Coming into tonight's matchup, the Hornets needed one of those generational miracles to pull out a victory. Three of our best six players were sidelined: Anthony Davis (shoulder), Eric Gordon (no back to backs) and Jason Smith (shoulder). In addition, the Thunder are fantastic at home, losing only 4 times in 30 games.
Welp, it didn't happen. Although the Hornets did manage to hang around until about 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter, the Thunder thumped the Hornets the rest of the way, outscoring New Orleans 81-44. The game became so uncompetitive that Kevin Durant had himself a triple double at the 5:08 mark of the 3rd quarter!
Instead of attempting to discern any positives and not overwhelm with negatives, we'll just stick to a few random notes and thoughts:
- Through the first 18 minutes of the game, the Hornets had a total of 5 rebounds: Al-Farouq Aminu (3) and Greivis Vasquez (2). Robin Lopez didn't garner his first until the second half and ended up with a measly 2 in over 31 minutes of court time. His starting front court mate, Ryan Anderson, failed to grab even 1 in 24 minutes! That's right, our starting center and power forward combined for 2 rebounds on the night.
- Speaking of Mr. Anderson, at least his offense looked good early. Through the first 15 minutes of the game, he had himself 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting. However, the rest of the game, he failed to add anything to that total as he went 0-5.
- Austin Rivers had a pretty crossover on Russell Westbrook that led to a bucket, drilled a three and made both his foul shots. Quite a few would probably say that's a good night, but when the team is seriously undermanned, it would have been nice to see Rivers press the issue. 8 shot attempts in 38 minutes? Not enough. Since Monty Williams is directly responsible for killing Austin's scoring mentality, he should have goaded the youngster for more.
- Aminu continued to play within himself as he led the Hornets in rebounding (7) and made another couple of excellent defensive plays. Most of his perimeter jumpers still displayed their typical awkward arc, but he did shoot a smooth one at the end of the 3rd quarter. It didn't count as time had expired; however, in that brief moment, we witnessed Aminu has more ability than he lets on. Somehow, someway, he needs to stop being so mechanical about technique and allow his instincts to take over.
Up next, the Hornets face the Pistons on Friday. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up a much needed victory against a below average team from the East. Geaux Hornets!