Hornets fall to Lakers

Hornets.com postgame: Lakers 108, Hornets 102

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Lakers (31-31), Hornets (21-41)

It was over when… Kobe Bryant tracked down a rebound off a New Orleans missed corner three-pointer, then sank two free throws, giving the Lakers a six-point lead with 5.5 seconds remaining, the capper on an incredible Los Angeles comeback. After a frustrating defeat Monday vs. Orlando, the Hornets may have topped it in terms of bitter emotions, failing to score Wednesday in the final 6:47. New Orleans led 102-88 midway through the fourth quarter, but never scored again during the Lakers’ 20-0 run. The Hornets looked as good as they have all season during much of the first three-plus quarters, but couldn’t finish it off in a brutal ending. 

Hornets MVP: Al-Farouq Aminu had one of the best games of his career individually, typifying a hustling, swarming New Orleans mindset for much of the game. The 6-foot-8 small forward finished with 12 points, a career high 16 rebounds, three blocks and two steals, while going an efficient 4-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the foul line. Six other Hornets reached double digits in scoring, another cruel aspect to this loss – New Orleans turned in one of its best teamwide efforts of 2012-13, but only for about 42 minutes of game action.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Austin Rivers sustained a hand injury when he bumped into teammate Greivis Vasquez, but before exiting the game due to the ailment, Rivers enjoyed arguably his best half of the season. Rivers made each of his first five field-goal attempts, en route to a 10-point game on 5-for-6 shooting. The Duke University product got past his defender off the dribble repeatedly and scored on an array of layups and floaters. 

The buzz on… a forgettable fourth quarter from a Hornets perspective. As enjoyable as the late-game heroics were for the gold-clad Lakers fans in attendance, it was that tough to swallow for the home team. New Orleans went into one stretch in which the offense seemed a bit out of sorts and featured too much one-on-one play, but the Hornets later simply missed a few open shots that they had been making throughout Wednesday’s game. For example, Eric Gordon had one uncontested 15-footer from the left side in which he created a significant amount of room for himself and had a clear look at the basket, but shot the ball a tad long off the back rim. “How many times did we have a layup or a dunk that for whatever reason we couldn’t complete?” Monty Williams asked rhetorically. “I thought Eric (Gordon) had a nice look. One time Greivis threw it to Robin (Lopez) and he just fumbled the ball. Sometimes that stuff happens; there is no way to explain that. We just couldn’t execute, and once it started to roll that way it’s hard to stop the momentum.” Overall, New Orleans was outscored 33-9 in the fourth quarter, after scoring 39 points in the second quarter alone and 93 through three periods.