Preventable Mistakes Sting Young Hornets Team In Loss To Jazz, 96-84
The Hornets struggled on both sides of the court in front of a sparse home crowd at the New Orleans Arena on Wednesday, losing to the Utah Jazz, 96-84.
New Orleans played sluggishly throughout the game, their first at home after a four-game road trip, and with minimal time to recoup after Monday’s contest in Los Angeles. The young team looked tired.
“The travel, getting in late, the back-to-backs; it can wear on you when you’re a young guy,” said Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams. “It’s something you have to go through, and our veterans can help the younger guys get through those tough times.”
New Orleans playmakers and scoring threats Ryan Anderson and Greivis Vasquez were unable to create an offensive front from the outside. Vasquez put up a respectable 18 points, but the Jazz were prepared for Anderson. He attempted just eight shots the entire game, shooting 25 percent. Overall, the Hornets shot a miserable 9-40 outside the paint.
“We starting casting up jump shots, and I think a lot of that’s fool’s gold because of what happened in the L.A. game,” said Williams after the game. “In the L.A. game we were making every jump shot and knocking down all the 3s, and we came here tonight thinking we’re the Indiana Hoosiers or something like that.”
The Hornets were able to beat the Jazz in the paint, outscoring Utah 44-38. Center Robin Lopez attacked under the rim, scoring 18 points.
The Jazz, who came into the game tonight third in the league for free-throw attempts and makes, scored 28 points (out of 38 attempts) at the line, fueled by irresponsible fouls from the home team. Even late into the fourth quarter, rookie Austin Rivers fouled Jazz guard Gordon Hayward with 6:25 left and the Hornets trailing 71-79. Rivers slapped Hayward as he was lofting in a short jumper almost underneath the rim. Monty Williams subbed him out immediately.
“We had one of those games where we looked like a young team,” said Williams. “With a young team I think we have to remember who we are.”
The Hornets suffered in the second quarter, shooting 8-21, and were unable to get any momentum until 5:09 left in the half, when Lopez went to the line after being fouled by DeMarre Carroll and sank both free-throws. This sparked a brief offensive run, with New Orleans attacking and closing the gap, bringing the score within two points, 41-39, before the end of the period.
But the Jazz ran away with it in the third, outscoring New Orleans 31 to 17. A driving dunk by Williams, who was left unguarded as three Hornets players swarmed trying to trap the ball, capped off a 10-3 run by the Jazz to start the quarter.
The Hornets were never able to catch Utah, and the game ended with the 96-84 tally.
The Hornets continued their turnover woes today, losing the ball 19 times. Greivis Vasquez, who turned the ball over twenty times during the previous three games, showed improvement however, and only gave the ball away once tonight.
“If you turn the ball over twenty times you shouldn’t expect to win,” said Williams.
This was the second time this season that the Hornets faced the Jazz, the first ending with a New Orleans win back on November 2. The teams will meet again January 30.
The Hornets have two days of rest before taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder this Saturday. They faced the Thunder less than two weeks ago, suffering a 110-95 defeat. OKC (12-4) has won 6 of their last 7 games, and will host Utah on Friday before traveling to New Orleans on Saturday.