Hornets.com postgame: Magic 105, Hornets 102
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Magic (17-44), Hornets (21-40)
It was over when… Greivis Vasquez’s off-balance three-point attempt as time was about to expire misfired wide left, bouncing off the backboard just before the final horn sounded. Behind multiple clutch offensive plays by Arron Afflalo, Orlando overcame a late deficit to post a rare road win. New Orleans sustained one of its toughest defeats of the season, after leading 97-88 with just 3:30 remaining. The Hornets will wrap up their three-game homestand Wednesday vs. the Lakers.
Hornets MVP: After missing two games due to a left shoulder injury, Anthony Davis returned to action wearing protective padding but otherwise showed few visible signs of having dealt with the ailment. Davis had one of his most active games of 2012-13, registering 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. The 6-foot-10 rookie took the blame for Orlando’s Tobias Harris coming up with the biggest rebound of the game, a board off a missed free throw by Afflalo. If New Orleans had secured the ball, it would have only trailed by two instead of three (after Harris sank one foul shot). Of his shoulder injury, Davis said “I was just playing off adrenaline. I wasn’t even thinking about it.”
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Prior to Orlando’s game-closing 17-5 run, Ryan Anderson seemed headed for a 2-0 season sweep over his former club, along with being one of Monday's primary heroes. Anderson went scoreless in the first half, but drained a pair of what seemed like back-breaking buckets in the fourth quarter, part of his 13-point second half. Unfortunately for the three-year member of the Magic, the Hornets went the next two minutes without a field goal. “It’s tough losing a game like that,” Anderson said. “It was almost like we knew we were going to win. It’s not like we relaxed, but we didn’t have that urgency at the end.”
The buzz on… a defensive breakdown after intermission. Since arriving in New Orleans in 2010, Monty Williams has emphasized, reiterated and stressed the importance of defense, making Monday’s late-game turn of events particularly difficult to swallow. The third-year head coach did not mince words in describing his team’s performance at that end of the floor. “It was terrible,” he said. “There’s no other way to slice it. We gave up 69 points in a half, against a team that played last night and had a two-hour flight. That, to me, is not something we should be proud of at all. Even if we had won that game, I would still be upset about our defensive effort. It boils down to keeping the ball in front of you. That’s something that’s plagued us all year long. Defensively, that was about as poor as I’ve seen us all year long in the second half.” Overall, it was the 30th time New Orleans has given up 100 or more points. During the abbreviated 66-game season, the Hornets did so only 16 times.