Hornets.com postgame: Lakers 93, Hornets 91

Hornets.com postgame: Lakers 93, Hornets 91

Monday, April 9, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com
Lakers (36-22), Hornets (15-42)

It was over when… Jason Smith nearly intercepted an inbound pass by Metta World Peace with less than one second remaining, but Matt Barnes collected the ball and dribbled out the clock. The Lakers nearly made an immense blunder while protecting a two-point lead, but ultimately the result was the same as the previous New Orleans-L.A. matchups this season, a heartbreaking defeat for the Hornets. New Orleans dropped to 1-1 on a five-game homestand, which continues Wednesday vs. Sacramento.

Hornets MVP: There was a stretch of the second half when it seemed like Marco Belinelli didn’t need to be on balance, or even squared up toward the hoop, to make any shot he tossed up toward the basket. His 10-point fourth quarter enabled the Hornets to build an 84-77 lead with 5:21 remaining. Overall, the native of Italy finished 7-for-15 and totaled 20 points.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Much like the 2011 playoff series against the Lakers, power forward Carl Landry used his advantages in quickness and athleticism to repeatedly score against the bigger L.A. frontline. He finished with 20 points (on 8-for-12 shooting from the field), 11 rebounds and quietly had a career-best five assists. Landry accounted for all but two of the bench’s points (Xavier Henry went 1-for-8 from the floor).

The buzz on… confusion reigning on the final play of the game. Leading 93-91 with only 1.2 seconds remaining, the Lakers appeared to have six players on the floor as they set up to inbound the ball. One of the officials actually waved at a Laker to move back to the bench area to avoid a situation where the Hornets did not know which five opponents were in the game. Still, Monty Williams said afterward that the substitution needs to be examined to see exactly what took place. “Coaches in the locker room were saying (Matt Barnes) was just standing there and jumped on the floor. Jason (Smith) was confused on who he was supposed to guard. Metta (World Peace) throws the ball and for a split second, Jason took his eye off the ball. But you are not expecting that kind of pass. It is certainly not Jason’s fault. I thought Metta made a bad pass and it just worked out for them.” Smith concurred, saying he heard the crowd loudly cheer when World Peace inexplicably threw a slow-moving bounce pass toward the Hornets’ basket. When he heard that sound, Smith reflexively looked up for a pass in the air, but the ball was instead rolling across the hardwood at knee level. That sliver of time helped allow Barnes to beat Smith to the ball, perhaps preventing one of the strangest game-tying baskets you might ever see in the NBA.

Shootaround: April 9 vs. Lakers

News from this morning’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena:

• Just when the Hornets seemed to enjoying a healthy stretch (by their standards at least) of the season, the news got worse Monday morning. Jarrett Jack will miss the remaining 10 games of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Meanwhile, Eric Gordon is listed as questionable to play against the Lakers, due to lower back tightness. Gordon sustained the injury Saturday vs. the Timberwolves.

• With Jack unavailable the rest of the way, Greivis Vasquez will start again at point guard. New Orleans does not have another point guard on the roster. Monty Williams said the Hornets will try to sign a backup point guard who can be ready to play eight hours from now against the Lakers. “We need to find someone who can do for us what Greivis did off the bench (when Jack was starting),” Williams said. “We may have to go point guard-by-committee a little bit.”

• Jack on his season-ending injury: “I’m very disappointed, because you’d like to finish the season the same way you started it. But it gives me some clarity. I was telling you guys all along I didn’t remember doing anything to my ankle or foot that warranted the swelling or the pain I had been feeling. Getting the MRI yesterday and finding out I had a stress fracture, it made stuff makes sense. It stinks because I want to be out there with my guys. It hurts to be on the sideline, kind of feeling helpless.” Jack now will be forced to rest in order for the injury to heal, a process he was told will take six to eight weeks.

• For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (shin) is listed as day-to-day. Andrew Bynum (ankle) and Ramon Sessions (shoulder) are both listed as probable.