It was over when Jarrett Jack grabbed the rebound off his intentionally-missed free throw, but came up short on an all-in-one-motion attempt from the middle of the lane that wouldve forced overtime. Jacks miss capped another low-scoring, painfully close loss for the Hornets as they tried to halt a losing streak, which has climbed to seven games. New Orleans trailed by 11 points through three quarters, but rallied all the way back into a tie before Dallas escaped with a nail-biting victory.
Hornets MVP: Emeka Okafor enjoyed his best game of 2011-12, grabbing a season-best 17 rebounds (including 6 offensive boards) while equaling his top scoring game with 16 points. The surprising aspect of Okafors 16-point output was that a few of his seven field goals came on mid-range jumpers. Okafor often shies away from taking those shots, but found himself in position several times to get off open looks from that area of the floor.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Carl Landry delivered an intense performance that featured 19 points and 13 rebounds. Landry may be the best player on the team in terms of being able to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line, a skill he displayed against the Mavs. The 6-foot-9 power forward was 9-for-13 from the charity stripe. The trait is valuable not just for the points it yields, but also for getting the opposition into the penalty earlier in quarters, leading to additional free throws for New Orleans.
The buzz on
an odd way to string together losses. Most NBA teams that go through a stretch similar to the current 1-13 span of the Hornets throw in multiple embarrassing one-sided defeats, a telltale sign of a club that is simply overmatched. One baffling aspect of a forgettable January has been that New Orleans instead is competitive in virtually every game. The Hornets seemed to have a reasonable chance at victory in every fourth quarter this week, but the bottom-line result was losses to Portland, Memphis, Houston and Dallas. Many NBA analysts measure teams' true ability by point differential how many points a team averages minus how many it allows. Illogically, the Hornets have actually improved their average scoring margin this week, because they lost by 7, 6, 2 and 2 points, respectively. Entering Saturdays game vs. Dallas, they were minus-4.9 points per game. Some of the Hornets inability to secure victories in crunch time can be attributed to having so many new players, along with the fact that theyre one of the least-experienced teams in the league. After Saturday's loss, Trevor Ariza summed up the team's recent fortunes. "A play here and there, it's pretty much the same story," he said. "We're just not closing games out the way we know we can. That's the story of our season so far."