Hornets.com postgame: Jazz 96, Hornets 84
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Jazz (9-7), Hornets (4-10)
It was over when… an empty New Orleans possession gave Utah the ball back entering the final official timeout, with the Jazz up by a dozen points. After their best performance of the 2012-13 season on Monday at the Clippers, the Hornets trudged through a frustrating evening in their return home from a week-long road trip. It doesn’t get any easier for New Orleans during this lengthy home stretch, with games in the Hive approaching vs. Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, the Lakers and Memphis – all clubs above .500 (except for the star-studded Lakers).
Hornets MVP: The in-arena award went to Greivis Vasquez (18 points, 8 assists), a fine choice, but let’s go with Robin Lopez (18 points, 7 rebounds, 7-for-9 shooting from the field), who had one of his best games as a Hornet. With Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon sidelined by injuries, the Hornets can’t rely solely upon Vasquez and Ryan Anderson to generate offense, making it imperative that other players increase their production. Lopez’s 10 first-half points helped keep NOLA close; Utah led just 41-39 at intermission. Lopez had his second straight above-average game against the Jazz, no small feat considering Utah's frontcourt is its biggest strength.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: With New Orleans facing a double-digit deficit early in the fourth quarter, Brian Roberts tried to will the hosts back into the hunt, scoring seven quick points. Despite Roberts’ efforts, the Jazz kept the Hornets at arm’s length, never losing their stranglehold on a relatively comfortable edge. Roberts finished with 11 points in 20 minutes of action.
The buzz on… Utah’s all-out effort to contain Ryan Anderson. According to Jazz radio broadcaster David Locke, the succint message on Utah’s whiteboard in the locker room before Wednesday’s game read “MAKE ANDERSON UNCOMFORTABLE.” The Jazz were successful on that front, limiting him to just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting. It was only the second time in 2012-13 that Anderson has tallied single-digit points. Not-so-coincidentally, the other instance of him producing fewer than 10 points occurred in New Orleans’ unsightly 77-62 defeat to Philadelphia on Nov. 7. Anderson was certain to have to carry a big load this season regardless of the circumstances, but he had to take a total of 61 shots on the road trip, while logging an aggregate of 154 minutes. In his 34-point outburst at Phoenix last week, for example, he played 47 of a possible 53 minutes.