Hornets clamp down in third, clip Hawks

Published: February 8, 2013

Vasquez posted the first triple double of his career as he and Eric Gordon pumped in 48 points from the backcourt.  Throughout the game, it was clear the Hornets starters could hang with the the Hawks starters, but in the second things got brutal as over a six minute stretch the Hornets second unit couldn’t get anything going.  At one point, the backups were down 14 after Jason Smith picked up two quick fouls and Rivers and Roberts lost their primary relief valve – Jason Smith mid-range jumpers.   Still, the Hawks lead at that point, which had Dominique Wilkins proclaiming the Hornets as “not a good team in any phase of the game” was built on a paper-thin foundation.  The Hawks had drilled 8 out of 10 threes, but were being shattered on the boards and closed the half up only five despite their hot shooting and 9 Hornets turnovers.

In the second half, the threes dried up as the Hawks went a more reasonable 5-14.  Though Vasquez-Lopez continued to be flammable to any Teague-led Pick-and-roll, their own pick-and-roll was proving effective when Vasquez could get the passes through.  Combined with solid defense, and the Hornets went on a 20-4 run to take the lead.

The key to the game, however, was the second unit coming in and not reprising their earlier crappy display.  There were three differences during this stint:

  • Smith, despite continuing to foul everything that moved, was able to stay on the floor and drill four mid-range jumpers off passes from Roberts and Rivers when they got into trouble.
  • Roger Mason played instead of Xavier Henry.  Henry couldn’t stay with Kyle Korver off screens to save his life.  Mason did a much better job – and got 20 minutes in the game as a result.
  • Austin Rivers didn’t turn the ball over whenever he wasn’t getting it blocked.  It’s surprising how much easier it is to not be outscored when your lead guard isn’t sucking.

In the fourth, the Hornets kept fighting, hit some big shots, and the Hawks tried to shoot themselves into the game with long threes.  Ball game.


  • Anthony Davis shoots too many twos without having his feet set.  He’s shooting 30% from there.  He makes Josh Smith look good from that range.
  • Josh Smith opened the game with 6 straight long jumpers, going 1-6.  Thanks, Josh!  Smith is either amazing or lazy.  Tonight, he was lazy.  Yeah, you’ll look at that 23-6-8 line and think he was amazing, but he wasn’t.  For every nice move he had, he threw out a dumb shot or a turnover or a lazy pass.
  • Austin Rivers was a problem.  Is a problem.  Ugh.
  • Eric Gordon’s jumper was looking gorgeous in the first half – and though he recorded just a single assist, his forays to the hoop kept breaking the defense, helping Hornet players grab offensive rebounds.
  • Ryan Anderson:  20 points on 11 shots.  Good stuff.
  • At one point Brian Roberts set a down screen on Ivan Johnson, who was supposed to be guarding Anderson.  Anderson hit the three, Johnson shoved Roberts away, went down the court, and when Roberts was chasing Devin Harris around a screen, stepped over and threw a hard shoulder at Roberts, catching him in the head.  Offensive Foul, Hornets ball.  Thanks Ivan!
  • The Hawks were really sloppy tonight, turning the ball over 17 times.  The Hornets only recorded 4 steals on those 17 turnovers.  That gives you an idea of how often they just overthrew each other out there.

Next game is Sunday in Toronto!


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