San Antonio 106 (34–24) | New Orleans 92 (31–30)
I don't know that I'd say the Hornets are currently "reeling." Yes, they're 1–4 over their last 5, but they're also 5–5 over their last 10 and 6–9 without CP. I mean, I would say that tonight they looked terribly off (and perhaps a bit sluggish), but not quite "reeling."
Sure, the Bees shot 45%, but the Spurs managed 50%. Add that to their advantages in turnovers, blocks, and steals, and you've got a pretty good idea about how this game went down. Credit the Spurs for their strong D in the paint, uncanny ability to fluster us with physical play, and general make-us-look-silly-ness when we try to "rotate" around the perimeter.
The Hornets tried to put together a comeback—closing the gap to 6 or less several times—but it never really felt like we were going to take home the W. Perhaps it was the away-home back to back, but the Bees seemed slow on D and couldn't really nail a rhythm down on offense.
Here's to hoping they pull something useful from this loss and move along. Not the kind of game you want to dwell on.
Bullets after the jump.
- I know one thing for sure: tonight's loss was not Marcus Thornton's fault. The man was on fire. Seriously, I thought we'd see smoke coming from his hands at some point. In 27 minutes off the bench, Marcus added 30 points, 7 boards, and 2 assists. And (before he clanked 2 dumb, stat-padding shots near the end of the game) he shot 12 for 17 (70.5%) from the floor, including a perfect 6 for 6 from downtown. On top of all of that: he was fearless. He'd take 2 or 3 guys to the rack with him and then lay in one of his patented over-and-unders. Or, he'd quick fire a trey with a man right in his face. And on a night when everyone seemed cautious of the open shot, the basketball gods awarded Thornton for his aggression. Hopefully, the rest of the squad was watching.
- Good night from Mek... for the most part (he blew too many defensive schemes, but whatever). 18 points, 7 boards, 2 blocks, and a steal ain't too shabby when you're assignment for the night is Timmy D. He could have been even better, actually, but Bower sat him due to foul trouble... a tactic I do not agree with. (Why limit a player's minutes if he's fouling? Let him play it out. He'll likely end up with more time on the court by the end of the night and, when you consider Mek's replacement is either not a center or Aaron Gray, that's probably for the better).
- DC, who was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for February, had a decent showing. For those of you currently screaming, "How is a 15/2 assist/turnover ratio against one of the league's best defenses considered only 'decent'?" Well, I hear you. Those numbers mark a huge improvement from the buttered-finger performances of late; however, Collison hesitated on far too many open looks.
- As a follow up to the above, we were never really able to sustain any momentum all night. When we started to get rolling, we'd make mistakes like passing up open looks which led to either one too many passes, bad shots to beat the shot-clock, or both. Everyone did it all night (except for Thornton). DX and Collison were the biggest offenders. If I'm Jeff Bower, I'm looking for my scorers to get that confidence back... and fast.
- Defense collapsed waaaaay too many times tonight. It's like our collective defensive awareness was less than 60. (Real life is just like Madden, right?) Lazy rotations (lots of finger pointing instead of, you know, moving in to cover a wide open look) and lackadaisical rebounding efforts were nearly the death of us. I don't think I've ever heard our home crowd groan so much.
- Kind of cherry-picking here, but DX, Peja, and Posey combined for a paltry 11 of 34 from the field (comes to about 32%). Not that we lost because of them, it just would have been nice if someone (other than Marcus) could have knocked down some shots.
- DX got blocked by Manu. Ouch.
- The Spurs got great nights out of Duncan (22/9/1), Hill (23/5/2), and Parker (18/2/6), not to mention 3 guys on their bench contributed 10 or more points. Oh, and DeJuan "knee problems mon derriere" Blair and Matt Bonner played DX like a harp (what?). Messed with his head all night when they weren't busy contributing elsewhere. Heck, other than Manu's 4 turnovers and a handful of errant treys, the Spurs had a near-perfect evening. Just like always. Damn it all.
Opponent's Take: Pounding The Rock