Thunder Beat the Hornets

US PRESSWIRE

So the Hornets lost again. 2012 should have inured us to it in some sense, but being wholly uncompetitive is never enjoyable. And that's what the Hornets were tonight again.

The reasons for the loss weren't terribly different from all the ones we've seen so far -- poor defensive rebounding (71% on the evening) with Robin Lopez pulling down an especially egregious two in 28 minutes. Through Lopez, Lance Thomas, and Ryan Anderson, New Orleans had more luck on the glass on the other end, but woeful shooting (18 missed threes out of 24, 33 misses twos out of 57) and poor ball control (19% turnover rate) made sure that didn't really matter.

Some takeaways:

- Al-Farouq Aminu had one of his rougher offensive performances of the season. His rebounding's continued to be fantastic on the defensive end, but we knew that he'd be decent at that coming into the year. The rest of the stuff -- increased aggression offensively, decreased willingness to settle for bad jumpers -- is slowly but surely fading into the background.

- Though Anderson struggled with his shot, it's still nice to see him finish with more shots (17) than anyone else. That's the way it should be without Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis, even though it's abundantly clear that Anderson isn't a first option scorer by any stretch. His trigger finger was a bit itchy on this night, but given the alternatives, that's perhaps to be expected.

- Yet another awful line from Austin Rivers. I'm trying to give him as much credit as I can when he does things well on offense (and you could certainly argue there's been an upward trajectory since the start of the year), but on this night, I'll just leave him alone.

- Really, really tough night from the backcourt. Greivis Vasquez created a good bit, but his shot (2 for 8) was completely off. Rivers looked to create for others where he could, but his shot was off too. And Brian Roberts, who's rapidly staked his claim as the team's best shooter at the guard spots, just hasn't looked to get guys involved.

That last thing can't really be held against Roberts either. Given his age and his background, the efficiency of his scoring has been an absolute revelation. (Seriously: a 55% true shooting mark through 15 games at 26% usage. That is nice). It's unfortunate for Roberts that this team is so, so, so terrible because his skillset would really be quite valuable on a better squad. I don't subscribe to the idea that point guards have to create for others to be valuable, especially back-up ones. The problem is that when nobody else on the team can create, it sticks out like a sore thumb regardless of what else is brought to the table.



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