How’s everyone doing on this Saturday night? I’m Jake and I want to thank James for letting me write for Swarm and Sting. I’m looking forward to contributing and hopefully we can make Swarm and Sting even better. But enough about me, let’s do this…
The Hornets came in to this game red hot having won their last 10 games and looking for their franchise record-breaking 11th. But it was the Kings who came out firing boosted by their win over the Lakers the night before. DeMarcus Cousins was particularly dominant in the early going and helped the Kings make 9 of their first 10 shots. Michael McNamara pointed out at Hornets247.com that the Kings are a tough team despite their poor record and the Hornets should have taken notice. New Orleans kept it close only down 2 at the end of the first quarter but then the bench came in and things got ugly (being outscored 24-36 on the night). Even a 9-2 run sparked by Marcus Thornton at the end of the half only brought the Hornets within 10. Yes, the team got back in it at the end but the damage had been done and there would be no comeback tonight. Unfortunately there was not much good in my first recap as a member of Swarm and Sting
PG: Chris Paul > Beno Udrih
CP3 had an okay game overall going for 19 points on 10 shots and making all his free throws. He dished out 7 assists but it could have been more if some of his teammates had hit their open shots. Paul had a gorgeous kick-out pass to Belinelli on the corner after driving to the hoop which was not converted. Unfortunately he had 5 of the team’s 14 turnovers including 2 in the final four minutes of the game. In a game which the Hornets lost by 6 that just can’t happen.
SG: Marco Belinelli < Tyreke Evans
This was a game to forget by Belinelli and he did nothing that will change anyone’s mind about being one of the NBA’s worst players. He totaled 5 points on 2-9 shooting and hit 1 of his 4 three point attempts. His lone highlight was a three in the fourth quarter which brought the Hornets to within 2. Overall it was a forgettable night for the Italian who finished with a +/- of -7.
Evans on the other had showed why he is the reigning rookie of the year. He finished with 18 points in 29 minutes. He picked up his 5th foul early in the third quarter and had he not the Kings might have put this game away much earlier. His strong drives to the hoop reminded me of Russell Westbrook causing problems for the Hornets defense. Anytime the Hornets got close in the fourth Evans seemed to answer with a drive and a basket.
SF: Trevor Ariza = Omri Casspi
Ariza had an okay game tonight with 12 points. He did make all 7 of his free throws. Normally, he takes a lot of poor shots which make me cringe but tonight that was not the case. The reason for that was he only took 6 shots and really disappeared tonight. In the fourth he had 2 free throws and nothing else. His defense was below par for him. Evans is not the best jump shooter and it seemed whenever he caught the ball up top Ariza would rush out at him, get blown by and be left staring at the back of Evans’ jersey. Just let him take the jumper, Trev!
PF: David West < DeMarcus Cousins
I could talk about West who led the Hornets with 21 points and 7 rebounds but he was completely overshadowed by Cousins who came out firing from the start. He had 19 of his 25 in the first half and totaled 12 rebounds and 7 assists. I don’t want to talk about this since it’ll just make me depressed.
C: Emeka Okafor < Samuel Dalembert
Okafor got his points (15) but totaled only 4 rebounds. Yes, the Kings are a very good rebounding team but 4 boards from your starting center who could (should) be an all-star is just disappointing. Part of the problem was Evans would blow by his defender and Okafor would have to move to provide help leaving him out of position. I don’t think anyone keeps stats for this but he has to lead the league in defensive three second calls which is just inexcusable.
-The Hornets need another big man who can help clog the lane against explosive guards like Evans and Westbrook. Once they get by their initial defender it causes havoc in the paint for the Hornets. Evans closed the game out like that tonight.
-The post hurt us tonight. Sacramento had more than half of their first half points in the paint and finished with 52 compared to 30 for the Hornets. After watching what they did to the Lakers the night before you would think that this would have been a much bigger point of emphasis.
-Thornton may be the main reason that the Hornets were somehow in the game but he tends to be out of control when he plays. Instead of going full on he needs to learn to pass or take a better shot. He had a charge called on him late in the fourth and those type of plays can murder a team.
Next up are the Suns and hopefully the Hornets can start a new streak. Tonight, I’m going to leave you with something more uplifting.