Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 111, 76ers 99
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (12-26), 76ers (16-23)
It was over when… Greivis Vasquez swished a three-pointer from the left wing, giving New Orleans a 105-91 lead with just 2:40 remaining in regulation. The Hornets improved to 6-2 this season in games played by Eric Gordon, a stretch that also includes victories over San Antonio, Houston, Minnesota, Dallas and Charlotte. Gordon appeared to take another step toward returning to his old form, this time going 7-for-13 from the field en route to a 19-point outing. After not doing so in any of his first six appearances, that’s two games in a row that the shooting guard has made at least half of his field-goal attempts. New Orleans immediately heads to Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday, in the first NBA meeting between rookie Austin Rivers and his father, Doc Rivers.
Hornets MVP: Vasquez directed the offense in both halves, scoring 11 points before intermission and 12 points after the break, for a 23-point game that led the Hornets. Vasquez also handed out nine assists. One negative was Vasquez’s six turnovers, including a pair whenPhiladelphia suddenly turned up its fullcourt defensive pressure in an effort to change the momentum. Vasquez was also 3-for-4 from three-point range, another aspect of his game in which he has tangibly improved. A shaky perimeter shooter in his first two NBA seasons, the native ofVenezuela is up to 39.7 percent from three-point range in 2012-13. As a rookie withMemphis, he shot just 29.1 percent there; last season withNew Orleans his rate was 31.9.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: A whole host of reserves made contributions for the Hornets, including Ryan Anderson (14 points), Roger Mason (7 points), Brian Roberts (7 points) and Jason Smith (6 points). Based on his limited playing time lately, however, give the sixth-man honor in Philadelphia to Xavier Henry, who followed up a solid late-game performance Sunday inNew York with nice work off the bench. Henry scored all of his 11 points in the final three quarters Tuesday, including nailing an open three-pointer and throwing down a fast-break dunk. “I was just trying to be aggressive, coming in here and making the most of my opportunity,” Henry succinctly assessed. “That’s what I did.”
The buzz on… one of the most complete victories of 2012-13. Looking for offensive efficiency? The Hornets scored 111 points, their second-best output this season (incidentally, 113 is their season high, but it resulted in a loss atMilwaukee).New Orleans also shot 53 percent from the field, an outstanding rate, but particularly on the road. How about balance? All 11 Hornets players who entered the game Tuesday scored, with five players cracking double digits and 10 men registering at least five points. The bench combined to pile up 46 points. Add it all up andNew Orleans posted its sixth road victory of the season, while improving to 6-3 overall after starting the season 6-23. “It’s a major step for us to bounce back from the other day inNew York, on the road,” Monty Williams said. “It says a lot about our young guys.” Overall, Williams was understandably pleased with NOLA’s team-wide performance: “We got some big minutes from Brian (Roberts) in the beginning of the fourth quarter and he came in and knocked down some shots. (Xavier Henry) gave us some minutes tonight. Roger’s been pretty good for us off the bench. Jason and Ryan have a bit of a tandem going – they play well together. Our guys are learning how to bounce back from a bad loss.”