Hornets.com postgame: Kings 96, Hornets 80

Sunday, January 1, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Kings (2-3), Hornets (2-2)

It was over when… Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans heaved a desperation three-pointer against the shot clock that somehow found the bottom of the net, giving the hosts an 88-72 lead with about 3:50 remaining. The Kings went on to snap a three-game losing streak, while handing the Hornets their second consecutive defeat. New Orleans closes its back-to-back road trip with an 8 p.m. game at Utah. It was fitting in a way that the back-breaking shot came on a three-pointer, because the trifecta had a huge impact on Sunday’s game. The Hornets set a team record for most three-point attempts in a single game without a make, going 0-for-15.

Hornets MVP: Trevor Ariza struggled mightily with his shooting touch through the first three games, going 10-for-30 overall (33 percent). Solution? Take it to the rim. The approach resulted in Ariza’s 8-for-14 shooting effort from the field, part of his team-best 17-point output. Among the small forward’s eight buckets, seven of them were from close range – either a dunk or a layup. His first hoop came off a mid-range jumper, but after that he was intent on penetrating.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Chris Kaman supplied 14 of the bench’s 26 points, including a dozen in the first three quarters. The 7-footer also grabbed 15 rebounds. On the downside, he shot 5-for-13 from the field and committed three turnovers. Other than Kaman, though, the second unit provided very little offensive punch.

The buzz on… one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA through the first week of the regular season. It’s difficult to make sweeping statements or big-picture evaluations this early in the campaign, but one excellent sign for the Hornets has been their effectiveness on the boards. Through four games, NOLA has outrebounded its opponents 212-170 (an average margin of +10.5 per game). With an outstanding center combination of Kaman and Emeka Okafor, the Hornets will be able to hold their own in the paint against many foes. Carl Landry hasn’t been a great rebounder over his NBA career as an undersized power forward, but he’s done well thus far. Obviously though, when the Hornets play as poorly offensively as they have in the past two games, the advantages on the backboards are virtually completely mitigated.