Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 100, Pistons 95
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (21-39), Pistons (23-38)
It was over when… Al-Farouq Aminu grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed Detroit three-pointer and was fouled, then made a pair of free throws for a five-point lead with 2.2 seconds remaining. Aminu’s foul shots came with the added bonus of enabling the Hornets to reach the century mark, which means free McDonald’s French fries for fans. On the previous possession, Greivis Vasquez delivered a big basket with a driving runner that made it 98-95. With no timeouts, Detroit had little choice but to launch a three-pointer, but Rodney Stuckey misfired on a contested trey from the center of the arc.
Hornets MVP: During the first month of the season, Ryan Anderson filled a much larger offensive role, due to the absence of Eric Gordon. With Anthony Davis sidelined, he’s also picked up a bigger share of the burden on the backboards. Anderson put both of those together Friday, finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds, including six offensive boards. Although he did launch eight three-pointers, making two, he again showed a knack for scoring around the basket, with three layups and one dunk. Vasquez was also a viable candidate for game MVP honors, with 25 points and nine assists.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Austin Rivers received the in-arena honor, as well as accolades from Monty Williams and a few teammates after the game for his contributions. He has played much more under control since the early part of the season, when he was frequently off balance or knocked to the floor on drives to the basket without drawing a whistle. The 10th overall draft pick delivered seven points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field, but is still trying to shake his free-throw woes, going 1-for-4.
The buzz on… playing shorthanded. Williams said at shootaround and in pregame Friday that New Orleans will peruse the list of available street free agents and try to sign someone to add depth to the frontcourt, with Jason Smith now out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. With Anthony Davis (shoulder) missing Friday’s game and listed as day-to-day, center Robin Lopez is the only Hornet who could reasonably be given that positional designation. Lance Thomas is an undersized power forward, making it even more of a challenge for him to shift to the center spot. To his credit, he has always willingly taken on whatever defensive assignment he’s given, which has put him in some unfavorable situations over the past two seasons. New Orleans is also without its fourth- and sixth-leading scorer when Davis and Smith are sidelined, making it imperative for Anderson, Eric Gordon and Vasquez to be aggressive on offense. The trio combined for 65 of the Hornets’ 100 points, including taking 50 of the club’s 81 attempts from the field.