NBA Summer League: Warriors 104, Hornets 84

Thursday, July 16, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Considering that summer-league games are only 40 minutes in duration – eight minutes shorter than a regulation NBA game – it’s not often you see a team reach the 100-point mark. Then again, it’s also not often you see a player tally 47 points by himself in Las Vegas – but that’s what Golden State guard Anthony Morrow did tonight.

Morrow established a new NBA Summer League all-time single-game scoring record with his individual barrage, topping the previous mark of 42 points. Morrow, who led the NBA during the 2008-09 regular season in three-point percentage, went 7-for-9 from beyond the arc and 18-for-26 overall.

New Orleans dropped to 0-3 in summer league, with this defeat being the first that wasn’t close.

“Through three games, (Hornets players) have been working hard and doing a great job, but smart offensive teams usually take advantage of bad defensive teams, and right now we’re not a very good defensive team,” Hornets summer coach Rob Werdann said. “But that’s what summer league is all about, improving.

“You hate to have records set against your team, but (Morrow is) a great shooter. We talked about making him a driver, and forcing him to put the ball on the floor, but it just didn’t seem to happen.”

For a third straight game, Hornets 2009 draft acquisitions Marcus Thornton (21 points, 6-for-14 FGs) and Darren Collison (14 points, 4-for-13 FGs, 4 assists) were among the squad’s most productive offensive players. Backup point guard Earl Calloway also played well with 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting, along with seven rebounds. Julian Wright had a rough outing, scoring four points on 2-for-10 shooting.

Thornton again displayed his attacking style on offense, getting to the foul line 14 times. The LSU product also put together a big second half, scoring 18 points after intermission. On the other end, Thornton was one of several Hornets who tried to slow down Morrow’s scoring spree, but to no avail. Thornton said he’s focused on trying to adjust and improve defensively against NBA-caliber scorers.

“I’m mostly working on (defending) off the ball,” he said. “Seeing the ball and my man at the same time, and trying to get better at that. There are a lot of screens to go through, and every guy can really play. I’m trying to pick it up on defense.”

While Thornton and Collison have impressed with their excellent offensive statistics, Byron Scott said earlier this week that they need to make strides on defense. Collison was aggressive on that end of the floor tonight, but gambled a few times against Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, causing other Hornets to have to help on penetration.

“That’s always the first thing you’re going to see and probably open eyes,” Werdann said of the stellar offensive play by Thornton and Collison this week. “But this game is both ends of the floor. The thing that’s most obvious in the transition from the college game to the pro game, is knowing where to be on the floor defensively. We’re going to continue to work to get better.”