Welp. Finishing the season with what little health they had left was perhaps the only attainable goal left for the Hornets, and it appears they failed it tonight.
Anthony Davis' injury rightly overshadows the loss (Oleh had some quick quotes on the injury here). At first glance, it certainly seems like an injury that may have looked worse on the floor than it eventually proves to be; between the awkward angle Marcus Thornton fell into Davis with and the way Davis grabbed his knee on the floor, my predominant first reaction was something between heightened anguish and abject terror. But Monty Williams' post-game quotes ("I'm glad it wasn't a buckle or ligament or anything like that") brush away major injury fears for now.
Davis' MRI is scheduled for today. Regardless of the result, it may be wise for the team to bring what has been a pretty brilliant rookie season to a premature end.
As far as the game itself? This one was over early on. It was played at the Kings' pace -- 98 possessions -- and the Hornets committed plenty of poor turnovers to help the Kings pile onto what was already poor defense. Nothing new in the slightest.
Robin Lopez was to blame, and so too was the starting backcourt; on the plus side, Eric Gordon did a strong job of looking for teammates, and his seven assists probably belies the number of positive reads of passing lanes he made, especially in the first half. 23 points on 16 shots, a trip to the highlight reel, 7 assists, and finally, a back-to-back (on the road, to boot). It's been a long, strange 15 months for Gordon in New Orleans, and I don't think it's unfair of fans in the slightest to wonder if this is illusory. Still, hope for the summer is all we can really ask for, and perhaps Gordon finishing strong offers some clarity to the team's scouts as the draft approaches.
On the other side of ball-handling duties, Greivis Vasquez continues to get plenty of time off the ball. This time last year, he was firmly entrenched in a point guard role, having made the backup job fully his own following early career questions about whether he could play the position at all. Strangely, despite his successes this season, the waters have grown far murkier. There's no question for me at this point that Vasquez is a starting-caliber NBA point guard with a solid case to be ranked among the league's top half at the position. But with two top point guard options potentially in play depending on where the Hornets draft, Vasquez's future is difficult to project right now.
He's certainly big enough to play in three guard sets if the Hornets wanted a trifecta of ball-handling options with a PG-Gordon-Vasquez set-up, and he actually matches up more effectively against various small forwards than he does lead guards. Still, it'd be unconventional, and you get the sense that if the Hornets are in a position to pick up Marcus Smart or Trey Burke, a decision will have to be made.
Speaking of the lottery, the loss dumps New Orleans into a tie with Detroit for the 5th worst record and gives them 1.5 games of separation from Sacramento with 3 to play (4 for the Kings). Cleveland (2.5 games "ahead") and Phoenix (3) should be uncatchable at this point. Finishing 5th would give the Hornets a 91.2% chance of drafting in the top 6, and finishing 6th would yield a 66% chance of the same.
The stakes obviously aren't as high as last year, but in many ways, this was a pretty clutch loss y'all. /jumps off balcony
|Final - 4.10.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|New Orleans Hornets||28||20||25||37||110|