Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The Hornets weren't able to build momentum from their last second defeat of Portland Sunday night, dropped by Brook Lopez's Nets.
The final score belies how close New Orleans kept it at times, but ultimately, an inability to keep Brooklyn off of the offensive glass and the foul line cost the team. The Nets only converted 23 of 31 free throws, but even that was enough to dwarf the Hornets' 13 makes.
The poor performance on the defensive glass was probably far more costly. Between them, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace collected 12 offensive boards, one more than the Hornets had as a team. Robin Lopez had just 3 offensive rebounds in 37 minutes -- something we've more or less come to expect.
On most nights though, his teammates have been able to bail him out. The Hornets came into the game slightly above league average on the defensive glass. But Al-Farouq Aminu had his worst rebounding night of the season, and outside of Anthony Davis, no Hornet picked up more than 3. (Video of Davis talking about rebounding here, via the Times-Pic.)
Weirdly, Lance Thomas almost single-handedly negated the absence of Ryan Anderson offensively, going for 12 points on 4 field goal attempts. Roger Mason Jr. and Brian Roberts produced decently at the guard spots too, covering for Austin Rivers (who had successful surgery on his hand today). Eric Gordon played within himself, producing one of his more efficient nights since his return. And Greivis Vasquez's 15 point, 14 assist, 3 turnover effort kept the offense moving smoothly for the most part. On most nights, 98 points on 87 possessions would have been enough to stay competitive till the end.
It's doubly frustrating because the defense more or less held up tonight, or at the very least, to a far greater degree than we've become accustomed to. But the inability to box out and end possessions after the first miss ensured that a solid offensive performance and an eminently passable defensive one wouldn't be enough.