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Hornets Lose to the Blazers

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Losses don't come much more brutal than that -- tepid, inconsistent, borderline unwatchable performance through three, a furious comeback in the fourth, only to have Anthony Davis' biggest ROY competitor (and the unequivocal leader at this point) drill a contested three pointer to win it.

The biggest culprit in this loss was clear: defensive rebounding. Greivis Vasquez had as many defensive rebounds (7) as Robin Lopez (2), Anthony Davis (4), and Ryan Anderson (1) combined. That's pathetic.

Portland pulled down 34% of all of their own available misses, well above the league average of 27%. The Hornets did an even better job on the offensive glass themselves (42% offensive rebound rate), but their finishing in the paint was significantly worse.

After a very poor first half in terms of ball control, the Hornets cleaned it up in the second half, one of their primary avenues leading back to competitiveness. Lillard's game winner ensured it wasn't enough though.

- Ryan Anderson (26 points on 16 shots and 5 offensive rebounds) carried the offense for large stretches. Anderson was responsible for a couple of bad looks down the stretch, but New Orleans was also guilty of ignoring him late in favor of strange, ugly Greivis Vasquez isolations.

- Vasquez finished with 23, 11, and 8, and those were all very important figures for the team to get. At the same time, his chemistry with Anthony Davis looked as poor as it ever has. He missed Davis rolling to the hoop on multiple occasions in the first half, missed him with easy passes, and generally turned what could have been an easy 20 point game for Davis into a much tougher one.

It's especially weird to me because Vasquez can make most any pass in the book and has decent vision. I really don't have an explanation for why he missed Davis so much in this game.

- Davis' poor defense continues, as J.J. Hickson outworked him with ease. We can continue to attribute a good deal of this to size, but this was one of the first clear-cut instances of Davis' effort being clearly superseded by his opponent's. Hopefully he doesn't make a habit of it.

Offensively, the lack of touches within the flow of natural play-calling and pick and rolls seemed to lead him to attempt extravagant and foolish things with the ball when he finally did get it. The airballed turn around fadeaway in the 4th quarter and the off-balance sideways floater in the 2nd quarter were great example of this.

- Lance Thomas was huge in the final quarter. Given Xavier Henry's poor performance and the team's desperate need for rebounding, it wouldn't surprise me to see him get some more minutes at the 3.

- Austin Rivers' late, tying three was nice, but his game was otherwise forgettable.

- Very little Brian Roberts, in a game he most certainly would have helped.

- Another guy that would've helped tonight was Aminu, who had 5 rebounds in just 8 minutes before being yanked for good. Dominic McGuire (11) and Xavier Henry (15) received most of his minutes.

- Other thoughts?

Final - 12.16.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
New Orleans Hornets 19 24 20 29 92
Portland Trail Blazers 25 29 21 20 95

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