Tag: New Orleans Hornets

Erik Spoelstra, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Mike Miller

James, Heat bounce back from loss, destroy Hornets


NEW ORLEANS — The Heat’s 27-game winning streak may be over, but they aren’t ready to stop terrorizing the rest of the NBA quite yet. The Heat still own the league’s best record and have the league’s best player, and they were out to prove a point on Friday night.

The Heat actually looked better against the Hornets than they did in the waning games of their incredible streak, actually starting the game off strong despite the absence of Mario Chalmers, taking a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter, and never looking back.

LeBron James was an absolute house of fire. It was the kind of game that I, quite frankly, am just glad to have witnessed in person. With just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter, James teed up an in-rhythm three, and drained it. Then, on the next two possessions, he pulled up for two more threes, and hit two more threes. Instead of taking his customary rest to start the second quarter, LeBron stayed on the floor, and continued to rain sulfur on the Hornets.

He made a three on the Heat’s first possession of the second quarter, then pulled up with his foot on the line in transition…and drained that too. Then, on the next possession, everyone knew LeBron was going to shoot until he missed…and he drained the three anyways. Then he pumped the crowd up, successfully. To be clear, the Heat were on the road. On the next possession, he drove, pulled up, launched, and hit, then hit one more heat-check three for god measure. When the dust had settled, LeBron had made eight long jumpers in a row, six threes in a row, scored 23 points in five and a half minutes, and the Heat were up by 20, and it never really got competitive after that. When the best player in the world gets it going like that, there’s nothing you can do.

(Monty Williams wasn’t as impressed as some by LeBron’s performance: when asked after the game if LeBron’s performance was “Jordanesque,” Williams said “No. Michael played against men. LeBron is playing against little boys.”

The Heat didn’t let up on the gas pedal after LeBron cracked the game wide open, bearing down on the Hornets’ pick-and-roll sets, keeping Anthony Davis frustrated and in foul trouble, and generally keeping the Hornets from getting into anything resembling a groove all night long.

The Heat’s streak might be over, but everyone knows that ring #2 was always more important to this team than win #34, and on Friday night Miami showed why they’re still the favorites to get the former.

Eric Gordon could be held out the entire preseason

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon was limited in training camp with soreness in his knee which has given him problems for over a year. He was supposed to return for preseason, but that hasn’t happened yet. And now coach Monty Williams is talking about him missing the entire preseason. From the Times-Picayune:

But Williams said Sunday that Gordon could miss the final three preseason games because he is not in appropriate conditioning due to the missed time caused by his sore knee. Williams also theres also a chance power forward Jason Smith could miss the remainder of the preseason after injuring his shoulder in a practice last week. Gordon has missed all five preseason games, while Smith has played in only the preseason opener against the Orlando Magic.

“I don’t see them playing in the next couple of games, maybe not anymore in the preseason, Williams said.  “It is not ideal, but it is the situation that we have. Jason is still feeling pain. Eric got to get his condition up; that’s what he’s working on now. But he’s doing more and more everyday. He’s doing a lot more drill work with the team and he’s in all the huddles. He’s more engaged each day.”

via New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon could miss remainder of preseason | NOLA.com.

There’s no reason to sound the alarms, but you may want to at least check where the button is on the dashboard. Gordon should account for 25 to 30 percent of the Hornets’ offense this year, and they invested a huge amount of money for him in the offseason.

The Hornets are playing it safe, though, which is the right thing. They need him at a 100 percent. He can miss the preseason, the start of the regular season, the first month of play. They need him for the majority of the season, and the years to come.

We’ll keep you updated on his progress.


5 Preseason Observations

2011 NBA Draft

1. The disconnect isn’t necessarily obvious. If you watch preseason, on the surface, there’s not much outside of the number of minutes for starters between regular season and this. I mean, the game is fundamentally the same. But the speed and intensity differential is startling, and you’ll see the shift for small moments with the key players putting themselves in a higher gear. It essentially means that most of the time, even when you see something that is fundamentally good or bad, you have to understand that there’s just very little connection between this and what we’ll see starting October 30th.

2. So in that vein, very little should be made of the Hornets, on either side. A 3-1 record would indicate that they’re actually putting some things together, but if you watch the games or look at the box you can tell that they are severely struggling. But on the flip side, Eric Gordon hasn’t played, and Anthony Davis sat out their Friday night loss for rest.

But the concerns are mostly in that the offense looks like quite the mess. Yes, Gordon is going to help, but there are concerns about Greivis Vasquez who has been charged with running point guard, and the small forward position is still a huge question mark. The results with the big lineup featuring Roben Lopez, Anderson, and Davis have not been good. In large part, the Hornets just don’t seem to have a whole lot of talent offensively.

But again, it’s preseason.

3. Jonas Valanciunas for the Raptors had an awful opening stat line but made a jump in his second game. The off-the-box stuff though, stands out nicely. He’s a quality rotation defender and aggressive at blocking shots. He’s got both good instincts under the basket and a little bit of savvy. He’s going to have growing pains, but you don’t get a sense watching him that he’s just completely lost, like some other top-five-pick big men of the last few years did, even in preseason.

4. The Lakers bench had better be saving itself.

5. Teams who appear sharp: Miami, Denver, San Antonio, Golden State.
Teams who do not appear sharp: Washington, Charlotte, Portland, the Clippers, and OKC’s bench.

But again, as always, it’s preseason.

Report: Sixers tried to poach Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri

Masai Ujiri

There were questions about Masai Ujiri as a general manager when the Nuggets hired him. He seemed a bit of a reach, someone who hadn’t had a lot of experience and that raised a few eyebrows around the league.

But Ujiri has answered every question, looked smart in the role and reshaped a roster following the Carmelo Anthony trade. Then this summer Ujiri pulled in Andre Iguodala as part of the Dwight Howard trade his best move yet.

The 76ers are still looking for a GM to come in and replace Rod Thorn next year, and they went after Ujiri, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

The 76ers were granted permission to talk to Ujiri earlier in the summer, but he ultimately resisted what would’ve been a lucrative package to replace Sixers president and GM Rod Thorn, sources said….

The Sixers’ ownership group had believed it could lure Ujiri, one of the lowest-paid GMs in the league, with a $2 million-plus annual package, sources said. Nevertheless, Ujiri’s strong relationship and trust in Denver president Josh Kroenke and owner Stan Kroenke, as well as his investment in a promising roster, led him to stay the course in Denver.

Denver kept Ujiri this time, but Philly will not be the only team to come calling. The Nuggets and the Kroenke family are going to have to pay up to keep Ujiri long term.

So, where does all this leave Philly?

The 76ers have narrowed the search and appear to be leaning toward promoting assistant GM Tony DiLeo to the GM job, league sources said. The 76ers had considered former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower, but as the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported, DiLeo has emerged as the favorite to take over for Thorn.

Two weeks to training camp… Chris Paul’s teardrop is like a wizard from an 80’s metal animation

Chris Paul

The wait is almost over. We’re two weeks and three days from training camp, and the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season. Basketball is almost back. As we get closer we’ll be bringing you reminders of why this game is awesome, what you’ve missed, and what to look forward to.

Chris Paul is known for the acuity of his passing. He’s the best pure passer in the game, and it’s that skill that makes him the widely-considered best point guard on the planet. But what sometimes gets lost is that he’s an absolutely incredible scorer. He’s been flirting with 50-40-90 the past few seasons but injury has always managed to kick out the tires just enough to drag him back to just unbelievably good. And his floater is by far his most dangerous weapon. You cover the roll man, you play up to contain and bring help defense, meaning there’s just a narrow gap for him to shoot. And then he buries you.