Hornets.com postgame: 76ers 77, Hornets 62
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
76ers (2-2), Hornets (2-2)
It was over when… Evan Turner’s baseline jumper bounced around the rim and fell in, giving Philadelphia a 65-47 lead with about nine minutes remaining. Normally when a team’s down 18 with that much time left in an NBA game, there’s still a small glimmer of hope, but on an offensively-challenged night, that wasn’t the case. The 76ers and Hornets played one of the more unsightly games you’ll ever watch, with the visitors eventually pulling away in the second half for a comfortable win. It was a somewhat inexplicable performance by New Orleans: Although the Hornets could use injuries and their shorthanded lineup as excuses, the same group of players (other than Austin Rivers) won at Chicago four days earlier against a quality Bulls club.
Hornets MVP: Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds, leading New Orleans in both categories (he was the only Hornet to crack double digits in scoring). “He rebounds his position better than most small forwards in the league,” Hornets head coach Monty Williams credited after the game. It was Aminu’s career high in boards, including most defensively (12).
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Jason Smith accomplished a Hornets rarity in Wednesday’s game by putting together an extended stretch in which he changed the game in a positive way. Smith scored eight points in the first quarter and provided a much-needed jolt of energy. Smith finished with eight points and five rebounds in 14 minutes of playing time.
The buzz on… the domino effect of injuries on the rotation. With Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis already sidelined, Rivers was added to the mix of unavailable players due to a sprained left index finger. Williams said after the game that Rivers could have played, but Williams held him out as a precaution. In terms of additional playing time, the biggest beneficiaries Wednesday were Darius Miller (first NBA regular season start, replacing Rivers at shooting guard), Hakim Warrick (made Hornets debut, played seven minutes) and Lance Thomas (played seven minutes after totaling five in the previous three games). Miller made a few quality defensive plays to notch a pair of steals. Warrick scored four points during his second-quarter stint, while Thomas grabbed three rebounds. Gordon is out for the next 4-6 weeks, while the status of Davis and Rivers for Friday’s game vs. Charlotte remains uncertain. Regardless of who’s on the floor, the Hornets must cut down turnovers (24 vs. 76ers) and shoot significantly better (33.3 percent from field). “That has to be close to a record for us since I’ve been here,” Williams said of the turnovers. “You don’t deserve to win a game after you turn the ball over that many times.”