Hornets.com postgame: Raptors 102, Hornets 89
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Raptors (19-32), Hornets (17-34)
It was over when… Landry Fields dropped in a follow-up layup to give Toronto a 13-point lead, forcing New Orleans to call timeout with just 3:12 remaining. The Raptors maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way en route to ending the Hornets’ two-game winning streak. Turnovers proved costly for New Orleans in the middle game of its Mardi Gras road trip, with many of its 17 miscues leading to Toronto scores at the other end. Toronto's John Lucas also helped ruined NOLA's night with an unconscious shooting performance (5-for-5 on three-pointers among 19 points). Lucas averages 5.2 points per game.
Hornets MVP: Robin Lopez had another solid offensive performance, this time leading New Orleans with 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting. The 7-footer was the frequent center of the attack in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of the team’s 23 points. Lopez did some nice work in the low post in the second half, throwing down four dunks. During the extended NBA lockout of 2011, Lopez worked with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon on footwork and moves around the basket. Though Phoenix didn’t go to Lopez often in post-ups during the abbreviated 2011-12 season, it appears some of that work with “Dream” is paying off in New Orleans.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Brian Roberts looked more like the player who began this season hot from the perimeter, finishing with 13 points in just 15 minutes. The NBA rookie and former overseas pro in Germany went 5-for-7 from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range. Roberts’ three-point percentage has progressively dropped from 40.9 in November, to 36.7 in December, to 23.1 in January. The backup point guard is off to a better start in February, at 4-for-9 over four games.
The buzz on… seeking an inside-out offensive attack. One of the major points Monty Williams addressed following Sunday’s loss was that the Hornets relied too much on perimeter attempts, instead of trying to attack the basket. “We settled for too many jump shots tonight,” he said. “Sometimes that happens (and) we’ve made those shots (in past games). But tonight you had to recognize when they’re not going in.” Although Lopez is developing into a more effective offensive player with his back to the basket, Williams has noted several times lately that long-term, the Hornets need a go-to post-up option who can draw double-teams. Davis has the potential to evolve into that player down the road, but he must add bulk, while also becoming more comfortable with the footwork necessary to flourish around the rim as a primary option. Other than Lopez and Ryan Anderson, the player who currently uses his common height advantage on defenders most frequently is probably the club’s starting point guard, 6-foot-6 Greivis Vasquez. Among the other starters, Eric Gordon is a driver and outside shooter, while Al-Farouq Aminu is a slasher and opportunistic scorer.