Shootaround: vs. Knicks

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Updates from Tuesday’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena:

• Defense was the big topic of conversation among the Hornets, after they’ve allowed three straight opponents to score 100-plus points during the three-game losing streak. New Orleans point guard Greivis Vasquez said the Hornets need to return to their mindset they displayed last season. NOLA was one of the toughest defensive squads in the league in 2011-12, despite often being shorthanded due to injuries. “This is an important game for us after a tough week,” Vasquez said of facing the 7-1 Knicks. “Letting teams score over 100 points is just not us. It’s unacceptable. I think we’ve got to be more aggressive. We’re too nice. We’ve got to be more mean. I don’t want to be a good guy; I want to be mean. In the proper way, but we’ve got to be more tough. We can’t let teams think that we’re little girls or little boys. We’re men. We’ve got to send a statement, and teams have to know they’re playing against grown men.”

• Vasquez, on what adjustments need to be made: “It’s nothing that Coach (Monty Williams) can do. It’s us on the court. It’s all of us. When you’re a player in this league, you’ve got to feel that way. I want to face the best point guards because I want to compete. I want them to know that whether you’re super-talented or not, I’m here to compete against you. It’s not going to be easy for you to beat me. As individuals, we’ve all got to do that.”

• Williams on what Hornets have done this week to try to regain their prior defensive stinginess: “Film. Talk about it. Drill it. Remind the guys who we’ve been. We’ve added some new guys that (need to) take some time to understand how hard we play and how we defend. They’re trying to pick up the nuances of our defense. One of the things we had last year was Trevor (Ariza) and Emeka (Okafor) in that starting lineup. Those guys brought a level of defensive toughness. The other side of it is we played two teams (Thunder and Bucks) who shot the heck out of the ball. But we still haven’t played our kind of defense in (the past) week.”

• Anthony Davis’ ankle sprain appears to be minor. He's fine and will be ready to play Tuesday vs. the Knicks. He is not listed on the Hornets’ injury report. Asked specifically if Williams thinks Davis could develop a muscular frame similar to Dwight Howard’s, Williams responded: “I don’t know how to forecast that.” He then joked: “I'm sure he's going to put on another 20 pounds at some point - hopefully by tonight. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”