Hornets.com postgame: Jazz 104, Hornets 99
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Jazz (25-21), Hornets (15-31)
It was over when… Utah’s Paul Millsap grabbed a long defensive rebound after an exceptionally rare missed three-point attempt by Roger Mason, then connected on two free throws for a three-possession edge at 104-97 with 7.7 seconds left. The Jazz bounced back from a 45-point defeat Monday to the Rockets, the worst home loss in franchise history (which dates back to 1974-75 in New Orleans). For the second straight night, the Hornets experienced a second-quarter letdown that turned a quick start into a deficit. New Orleans was within 95-94 at the 2:00 mark, but Utah scored the next two crucial baskets. NOLA will have Thursday off before visiting Denver on Friday.
Hornets MVP: Four players scored between 14 and 17 points in a balanced attack, part of why there was no obvious choice. Give the nod to Robin Lopez, who had one of his best recent games with 15 points and nine rebounds. Unfortunately for New Orleans and the 7-footer, the team committed 32 personal fouls. Ryan Anderson fouled out, while Lopez, Anthony Davis and Roger Mason each were whistled for five fouls. In addition to his 15 points, Lopez contributed four blocked shots in the first half.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Despite being saddled with fouls, Anderson still managed to drain three three-pointers among his bench-best 16 points. A rare blemish for the sixth man extraordinaire was that he missed a pair of free throws in five attempts. Anderson entered Wednesday at 89.6 percent on foul shots.
The buzz on… the bench. For a second straight game, every Hornets second-string player finished in the negatives in plus-minus. Wednesday’s performance in Utah was markedly better than Tuesday in L.A., but the momentum again swung to the opposition during the bridge of the first and second quarters, when teams commonly have their subs on the floor. With Eric Gordon missing Wednesday’s contest per medical orders to rest him in the second game of back-to-backs, Roger Mason moved into the starting lineup. When the Hornets have been at full strength recently, however, Mason has been one of the bench's bright spots, shooting at a red-hot clip in January. Anderson is obviously one of the best reserves in the entire NBA, while Jason Smith has also been very effective of late. The Hornets have experienced a dip in performance at other reserve spots, while backup small forward has been a puzzle. After an extended D-League assignment, Darius Miller provided the Hornets with six positive minutes Wednesday, including drilling a three-pointer and dishing out a couple timely passes. The opportunity may be there for Miller to earn a larger role if he can string together quality outings.