Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/5/12

The New Orleans Hornets just can’t seem to catch a break as they fell once again this time losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 101-93.  The game also marked the return of Eric Gordon to the lineup after a four game hiatus, yet with the injury to Trevor Ariza in the previous game we have yet to see this team play at full strength. 

Gordon started the game hot hitting his on 5 of 6 shots in the first quarter and would end the game with a team high 22 points.  Carl Landry followed with 21 points, Jarrett Jack had 19, and Chris Kaman ended up with 10 to round out the Hornets that scored in double figures.  Emeka Okafor and Marco Belinelli both finished with 5, Jason Smith added 9, and Trey Johnson hit his only shot attempt for 2 points.  Playing but not scoring were Al-Farouq Amino who got the start in place of the injured Trevor Ariza, and Grievis Vasquez got 21 minutes in but missed all three of his shot attempts.

New Orleans started out hot jumping out to a 27-16 first quarter lead and played solid for the a large majority of the game until a quick 9-0 run by Philadelphia early in the 4th.  Jrue Holiday took over for the 76ers as the Hornets just had no answer for him in the 4th as they drop their 4th game in a row after a 2-0 start on the season.  This is also the first time this season the Hornets had allowed an opponent to crack the century mark in points, not a good sign as not only is the team struggling offensively but the defense is starting to give way.  My earlier prediction of this being a possible playoff team is in jeapordy with the losses starting to pile up.  It may still be too early to count them out, but with the shortened season they may not have much time to right the ship.  Yet even as a lottery team the draft is a strong one this year so that is a positive to look forward to as well for this young team.

In other news the Hornets added yet another youngster to the roster in yet another trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.  Xavier Henry is the newest member to the Hornets squad, and New Orleans had to give up almost nothing in return.  The three way trade saw New Orleans land Henry while Marrees Speights went to Memphis sending two 2nd round draft picks to the 76ers.  This is a great trade for New Orleans, giving up a future 2nd round pick for a player that was a lottery pick in last years draft.  Xavier was taken 12th overall by Memphis in last years draft, and at only 20 years old there is a lot of potential for a team looking to add youth this is a very good pick up.  The 6′ 6″ shooting guard out of Kansas did struggle in his debut season, hitting on only 41% of his field goals and shooting a terrible 12 % from 3-point range.  He is a player that has the tools and size to be a good defender, and if he is able to regain the form he had in college on the offensive side this could be a huge steal for the Hornets.  With Belinelli struggling and if Gordon misses any more time, we could get to see Henry get some real playing time.  That is when he gets over his injury.  As for right now Henry will be sitting with Ariza in street clothes until his torn ligaments in his ankle are healed, which could be around 2 weeks.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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