Hornets.com postgame: Trail Blazers 95, Hornets 94
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Trail Blazers (11-12), Hornets (5-18)
It was over when… needing an improbable three-pointer while inbounding with only 0.3 seconds remaining, the Hornets instead scored on an alley-oop layup as time expired. On the previous possession, Portland rookie point guard Damian Lillard drained what proved to be the game-winning shot, a deep three-pointer over a New Orleans defender. Lillard’s trey was the back-breaker in another gut-wrenching New Orleans road loss. The Hornets have often been competitive in away games but dropped to 1-7 overall this season in games decided by four points or less or in overtime. They haven’t won a close game (by this definition) since Nov. 2 home vs. Utah. Austin Rivers had deadlocked Sunday's game at 92 in the final minute by bagging a three-pointer.
Hornets MVP: It was a tough decision between Greivis Vasquez (23 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 46 minutes) and Ryan Anderson (26 points, 7-for-10 three-point shooting), but give the slight nod to Vasquez for his all-around contributions. Both players were outstanding in the second half, enabling New Orleans to come back from a double-figure deficit. Vasquez approached career highs in multiple categories, while Anderson sank four treys after intermission, often with a defender in his face and little time to set his feet.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Anthony Davis made plenty of key plays (15 points), but let’s go with Lance Thomas, who would’ve qualified as an unsung hero had New Orleans figured out a way to pull this one out. Thomas was relentless in the paint and on the boards, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. He was an efficient 4-for-5 from the field and kept possessions alive with four offensive boards.
The buzz on… the newest Hornets player, small forward Dominic McGuire. Known throughout his career as a defensive-minded role player, it was probably fitting that the first time McGuire touched the ball in aNew Orleans uniform, it was to steal a pass. Despite just joining the team earlier in the day, McGuire played 11 minutes and did not look out of place in a brand-new situation. “We’ve been talking about getting some more toughness and defense on our team,” Monty Williams said of the move to sign McGuire, a free agent who was released byToronto in November. “He’s a guy I watched atGoldenState last year. He defended and brought a grit to the game. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on him, and certainly don’t believe he is the answer that is going to cure all of our (ailments) right now, but we’re always going to try to tweak and add guys to help our program grow. It’s always good to bring a guy in to send a message to other guys on the team that nothing is going to be given to you.” McGuire has started 83 NBA games in his six pro seasons, including with each of his five previous teams. His first club, the Washington Wizards, used a strategy of starting McGuire alongside several potent scorers whose strength was on the offensive end.