Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 88, Jazz 86
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (1-1), Jazz (1-1)
It was over when… Utah point guard Mo Williams’ deep three-point attempt from the top of the key was a bit long at the buzzer, enabling New Orleans to prevail and pick up its first victory. Greivis Vasquez put the Hornets in front in dramatic fashion, driving for the go-ahead layup with just 1.3 seconds remaining. It was the first game-winning bucket of the point guard’s three-year NBA career. Vasquez indicated that the first option on the play was for him to drive to the basket, but he also could’ve passed over his left shoulder to Ryan Anderson after Anderson set a pick. Vasquez didn’t seem surprised that Utah did not try to help on the drive, because they had to stick with Anderson, an outstanding perimeter shooter. Unfortunately, the Hornets’ poor luck injury-wise continued when Anthony Davis was struck in the head by an elbow. He left the game in the first half and was undergoing tests. The team was awaiting word of the results.
Hornets MVP: Robin Lopez continues to impress with his expanded offensive game, something he first displayed during a successful eight-game preseason. Lopez tied for the team high Friday with 19 points, on 9-for-16 shooting, while also grabbing seven rebounds. His 19 points were the most he’s scored in a game since the opener of the 2011-12 regular season – which coincidentally was against the Hornets. “He played tremendous for us,” Jason Smith assessed. “He played great defense on Al Jefferson.” Overall, Lopez has looked like a much different player compared to his four previous seasons with Phoenix. Smith: “He’s an underrated post player. We have tremendous faith in him. We’re going to go to him down low.”
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: After going 3-for-10 from the field in the opener against San Antonio, Anderson showed why observers around the NBA called his acquisition an extremely important one for New Orleans this summer. The fifth-year pro dropped in 19 points while going 5-for-9 from three-point range, including a clutch go-ahead trey with 32 seconds left. That would’ve stood as the biggest shot of the game, but Utah answered with a three-pointer of its own by Paul Millsap.
The buzz on... Davis' status. At around 10:45, the Hornets released this statement about the No. 1 pick: "Hornets forward Anthony Davis suffered a mild concussion tonight in the first half vs. Utah and did not return. He will undergo further tests in New Orleans on Saturday and is out for tomorrow night's game in Chicago. Beyond that, he will be listed as day to day." The Hornets' extremely difficult early schedule continues against a Bulls team that is without its own headliner, 2010-11 NBA MVP Derrick Rose. It's uncertain who will move into the starting lineup to temporarily replace Davis, but the primary candidates would likely be Anderson or Smith. Prior to hearing the update, Vasquez said: "This is the NBA, so if somebody's down, somebody else has to step up. This is a good opportunity for guys like Lance (Thomas), guys who haven't been playing much. The good thing about Coach (Monty Williams) is he'll give you a chance. This is a team thing. Things like this happen. We're hoping he's fine, because we want him to play."