Hornets.com postgame: Pistons 111, Hornets 108 (OT)

Sunday, December 19, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Pistons (9-19), Hornets (16-11)

It was over when… Trevor Ariza’s turnaround three-point attempt from the left wing misfired with five-tenths of a second remaining in the extra session, sealing Detroit’s come-from-behind win. New Orleans led for the vast majority of Sunday’s game – though never by a comfortable margin – in a difficult defeat. The Hornets missed some crucial free throws in regulation and turned the ball over in huge spots during crunch time of OT, including their penultimate possession.

Hornets MVP: David West enjoyed a pre-holiday feast in the paint against the Pistons, racking up 32 points on 12-for-21 shooting. The two-time All-Star had double-digit points in each half, while also tallying six of the team’s eight overtime points. West relied heavily on post-ups, connecting on a handful of hook shots among his dozen buckets.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Willie Green was the lone Hornets reserve to crack double figures in scoring, with 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting. Green also had a crucial layup in the final minute of overtime that cut Detroit’s lead to 107-106. One major negative for Green, however, was going 2-for-4 from the foul line in the fourth period, when New Orleans seemed poised to ice what would’ve been its first road victory since the day after Thanksgiving.

The buzz on… the Hornets’ fortunes in close games. Throughout the Chris Paul era, New Orleans has been one of the NBA’s best teams in one- and two-possession games. During the team’s fantastic 11-1 start, that trend continued, with the Hornets winning nine times by single digits. Since those first dozen games, however, that stat has done a complete 180. Including recent losses to the Clippers, Thunder (twice), Knicks and Pistons, NOLA is just 1-5 since Nov. 22 in single-figure outcomes. Chris Paul has said repeatedly throughout 2010-11 – even while the team was doing nothing but putting up W's – that the Hornets realize their margin for error is small. That’s been painfully evident in recent weeks.

“We didn’t execute down the stretch,” Paul said. “This is one of those games where if I was watching at home I would say, ‘How did they lose?’ ”

“It comes down to making plays down the stretch,” Monty Williams said of Sunday’s loss. “We had a chance to win that game. It’s a tough one to take.”

Blog question of the night: In a few instances this season, the Hornets’ offense has boiled down to whether West and Paul can carry it. A recent two-game outstanding stretch by Marcus Thornton again demonstrated the second-year pro’s ability to put the ball in the basket. Other than that trio, which Hornets player is the most needed by the club or the most likely to be able to increase his offensive aggressiveness and production?