Some poetry to open up the thread from your neighborhood English minor. The Hornets, again, played the Lakers tough for three and a half quarters only to come up short in the end. Joining Jarrett Jack, Emeka Okafor and Chris Johnson on the bench tonight were Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza. Just as they did the last time they played short handled at Staples Center, the Hornets played hard and competed in a game they had no business competing in, only to get your hopes up and lose in the end.
Carl Landry's terrific play against Pau Gasol and the sharp shooting of Marco Belinelli and Greivis Vasquez kept the Hornets competitive, but it wasn't enough. The game was tightly contested the whole way through until the Hornets went up 8 at the end of the third quarter. They held an 81-73 advantage with 6:13 left in the game before letting the Lakers finish on a 20-10 run to win the ball game. As is the case when Eric Gordon is out for New Orleans, the team struggles to perform in clutch situations. Given that Jarrett Jack, the only other "finishing option" for this team, is also out, you can imagine it led to some ugly possessions at the end of the game. The size of the Lakers at the rim was enough to make the difference down the stretch.
And, since I'm so soft, I hardly ever criticize Monty Williams. But I do question his decision to put Jason Smith in the game with Chris Kaman down the stretch and not ride Carl Landry's hot hand. But it's just another loss in another hard played game this season for the Hornets. Only nine games of misery are left.