Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 83, Warriors 81

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets (21-44), Warriors (23-42)
It was over when… Golden State tossed an errant inbound pass with 0.7 seconds remaining, which deflected high off the backboard and into Darryl Watkins’ hands as time expired. New Orleans took a two-point lead on the previous possession, when a Gustavo Ayon blocked shot led to a transition opportunity for the visitors. Greivis Vasquez quickly dribbled ahead, finding Marco Belinelli for a go-ahead layup.

Hornets MVP: Two of Belinelli’s top three scoring games this season came on the home floor of his first NBA team, the Warriors (Belinelli also lists San Francisco as his favorite NBA city to visit). After scoring 22 points in the previous trip to play Golden State, this time the shooting guard registered a team-best 23 points. He was superb in the second quarter, piling up 10 points to help pull the Hornets to a 43-all deadlock at intermission.

Hornets Sixth of the Game: Carl Landry has claimed this honor in seemingly every recent game. He again was easily the most productive bench player Tuesday, scoring 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Landry’s eight final-stanza points were critical to New Orleans boasting a 22-17 edge in the fourth, allowing the Hornets to overcome a deficit.

The buzz on… power forward. In a season filled with injuries, this position was also hit hard by the bug, with both Landry and Jason Smith missing an extended period of time (coincidentally, they were injured in incidents involving Jason Maxiell during the same disastrous Feb. 4 loss at Detroit). Fortunately, this was undoubtedly the team’s deepest position. When Landry and Smith were available – combined with the solid NBA debut of Gustavo Ayon and the steady season-long improvement of Lance Thomas – there were essentially too many options to get everyone ample opportunities to shine. As a result, Ayon’s playing time dipped in the latter portion of the year, with Landry thriving as the backup behind Smith. Despite being out with a concussion for a big chunk of the abbreviated season, Smith made major strides – Williams called him “easily our most improved player this season.” Particularly late in the season, Landry again showed his rare ability to come in off the bench and be a productive scorer, often as a post-up option and go-to guy. Overall, there were plenty of individual positives at this spot for the quartet of players who suited up at the 4 in 2011-12.