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Hornets Overcome 18-point Lakers Lead, Still Fall 111-106


by Norris Ortolano
Coming back from an 18-point fourth quarter deficit is an impressive feat for a young basketball team, especially when you’re playing at a venue in which you haven’t won since 2009. However, for the New Orleans Hornets, failed comebacks are becoming an unsightly trend, and they now find themselves with a record of 15-30 after allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to walk away with a 111-106 victory from the Staples Center last night.

To fans looking for that one positive in a disappointing loss, coming back from not one, but two significant deficits showcases a team banding together and refusing to quit in one of the most hostile environments in the NBA. Unfortunately for the Hornets, the resurging Lakers appear to have gotten their groove back and have now won three in a row.

 

Led by Dwight Howard’s 24 points and yes, you’re reading this right, Earl Clark’s 20, the Lakers showed both patience on offense and hustle on defense to stall and confuse the Hornets all night. Kobe Bryant is graciously accepting his new role creating plays as opposed to making all of them, scoring only 14, but handing out 11 dimes and barely missing a triple-double with eight rebounds.

 

The Hornets, on the other hand, were once again led by Eric Gordon’s 25 points, but only seven of those were in the second half, another disturbing trend for this team. Greivis Vasquez had 15 points and 15 assists in his usual solid, not spectacular night. Ryan Anderson was a ghost until the final period. While Robin Lopez was a key contributor to the comeback, he was absolutely manhandled by Dwight Howard in the paint.

 

Al-Farouq Aminu and Austin Rivers couldn’t have been less effective, both regularly missing uncontested lay-ups that could have kept the game close.  Aminu was taken out of the game early, but Coach Monty Williams appears adamant in Rivers’ development, giving the rookie 23 undeserved minutes, many of those during crunch time.

 

Coach Monty Williams is a bright, young mind and is essential to the future of the team, but watching the team get progressively worse defensively and show such mind-boggling ineptness on offense at times really frustrates fans who are expecting much more now that the team is at full strength. I’ve never seen more wide open looks missed than I did last night or more ineffective backup guard play. The fact of the matter is that there is more than half a season left to be played, and while the Hornets are finally starting to put some wins on the board, they are still very much a work in progress.

 

The road trip continues tonight against a Utah Jazz team coming off a 45-point thrashing by the Houston Rockets.

 

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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