[Happy Monday guys. My sincere apologies - got a pretty bad case of food poisoning on Friday, and I've been out of it for a good 48 hours. I somehow made it through the entirety of the Bulls game in a sort of hazy half-dream state, so I'll have some thoughts up on that soon if I can. In the meanwhile, RedHopeful had a splendid recap of the Friday night win against Utah that I was too passed to get to that night.
Lots of still-very-applicable points in here now though, so give it a look. - R]
Nothing comes easy folks. In the second game of the season, the Hornets took it down to the wire again, but this time, they managed to pull out the victory. Grievis Vasquez hit a running bank shot from about 8 feet with less than 2 seconds to go to give the Hornets their first win of the year.
However, it wasn't all peaches and cream as Anthony Davis left the game with 4:51 left in the 2nd quarter. He took an inadvertent elbow from Austin Rivers to the noggin', thus ending his night prematurely. The team is calling it a mild concussion and he's day-to-day. Davis will stay behind in New Orleans to undergo further testing as the team travels to Chicago for Saturday night's game against the Bulls. Hmph. As if the fans needed another reason to hate on Rivers.
1) Al-Farouq Aminu. In the gamethread, Brian nailed it: who is this guy? I had high hopes for him coming into the season, but many of them were dashed during the preseason. Guess the Chief was just saving the good stuff for the real thing. Besides turning in the best +/- on the night, Aminu corralled the most rebounds, had the highest FG% and was extremely active on the defensive end. Hindsight is 20/20 but who else feels the organization made a mistake not picking up his option for next season?
2) Ryan Anderson's jumper. Against San Antonio, he only managed to make 3 of 10 shots and 1 of 5 from 3 point land. Tonight, a much different story: 7 of 15 and 5 of 9 from deep. If you haven't noticed, the Hornets are offensively deprived (another obligatory shout out to Eric Gordon's knee) so Anderson's efficiency might be a very telling barometer on future wins and losses. Now everyone together - warm fuzzy thoughts.
3) No halftime lull. In 9 games this year (both preseason and regular), the Hornets have been outscored 205 to 167. Tonight we broke the mold at least temporarily by putting up 27 points versus 22 for the Jazz. If it's one thing we learned last season, a bad quarter will often times cost you a game. Let's hope this year's team has already learned how to overcome prolonged doldrums.
1) Austin Rivers's left elbow. Due to a mild concussion, Anthony Davis will miss his first opportunity at playing in an NBA game in front of his hometown Chicago fans. At least it doesn't seem too severe as per Jim Eichenhofer's Tweet:
A grinning Monty on AD: "He's a pain on the bench when he wants to get back in the game.I'm like, 'Dude, sit down!' You love that about him"
To a lesser degree, this elbow is also at least partially to blame for a 7.7 FG% through two games. Normally, when an appendage is this detrimental, doctors usually advise amputation, no?
2) Rebounding. On the surface, it doesn't seem bad as Utah edged us out by only two rebounds. However, there were numerous instances our guys failed to either box out or just come up with the rebound at a key point in the game. For most of the year, we're going to rely on defense and rebounding to win games so we can ill afford any drop offs in this area.
3) The SG position. For most of the night, Rivers, Mason and Miller were offensively ineffective at the 2. At this point, there is a growing sentiment that most of River's minutes should be behind Vasquez at point. After all, he did record 6 assists on some very nice passes. So then who starts? The invisible veteran Mason, rookie Miller or trainwreck Henry? Ugh. I guess River's role is still safe for now.