Poor First Half Dooms Hornets, Leads to 101-97 Loss To the Nets

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Published: February 26, 2013

For the first 24 minutes of the game I was incredibly disappointed. The Hornets looked like zombies on the court. Defensively, the Hornets kept leaving wide open shooters, letting the Nets shoot an incredible 75% from 3-point range and a robust 62.2% overall.

On the offensive end the Hornets took 6 more shots than the Nets but made 6 less. The off ball movement was stagnant; the court spacing a mess on certain possessions; and settling for jump shots. Unfortunately the Hornets are not a good jump shooting team. When they tried to manufacture higher quality looks by driving the finishing was incredibly poor, they most likely had them blocked or just missed. Which leads me to say that those shots weren’t of much high quality.

And the Nets led 57-41 at the break.

Then the second half started and you could see the team doing everything Monty wanted. The Hornets fought incredibly hard and with about 8 minutes left in the third the off ball movement looked quicker. The Hornets started shooting better as a result from creating better looks. Vasquez and Lopez carried the team with a strong contribution from Smith. The Hornets closed the gap to 4 with 5 minutes left in the game. But unfortunately it was not enough and after a handful of clutch shots by Anderson late, the Hornets ultimately fell 101-97.

 

Observations

-I don’t normally like to do this but I have to point it out: The officiating was atrocious.

-The Hornets have to have the worst defensive backcourt in the league. Vasquez was beaten on multiple assignments and has trouble fighting through screens. Gordon has the speed to keep up with most players but is caught out of position very often. Roberts is Roberts and Mason is Mason. The bright spot tonight was Rivers in this area. His on ball defense was great tonight.

-I’m very happy to see some offense out of Rivers tonight. You can tell he starting to put things together.

-I like to think I’m a smart individual but I have almost zero idea what Monty is trying to do on defense. The team packs the paint but gives up offensive rebounds. There were a few possessions where Monty let his guy defend 1 on 1 and then only had help come over if they were close to the ball. Not surprisingly these were the most effective defensive possessions. Defenders were able to help if needed but still be in position to rotate over if a pass was made. I don’t know why we see this so rarely.

-You could say the result of the game was secondary after Davis left in the 2nd half with a arm/shoulder injury but it’s important that the Hornets learn to play without Davis for stretches. As we’ve seen with the Gordon situation, it’s not good if the Hornets really that heavily on one player for their success.

-Speaking of Gordon, he had a horrible night. He’s cut his turnovers down recently and is assisting more (6 tonight) but he shot 5 of 14 on the night for 10 points and struggled on defense. When can we stop using injuries as an excuse for his poor play. He’s obviously made the team better since his return this season but if you added anyone with significant talent onto the team they obviously would have improved. I’ve been very patient and one of Gordon’s biggest defenders but I think I’m at the breaking point with him. Honestly, I feel as if we overrated the type of player he is.

-Aminu had a quiet game if you go by the box score but I love what he’s been bringing to the team for a few months now. His rebounding has been excellent and defensively his long arms are making it tough for opposing players to make the passes they want and often forcing them to look for someone else. I’m all for keeping him next season and using him a defensive specialist off the bench–that is if the price is right.

-I’ve had enough of the Lopez brother stuff so I’m not talking about that tonight.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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