Hornets.com postgame: Pacers 81, Hornets 75
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Pacers (16-12), Hornets (5-22)
It was over when… Greivis Vasquez’s three-pointer from the left corner rimmed out, giving Indiana the ball back as time was about to expire. Former Hornets two-time All-Star David West made a momentous basket on the previous Indiana possession, a mid-range jumper from one of his favorite spots on the floor. That gave the Pacers a 79-75 edge and capped an impressive comeback by the visitors, who trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half. New Orleans was up 46-29 at halftime, but only managed to score 29 points of their own after intermission. It was the Hornets’ 11th consecutive loss.
Hornets MVP: In his best game as a Hornet – and certainly one of the top performances of his five-year NBA career – center Robin Lopez racked up 24 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks and two steals. There have been occasional stretches where he’s been the primary option on offense, but on Saturday he was the top scorer by a wide margin. Through three quarters, Lopez had 17 points, while no other Hornet had more than seven. In an 11-for-16 shooting night, Lopez had three putback scores off of offensive rebounds, three dunks, four layups and one made hook shot.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: No one stood out from the reserves, who combined to go 7-for-21 from the field. Xavier Henry perhaps helped out the most by contributing five points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of action. He had three offensive boards. “When your starters don’t have it, you expect somebody from the bench to come in and give you a little boost,” head coach Monty Williams said. “We didn’t get that tonight.”
The buzz on… the losing streak. One of the oddities of the Hornets’ current skid is that blowouts have been relatively rare. No loss was by more than a 16-point margin, while seven of the defeats were by single digits. Overall, New Orleans has lost these 11 games by a total of 96 points, which equates to 8.7 points per game. There was a one-point loss in Portland in which Blazers phenom guard Damian Lillard broke a tie in the final seconds with a clutch three-pointer. There was a four-point defeat at Oklahoma City in which Greivis Vasquez had a chance to win the game for the Hornets with a three-pointer, but the shot came up short. One somewhat common denominator in December has been a lack of offensive punch: the Hornets have only scored 100 points once during the losing streak. Saturday’s 70-point tally was the sixth time they were held under 90 points and represented the second-lowest offensive output of the streak. “I thought we played not to lose, instead of playing to win,” Williams said of Saturday’s game vs. Indiana. “We have to own it, and move forward. But it’s a tough one to swallow.”