Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 98, Trail Blazers 96
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (22-42), Trail Blazers (29-33)
It was over when… Portland’s Wesley Matthews launched a potential game-winning three-pointer from the right corner, but the shot bounced off the back rim, wrapping up a dramatic New Orleans victory. After narrow and heartbreaking losses at home to Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Hornets had to be pleased to come away with a win this time. Ryan Anderson delivered two momentous plays for the Hornets, nailing a three-pointer and converting a conventional three-point play with 1.8 seconds left.
Hornets MVP: A day before his 20th birthday, Anthony Davis followed up his 20-point, 18-rebound game at Memphis with a similarly impressive 18-point, 10-board performance. He also contributed the biggest defensive play of Sunday, when he ran out to contest Matthews’ three-pointer. Portland head coach Terry Stotts seemed reasonably content with the look his team got with the game at stake, but Stotts credited Davis and the 6-foot-10 rookie’s length for making it a more difficult attempt.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: In yet another example of why he was an outstanding offseason pickup for New Orleans, Anderson scored six points in the final 15 seconds. An underrated rebounder when he played for Orlando, the sixth man extraordinaire has also increased his production there recently, this time grabbing 13 rebounds. The personable forward credited his teammates for his final two clutch scores, saying that they were “wide-open shots. Obviously those are shots that I practice all the time. That’s just team basketball. Good basketball.”
The buzz on… a much-needed close victory. After the gut-wrenching way in which the Hornets gave up fourth-quarter leads in their two most recent home games, it would’ve been very difficult to accept losing in similar fashion Sunday (though this time the advantage was much smaller over the visitors). That’s partly why Anderson described Sunday’s triumph as “a great boost for us. We’ve had a ton of close games this year that obviously we wish we would’ve come away with. This is a big step for us. Coming through when we needed it, instead of kind of giving up or lowering our heads when they make a big shot. We’ve just got to stay confident and stay positive.”