The Hornets lost another tight one tonight against the Heat. The absence of Darren Collison due to a bruised knee was noticeable, with his ability to get into the paint sorely missed at times. Obviously, the outcome of the game matters far less than the individual performances, so let's take a look at how the Hornets did.
Marcus Thornton was the headliner again, leading the Hornets with 14 points. He was disruptive on defense, fast on the break, and efficient with his scoring, shooting 7 for 14 from the field. He was also the leading rebounder (6 boards), which isn't a particularly good reflection on Brackins or the rest of the guys down low. Nonetheless, the Hornets and Heat had exactly the same number of rebounds - 29.
Craig Brackins had a really rough night from the field, only shooting 1 for 9 heading into the waning moments of the game, when he got an easy dunk from a pass by Quincy and an open three in the final seconds. He still scored 12 points because he was able to get to the line, where he made 5 of 6. He played a lot more in the post today, which was nice to see. His defense against dedicated post players like Varnado and Pittman was encouraging.
Quincy Pondexter had a rough night from the field, as well, going only 3 for 12 for 9 points, and only attempting 2 free throws. Since the Hornets are carrying so few big men on the roster, he had to guard a bunch of post players, as well. That shouldn't gold true during the rest of the season, so I'm not sure how valuable any analysis of his defense would be.
Aubrey Coleman had an excellent game today, running the point effectively and scoring 11 points. He was constantly finding a way to get into the lane and get to the free throw line, where he finished 3 for 3. He didn't have an assists, though. It was pretty clear that when he was on the court, the offense didn't really run through him.
Kyle Hines didn't shoot well today, going 1 for 5, but he played outstanding defense, always moving over to help and getting a couple of blocks and steals. He plays bigger than his frame.
Maurice Ager was vastly improved, shooting efficiently and effectively in his second game. He played under control and within himself, and made 3 of 4 from the field.
Carlos Wheeler showed off his athleticism today and looked good in only 7 minutes of action. He got his wrist or hand hurt during the first hand and was icing it throughout the second half.
Sean Sonderleiter was a bit of a disappointment after his impressive first game. He started, but only played 15 minutes en route to a pedestrian box score. He didn't do anything to distinguish himself, scoring only 4 points on 2 for 2 shooting.
We're heading out of Las Vegas now, hoping to make it back for the next weekend. We have lots of pictures and interviews we'll be posting over the next week.