franchise low 33.3% free throw percentage. Fortunately for them, the Hawks fared even worse in this category, attempting just .096 free throw attempts per field goal attempt and making only 4 out of their 8 attempts. Free throws were definitely not “free” tonight.
  2. Limit turnovers. The Hornets actually did a pretty decent job here, committing only 13 turnovers (1.5 below their season average and 3 less than the amount that the Hawks force per game). Furthermore, the Hawks only scored 10 points off of those turnovers, far less than their 17.6 turnover per game average. Unfortunately, Atlanta took the whole “limiting turnovers” mentality to a whole new level, committing just 5 turnovers of their own thanks to no one player coughing the ball up more than once.
  3. Defend the 3-point line. The Hawks’ 3-point statistics were very similar to their season averages, as they shot slightly fewer but made a slightly higher percentage than usual (9-22, 40.9%). Fortunately for the Hornets, they had an even better game from beyond the arc, making 10 of their 20 3-point attempts.

Other notes from tonight’s game:

  • Another brutal home third quarter for the Hornets. I have been assuming that the huge difference between the team’s home and road third quarters could be largely chalked up to small sample size, but the more it happens, the more you have to wonder why. Entering tonight’s game, New Orleans’ net rating in the 3rd quarter was +4.4 on the road (111.1 offensive rating) and -27.8 at home (85.3 offensive rating). On a per-game basis in the third quarter, the Hornets are scoring 19 points per game at home and 25 points per game on the road. Something happens after halftime with this team at home, and Monty needs to figure out what it is.
  • Both teams combined to shoot worse from the free throw line (8-20, 40%) than they did from the 3-point line (19-42, 45.2%). I cannot remember the last time I’ve seen that happen in any game, especially with as many as 20 attempts from each.
  • For between one and two minutes, Coach Monty Williams deployed a lineup that I have been waiting to see all season long – Vasquez, Gordon, Anderson, Davis, and Lopez. The lineup allows the team’s best five players to all be on the floor at once, and it is usable on both sides of the court thanks to Anderson’s perimeter shooting and Davis’ athleticism and wingspan on defense. I liked what I saw from the lineup in the quick glimpse that we got, and hopefully it is one that we’ll see more of as the season moves along.
  • Greivis Vasquez finished just one rebound shy of a triple double for the second time in the team’s past three games. My favorite part of his game tonight, however, was his assist to turnover ratio of 5. When Vasquez isn’t coughing the ball up and Aminu isn’t getting enough minutes to do the same, the Hornets as a team will typically do very well from a turnover perspective.
  • Roger Mason made the most of his playing time, converting all three of his field goal attempts (all 3-pointers) while adding 5 rebounds as well. With the team’s long-term plans in mind, I cannot see why he is playing 20 more minutes than Roberts, but he certainly played well tonight.

The Hornets are back in action tomorrow night in Houston to take on the Rockets, a team coming off of a 19 point win against these Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off is at 7 PM, and you can catch the game back on Fox Sports New Orleans.


Robin Lopez Austin Rivers IMG_9446  IMG_9448 IMG_9444


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