There's absolutely no question that was a game New Orleans should have won.
The lead got up to 13 in the first half, but a slew of missed free throws and horrendous defensive decisions assured that the Hornets took a minimal lead into the break, one they soon relinquished.
Some quick thoughts:
- Anthony Davis primarily floated around the perimeter in his return, especially early. As the game wore on, he was able to get a couple looks inside, as well as a tough rebound in traffic. A 13 point (10 shot), 8 rebound, 3 block, 3 steal performance in 25 minutes is excellent enough for us to ignore the 5 fouls, heh.
- Another atrocious performance from the General (5 points on 14 shots, though no turnovers). It's all well and good that Monty wants to send "messages" to assorted players by benching them randomly and without warning, but one of the biggest offensive and defensive culprits remains untouched. Of course, the depth at point guard is non-existent, but giving Xavier Henry a pair of starts at forward doesn't feel that much different than handing Austin Rivers a starting role at the point.
- Ryan Anderson started this game like he was gunning for 50 before finishing with one of his colder shooting nights of the season (7 for 21). Still, 17 points on 21 shooting possessions along with 11 rebounds off the bench isn't the worst off-night in the world (and he was most definitely off). We really won't see the "real" Ryan Anderson -- one that isn't forced into bad late shot-clock looks with regularity -- until Eric Gordon returns. If that ever happens.
- Tough to gauge Aminu tonight. From the start, he was clearly overanxious to do something, anything, on the floor, and at times it led to mistakes. Monty Williams benched him right at the onset for Darius Miller who struggled offensively but played a role in the team's stifling first half defense. I really have no idea if Aminu helped or hurt his case in this game (Xavier Henry didn't get off the bench at all), and that's partially due to the fact that Monty Williams' requirements for his players are so nebulous right now.
- Robin Lopez's point totals the last four games 15, 2, 20, 2. That second 2 corresponds to tonight although he did have 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. I thought he was a net positive, but he only got a combined 8 minutes in a second half that Washington pretty much dominated. Check out the Wizards' shot distribution in the first half (when Lopez played 15 minutes) and second half (when Lopez played 8) here. It's tough to parse out the multicollinearity here to draw any indisputable conclusions, but it's nonetheless interesting.
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