Hornets.com postgame: Nets 108, Hornets 98
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Nets (38-27), Hornets (22-43)
It was over when… Andray Blatche grabbed an offensive rebound off a Deron Williams missed free throw, then dropped in a layup to give Brooklyn a 104-90 lead with 2:57 remaining. It was a play eerily reminiscent of the back-breaking Orlando offensive rebound off an errant foul shot in last Monday’s New Orleans loss. In the Hornets’ first-ever trip to Barclays Center in New York City, they were within striking distance for the entire game but couldn’t close the gap in the fourth quarter. New Orleans dropped the first stop on a three-game road trip that continues on the weekend in Washington and Minnesota.
Hornets MVP: Anthony Davis continues to make near-daily visible strides, this time putting up a stat line of 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Davis’ last three games of 17, 18 and 20 points represent his best trio of outings all season from an offensive standpoint (55 total points). Early in the season there were times when the No. 1 overall draft choice seemed to blend in and not touch the ball on multiple possessions, but his aggressiveness has increased markedly recently. Davis’ energy was reflected again by his attacks of the rim, including four dunks. “I had a chance to play with him on the Olympic team,” Brooklyn star guard Deron Williams said of Davis. “He’s just now really learning how to play the game at this level. You can just tell he’s going to be a real special player.”
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: With Jason Smith (shoulder) sidelined for the rest of the season, Lance Thomas’ playing time has expanded significantly lately. With Ryan Anderson (viral infection) unexpectedly missing Tuesday’s game at Brooklyn, it meant even more minutes for the 6-foot-8 forward. Thomas responded with his first double-digit scoring game of 2012-13. The Duke University product delivered 12 points, four rebounds, two steals and a block in 18 minutes.
The buzz on… Lou Amundson’s New Orleans debut. When Smith was ruled out for the season due to shoulder surgery, it meant that the Hornets did not have a true backup center behind Robin Lopez. Enter the 6-foot-9 Amundson, a rugged, hustling big man, who was signed Tuesday and immediately moved into the rotation. It was a rough debut, though, with Amundson picking up three personal fouls in just 3:52 of playing time in the first half. Lopez also got into early foul trouble, which made it necessary to move Davis to center. Other than Lopez, Amundson and Davis, no healthy Hornets player Tuesday was taller than 6-foot-8. Lopez has done a better job staying out of foul difficulty this season than he did in his previous four years with Phoenix, but it certainly will benefit New Orleans to have the option of using Amundson at the 5 over the final month of 2012-13.