Hornets.com postgame: Raptors 104, Hornets 97 (OT)
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Raptors (10-20), Hornets (6-23)
It was over when… DeMar DeRozan nailed a jumper from the right wing, giving Toronto a 102-95 lead with 31 seconds remaining in the extra period. After squandering a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Raptors regained their footing in overtime, preventing the Hornets from posting what would’ve been a memorable come-from-behind victory. Ryan Anderson forced OT by draining an off-balance three-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation. Anderson’s soft shot improbably bounced off the rim twice before falling through the net. New Orleans jumps right back in action Saturday, for a 6 p.m. game at Charlotte.
Hornets MVP: Greivis Vasquez and Anthony Davis both turned in stellar performances, with Vasquez nearly registering a triple-double. Vasquez finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists. Hard to argue with that, but Davis was nearly as effective stat-wise, with 25 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Davis played so well, in fact, that Monty Williams was asked in his postgame interview if Friday was the No. 1 pick’s best game in 2012-13. Williams demurred, saying that perhaps Davis’ 28-point, 11-rebound game at Milwaukee was his top outing. “Once he gets stronger, it’s going to be game time,” Williams said. “He’s starting to figure out how to use his quickness to get to the basket, and he’s knocking down jump shots. Like most young players, he has lapses on defense, but I thought in that stretch where we got back in the game, he was phenomenal. When he plays that way, our city is going to be really proud of the product in about three or four years.”
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: It was a quiet night for Anderson through three quarters, with just five points in the scorebook. He dropped in eight critical points in the fourth period, however, including the game-tying trey. “It was a great drawn-up play, and I got a pretty open look,” Anderson said. “The ball bounced our way.” On the ensuing Toronto possession, Anderson (17 points, 12 rebounds) grabbed the defensive board just before time expired. “We made a great stop at the end,” he said. “Those are really important plays. We just need to learn how to win in situations like overtime. That’s kind of a new thing for a lot of these younger guys. We’ve just got to fight through that. We have a ton of talent. We can take teams down to the end, like tonight. We just need to learn and know that every play counts in moments like that.”
The buzz on… the much-anticipated return of Eric Gordon. By all indications, the shooting guard will make his season debut Saturday in Charlotte. If that’s the case, it will be one of the most compelling Hornets games of this season. Although Gordon is expected to initially be limited to about 25 minutes per game, the impact that he can make on the Hornets could be immense. New Orleans is now 2-8 this season in games decided by four points or less or in overtime, including a 0-3 mark in OT games. In nip-and-tuck contests like Friday’s defeat, New Orleans has lacked a player who can create his own high-percentage shot. That’s one of Gordon’s biggest strengths. “It’s huge,” Anderson said of Gordon’s return. “It’s going to open up the court for a lot for us. Obviously he’s such an aggressive scorer. He’s a guy that is really going to make the game a lot easier for myself. I’m really excited personally for him to get back, and I know everybody else is. I know he’s really ready to go and is excited.”