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Hornets Outplay Bulls on the Road, Win 89-82
by Kerem Ozkan
The New Orleans Hornets continued their “Hey, we’re actually decent this year!” campaign Saturday by beating another very decent team, the Chicago Bulls, by a score of 89-82. They did so without Eric Gordon (knee) and Anthony Davis (concussion), no less, making up for a lack of star power by out-rebounding, out-hustling and out-playing the Bulls at every turn, holding one of the league’s best-coached teams to an utterly pathetic 33 percent field goal shooting.
I’ve neglected to credit Jason Smith in my write-ups for the past two games, so let’s make up for lost time here. Smith has made an NBA career out of heart & hustle, overcoming a lack of athelticism and more tangible skills. He’s turned into the prototypical fan favorite in New Orleans, and a game like this perfectly illustrates why. As Hornets247 noted, Smith scored an incredible 16 points on five shots (how do you even do that?), adding a couple blocks and rebounds for good measure.
Stick with Ryan Anderson. I’ll explain why.
The Golden State Warriors’ Dorell Wright led the league in three-point shots made in 2010-11. He finished a distant 21st in 2011-12. Wright essentially went from being the league’s consensus breakout player one year to a merely passable backup player on a bad team the next. This kind of no-show is precisely the reason why folks have a tendency to distrust guys like Anderson. A player’s three-point shot can seemingly disappear at will.
Here’s the thing: Anderson is an elite rebounder, decent defender, and passable playmaker who plays to his own strengths perfectly. He finds ways to impact games regardless of who is on the floor and whether his shot is falling. He shot a disappointing 1-7 from the three tonight, but nonetheless led the team to victory in his first start as a Hornet through his poise and effort.
Elsewhere, there was more surprisingly great stuff from Robin Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu, who have now held their own on offense against two elite defenses, the Spurs and Bulls. 247’s Michael McNara notes:
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,
Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson
Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz
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