Hornets.com postgame: 76ers 88, Hornets 70

Sunday, December 12, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

76ers (8-15), Hornets (14-9)

It was over when… Philadelphia held an 83-59 lead at the midway point of the fourth quarter. Despite a substantial deficit, Chris Paul played the first six minutes of the final period, to try to keep New Orleans within shouting distance. Paul finally was subbed out during the second official timeout of the stanza.

Hornets MVP: Like the game itself, this category was no contest. Chris Paul was the only visiting player to come anywhere near approaching his usual performance, finishing with 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Paul was the only NOLA player to reach double figures in scoring, a rarity in the NBA.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: How rough was this game for the reserves? Marcus Thornton scored the backups’ only basket in the first half. The bench also had just seven points through three quarters on a combined 2-for-14 shooting. For the game, Thornton and Jarrett Jack led the second unit with eight points apiece, making the final stat line is little less bleak with two late-game buckets each.

The buzz on… the Hornets’ offensive ineptitude. New Orleans has ranked at or near the bottom of the NBA in free-throw attempts in recent years, a weakness the Hornets hoped to rectify by adding more athleticism and youth to the roster this summer. New Orleans has shown some improvement in that category, entering Sunday tied for 23rd in the league in free-throw attempts per game. Still, the Hornets need to attack the basket more consistently and not settle for jump shots.

For the bulk of Sunday’s historically bad first half (6-for-42 shooting), it was perimeter look after perimeter look. The result was an extended stretch of misses, including several of the least-efficient offensive play in the game: deep two-pointers. New Orleans attempted 12 three-pointers, which is not a high number, but only had a handful of scores close to the basket. The Hornets also only had one dunk, a fast-break slam by Marco Belinelli in the first quarter.

"Coach (Monty Williams) told us even in preseason not to fall in love with jump shots," Paul said after Sunday's defeat. "We've got to figure out a way to score (more)."

Blog question of the night: After starting the season 11-1, the Hornets have gone 3-8 in their last 11 games. What do the Hornets need to do to snap out of their recent slide and return to the form they showed during a franchise-best 8-0 open to 2010-11?