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The Hornets were forced to play catch up for the majority of the game after the bench gave up the lead in the first quarter. Cold shooting nights from Ryan Anderson and Greivis Vasquez, a combined 0 for 8 from downtown, sealed the deal. Onto the breakdown.
1. Anthony Davis. You want highlights? Unibrow provided a handful of them tonight. However, more importantly, he played with a competitive edge, one that was noticeably absent in the Rising Stars Challenge. For instance, his 10 rebounds were only the 3rd time he's hit double digits in that department the last 14 games. Perhaps this is a sign Davis is ready to finish the season in dominant fashion and give Damian Lillard a run for Rookie of the Year honors.
2. Al-Farouq Aminu. 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Nice. Now throw in his 5 makes out of 6 attempts (including 3 jumpers)? Wunderbar! With the construct of this Hornet's team, and understanding Eric Gordon could remain long term, how many fans don't envision Aminu as a realistic solution at the starting shooting forward slot is incomprehensible. Athleticism? Check. Rebounding? Check. Defense? Check.
3. Eric Gordon. Having 9 days off apparently agreed with the Commish's body. It was evident Gordon's efficient scoring night was largely due to his improved mobility on the court. No, his explosiveness isn't back to the level of his days as a Clipper but there was incremental improvement in his lateral and vertical movements. Unlike many other fans ready to trade him for peanuts, I'm more than willing to see where this train takes us.
1. Robin Lopez. Someone please tell FroLo the All-star weekend is over. Seriously. 1 shot attempt and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes of action? Lopez was enjoying a very good February until our previous game against Portland. Now that's two duds in a row. His consistent inconsistency really is maddening and unfortunately he's been doing it his entire career.
2. Monty's rotations. Williams must be seeking an award for stubbornness. Why else must fans still bear witness to large minutes by exclusively reserves. The majority of other teams will leave a starter or two to play with players off the bench and then get at least another starter back in with the reserves early in the second and fourth quarters. Some other rotation critiques: why is Roberts running the offense over Rivers when Roberts is horrible at creating for others? Why doesn't Gordon get utilized at the point in spurts, especially during moments where quick scores are a must? Why doesn't personnel focus their attack on opponent in-game weaknesses such as when Noah came back into tonight's game with 4 fouls?
3. PnR defensive philosophy. How many times have we seen one of our bigs over help on pick and rolls only to see his now unguarded man score an easy uncontested basket? ENOUGH ALREADY. It's not a wise strategy, let alone when it involves Lopez who isn't going to be able to disturb any ballhandler. For a team that loves to collapse in the paint, does it make any sense to continually allow a wide open lane to one offensive strategy, the pick and roll?
National television! Tomorrow the Hornets travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on ESPN. Obviously, the sports network is banking on two future NBA stalwarts in Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis to shine in the limelight. Regardless, it'll be a very winnable game against former Coach Scott so Geaux Hornets!