As any good coach would tell you about an off night by their young team, it's an ongoing process that requires time. Never more was this evident than tonight. Against the Jazz, a team that has struggled on the road, the Hornets came out flat and failed to mount any serious challenge in the 2nd half for the win.
Once again, our offense went mind boggling cold for significant stretches lending to a disappointing 95.3 ORtg for the game. Between an Austin River's layup at the 0:56 mark of the 1st quarter and a Robin Lopez free throw at 5:09 of the 2nd quarter, the Hornets failed to score a single point. During this stretch, we missed 11 shots and chalked up 6 turnovers. Shockingly, the Jazz didn't exploit this impotence and we were fortunate to be down a bucket at the intermission.
Sadly fans have become accustomed to reasonable halftime deficits meaning very little. As if on cue, the ominous 3rd quarter yet again proved disastrous in which the Hornets were outscored 31-17. Outside of the paint and the free throw, we didn't register a single hoop. Game. Set. Match.
1. Beat the Jazz underneath. Against one of the league's better front lines and without Anthony Davis, the Hornets outscored the Jazz in the paint 44-38. Unfortunately nothing else went right so the surprising advantage was all for naught.
2. Vazquez solid. 18 points (on 15 shots), 8 assists and only 1 turnover. A good line no doubt, but it just felt like it should have been even better with Jamaal Tinsley playing porous defense all night.
3. Robin Lopez productive. FroLo made 7 of 9 from the field and nabbed 7 boards in a little over 29 minutes. Perhaps tonight the Colossus should have been summoned.
1. Charity stripe disparity. The Jazz went to the line 17 more times! On our home floor!! Yes, the referee's whistle appeared unkind, but one of Monty's post-game quotes rang quite true:
"I feel like there's a way to attack the rim that leads referees to think you got fouled. If you attack the rim and go to dunk the ball, and you get hit, you can see it. But when you go and finger-roll and pump-fake and always look to pass ... if I'm a referee and a guy goes soft to the basket, I'm not going to give him the benefit of the doubt."
2. Turnovers. Al-Farouq Aminu had 6 and Jason Smith 5, but plenty of others were guilty of poor decisions and a lack of focus. Yes, the Hornets got in at around 5 am Tuesday morning, after an emotional win in L.A and a 4 game road trip. However, I refuse to believe that young professional athletes need more than 24 hours of recovery from a hiccup or two in their sleeping patterns.
3. Live by the 3, die by the 3. Hornets made 5 of 21 from beyond the arc. Fact of the matter is the Hornets failed to adjust to the flow of the game. They continued to hoist jumpers throughout the game despite clanging almost all of them off the rim all night. When the opposing team is living on the free throw line and you yourself have had some success in the paint, quit settling for perimeter looks.
The Hornets have two days to prepare for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Hopefully this Saturday, we'll see the squad recharged and ready to avenge their bad loss from approximately several weeks ago. Geaux Hornets!
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