Found February 16, 2012 on
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
Los Angeles Clippers
Well for the first time since opening the season at 2-0 the New Orleans Hornets have come out victorious in their past two games to match that win streak. Monday night they stormed to a huge lead then were able to hold off the Utah Jazz late for an 86-80 win. They followed that with a close 92-89 thriller over the Milwaukee Bucks to improve to a mere 6-23 on the season.
Against the Jazz it was Chris Kaman who the Hornets went to nearly all game as he led the team with a season high 27 points while pulling down 13 rebounds while getting the start for the injured Emeka Okafor. As the Hornets look to move Kaman before the trade deadline in March, games like this will certainly boost even more interest in the 7 foot former All-Star center. His starting frontcourt partner Gustavo Ayon nearly had his first career double-double finishing with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Grievis Vasquez finished with a double-double scoring 12 and handing out 10 assists. The other Hornet to hit double digits in points was Marco Belinelli who struggled from the field but hit all his free throws for a total of 13 points.
To round out the scoring Trevor Ariza pitched in 9 points and was the only starter not to score in double digits. Aminu and Henry pitched in 4 a piece, Donald Sloan and Lance Thomas each had a basket for two points.
Against the Bucks, it was Marco Belinelli dropping in 22 points on a very hot shooting night. Hitting on a career high 6 of 7 three pointers and 7-10 shots overall, it would seem that early season slump that Beli was in has somewhat come to an end. Not going to expect perfection from him here on out, but there is no doubt he has been looking much better from downtown as of late. Kaman beefed up his trade value even more with 18 points and 10 rebounds for yet another double-double getting yet again the start for the injured Okafor. Gustavo “El Titan” Ayon, who is quickly becoming a fan favorite in New Orleans recorded his first career NBA double-double yanking down 12 rebounds and hit on 4 of 7 shots while hitting all four free throws for 12 points. There is no doubt Dell Demps made the right move by adding Ayon, he will no doubt be part of the future for this team moving forward. Ariza once again played a huge role in the win adding 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Though not a consistant offensive threat, he is able to provide some spark as he continues to play extremely well defense and was on the court for a whopping 46 minutes in last night’s game. Starting point guard Grievis Vasquez once again struggled from the floor but did end up with a solid 7 assists.
The bench for the Hornets did not put up big numbers, and three of the five reserves are only on ten day contracts. Donald Sloan got some solid playing time, but only hit one shot for a total of 3 points. Sloan did do a better job of getting the ball up court under pressure than Grievis and did add 4 assists so it was not all that terrible of a night for the 24 year old. Then there was Solomon Jones on the floor last night, less than a day after the Hornets signed the 6′ 10″ forward to a 10 day contract. Jones made the best of it during his 11 minutes on the court, scoring a respectable 6 points in his New Orleans debut. Solomon did play on the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this season but was let go. Xavier Henry has looked less than impressive during his tenure thus far with the Hornets, but did look better last night. The youngster hit all three shots he took for 6 points in just 13 minutes of playing time. Rounding it all out is Al-Farouq Aminu. The still developing Aminu is another young player starting to seem more comfortable out there and though he only added three points his overall game looks so much better than earlier on this season.
Up next, New Orleans heads to the Big Apple to face the all of a sudden scorching New York Knicks led by the sudden emergence of Jeremy Lin. It seems Lin-sanity has swept the nation, but the Hornets head in there with a little momentum themselves and despite lacking talent this team has kept games close. Plus making his return from injury will be starting point guard Jarrett Jack back in the lineup for the Hornets. New York themselves have a player coming back by the name of Carmelo Anthony, and this will be Anthony’s first game playing alongside Lin so that could be of interest to watch. Looking at this matchup on paper the Knicks should have no problem winning this game, but the Hornets despite not having a true superstar player could surprise Lin and the Knicks.
BEST OF MAXIM
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