Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 112, Cavaliers 92
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (26-48), Cavaliers (22-50)
It was over when… Brian Roberts drained a three-pointer to give New Orleans a 98-78 lead with 5:24 remaining in regulation. The Hornets trailed the Cavaliers by a point at halftime, but dominated from there, including a 14-5 run to open the fourth quarter. New Orleans’ reserves spearheaded the final-period surge, scoring all 14 of those points. Roberts, Ryan Anderson and Darius Miller each connected on a three-pointer during the spurt. New Orleans closed its seven-game homestand – the longest for the team in a decade – with a 4-3 record, including wins over Boston, Memphis and Denver.
Hornets MVP: After missing two of the past three games due to an ankle injury – and going scoreless in the Clippers game he did appear in during that stretch – Greivis Vasquez looked like the point guard who is contention for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Vasquez followed up a relatively quiet first half with 16 points in the third quarter, part of his 25-point game, just two shy of his career high. The native of Venezuela also dished out nine assists and had three steals.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Anderson was oustanding again, going 9-for-14 overall and 5-for-7 from three-point range, accounting for 23 points. He also grabbed six rebounds. With several of the starters held in check during the first half, Anderson provided a critical 15 points. He then helped sealed the victory with eight in the fourth quarter, including a pair of back-breaking three-pointers.
The buzz on… an improved New Orleans bench. Through chunks of the schedule, offensive production among the team’s reserves came primarily from two sources: Anderson and Jason Smith. With Smith also battling a shoulder injury, that often meant that Anderson was forced to carry an increasingly large scoring load. In recent weeks, it’s no longer been a one-man show for the Hornets’ backups, particularly due to the play of Roberts and Miller, both NBA rookies. Roberts (15 points, 3-for-4 three-point shooting) and Miller (8 points, 2-for-4 three-point shooting) have enjoyed stellar months, with Miller going an impressive 10-for-15 from beyond the arc in March. “They’re getting their confidence up,” Anderson said of Roberts and Miller. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence. That helps us so much. I think we’re better because they’re playing smart basketball. Brian’s been a huge game-changer, especially the past few games. He’s coming in super aggressive. We trust him with that shot and to get a bucket, and he delivers. Darius has been playing super consistent. He’s just a solid player. He’s not going to try to do too much. He’s just going to take an open shot, fight on defense and make a smart move to the basket. That was a huge thing for us, trying to figure out how to play together. Guys are getting it.”