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Hornets vs. Clippers - Robin Lopez vs. DeAndre Jordan

Shootaround: vs. Clippers

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Updates from Friday morning’s shootaround, as the Hornets prepared to host the Los Angeles Clippers this evening:

• In a season that was derailed by a shorthanded roster at times, injury news again was the main topic of discussion at the final New Orleans home shootaround of 2012-13. In addition to Anthony Davis (knee) being ruled out for the season Thursday, point guard Greivis Vasquez will also miss Friday’s game vs. the Clippers. Monty Williams on Vasquez: “Greivis won’t play tonight. He wants to, but I can’t do that. His ankle was hurting the other night. I told him yesterday that he’s not going to play, because I’m not trying to put a guy out there when he’s lower than 80 percent. He may try to play Sunday, but we’re going to try to give him another day to get some treatment.”

• Williams provided an interesting glimpse into the team’s mindset regarding the handling of Davis this season. The No. 1 overall pick in the draft finished the campaign averaging 28.8 minutes, a relatively low number given his production and status as a top pick. Williams: “I’ve tried to not match him up against guys I thought were stronger than him. We’ve been in situations this year where we felt like he was getting beat up. He was trying – and that’s what I loved about him. And managing his minutes. I thought if he played 35 or 40 minutes a game, I thought he would wear down. Turns out, he only played 28 minutes a game, which is where we wanted him to be. I just tried to stay away from certain matchups. I thought in the Laker game, he really got beat up. (Pau) Gasol and (Dwight) Howard really pounded him. He was sore after that game. You always try to protect your young guys, especially a guy like AD.”

• Williams acknowledged that the decision to not play Davis 35 to 40 minutes on a regular basis may have had a short-term impact on the team’s win column, but the coach believed it was the wise choice from a long-term standpoint: “That’s part of taking a hit to be better in the future. There are times when I could have played him more, and I know he would have helped us, but as the caretaker of the team, I have to make decisions that I think are going to be better for him and us going forward. I knew that going into the season, that I was going to have to do that. I talked to (San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich) about that. I’ve watched him do it over the years (with the Spurs), to get ready for the playoffs. I did it to help us going into the future. It doesn’t always work out, but we tried to our best to spare a lot of our young guys those situations.”

• Williams, on Davis’ rookie season: “You look at his last five games, 18 (points) and 10 (rebounds), something like that, that’s what we wanted. We wanted to see him consistently get better from when we first got a hold of him until now. We wanted to see a guy that was more comfortable on the floor, obviously scoring the ball, rebounding the ball, defending. Look at his months, he got better every month. He hasn’t done well all the time, but strategically, this is what we wanted to see. It’s just unfortunate that he had an injury to end the season. He and Austin (Rivers) ended their seasons with an injury, which is what we wanted to avoid, but it happens.”