Hornets.com postgame: Clippers 97, Hornets 85

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Clippers (28-21), Hornets (12-37)

It was over when… Chris Paul stripped the ball away from the Hornets’ Chris Johnson, then fed the nearby Blake Griffin for a thunderous two-handed dunk, giving the Clippers an 81-58 lead with about 9:30 remaining. Los Angeles had a difficult time shaking New Orleans for a portion of the evening, but took command in the third quarter to build a 74-55 advantage. The Clippers earned some payback for their loss in the Crescent City on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Hornets set a league-wide 2011-12 season high in single-game turnovers, with a staggering 29 cough-ups.

Hornets MVP: Carl Landry was one of the few individuals who excelled for the Hornets, registering a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of action. For a big chunk of the evening, he was the only New Orleans player well into the positives in plus-minus ratio. For the second straight game, the Purdue product provided low-post scoring, much-needed in a game where the Hornets didn’t top 20 points in any of the first three quarters.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: En route to tallying a career-high 11 points, Chris Johnson produced several highlight plays as the clock approached midnight in the Central time zone. The LSU alum scored on a nifty one-handed shot from the left baseline, while adding an athletic slam and reserve layup. Johnson also grabbed six rebounds. Al-Farouq Aminu also was solid off the bench, scoring 15 points against his former team.

The buzz on… Eric Gordon’s potential return. Monty Williams said prior to Monday’s game that the shooting guard could be back on the floor in “five days to a week.” If that’s the case, we could see Gordon either at the end of this five-game road trip, or next Wednesday when the Hornets return home to play the Denver Nuggets. If the April 4 home game is his comeback game, it will give Gordon 13 games over the remainder of 2011-12 to play. Williams also mentioned that the Hornets obviously have a major long-term decision to make about Gordon’s free agent status on July 1, so it would be beneficial to get to see him play for more than a brief period (Gordon has appeared in only two games, about a week apart). Gordon returning to the lineup would have a positive domino effect on the Hornets, moving Marco Belinelli to the reserve role the team planned for him to fill entering the regular season. It would also alleviate a great deal of the pressure on players like Jarrett Jack and Chris Kaman to put up big offensive numbers in order for New Orleans to stay competitive.