Archive for the ‘ New Orleans Pelicans Blog ’ Category

Following last night’s final game of the 2012-13 season, the New Orleans Hornets officially took on the team’s new identity as the New Orleans Pelicans. The team will participate in its first NBA event as the Pelicans on May 21 at the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery.

“We have been looking forward to this day since we announced the Pelicans as the new name,” said Owner Tom Benson. “The Pelican is a symbol for our city and region and we’re excited to start a new era in Louisiana basketball history. This off-season is going to be a special time for the Pelicans.”

Benson announced on Jan. 24 that at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, the name of the team will become the Pelicans, adopting an identity that will represent the culture and resolve of the Gulf Coast region while also symbolizing Louisiana’s most pressing initiative of coastal restoration and wildlife conservation. Benson introduced the team’s new logos, as well as color scheme, during the announcement.

The Pelicans’ colors are blue, gold and red. The team’s primary color, blue, is taken from Louisiana’s state flag. The Pelicans and Saints share the color gold, uniting the organizations, while celebrating the spirited life of New Orleans and its many celebrations (gold is also a commonly found color on the “crown” of the pelican). Red represents fraternity and is indicative of the blood provision of the mother pelican and the vibrant color underneath the pelican’s throat. All three colors are found on the flag of the City of New Orleans.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, the king of the fourth-quarter comeback, was back on Sunday. The fourth-quarter comeback was not.

Even with the All-Star point guard returning from his sprained left shoulder and playing for the first time in three weeks, the Cavaliers ran into their same old problem in the third quarter and lost to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena, 112-92.

Irving missed eight games with the injury suffered on March 10 in Toronto, and he led the Cavs with 31 points in 28:40 on Sunday. But he didn’t have enough help and the Cavs fell to 22-50 as their longest losing streak of the season reached eight games. Greivis Vasques had 25 points and Ryan Anderson added 23 for New Orleans, 26-48.

– Reported by Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Irving was announced as a surprise return less than two hours prior to the game, but he couldn’t help a defense that was beaten badly in transition and around the perimeter. The Hornets made 12 of 21 3-pointers and scored 19 fast break points, a rarity against a Cavs team that typically gives up few points on the break.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

Of the 14 remaining games this season, 11 come against teams that are playoff-locks or opponents on the fringe (Lakers, Utah, ) with attainable post-season aspirations.

“It’s not an easy stretch, but it’s the type of challenge you want,” Mason said. “For us, I think it will be a good measure of where our heart is at and how we compete going into next season.

“We have to learn. Obviously this has been a tough stretch here. No one is going to come to save us. It’s going to come (from) within. I think we have a resilient group. I’m excited about these next few games to see how we respond. It’s always run to see how things go when there’s a challenge ahead. And we have a challenge ahead right now, but I think we’ll be OK.”

The biggest challenge for the Hornets, though, will be to rediscover how to play defense.

– Reported by Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

There are 16 games remaining in the regular season and it doesn’t appear the New Orleans Hornets are any closer to solving their glaring defensive problems than they were two months ago.

It hasn’t mattered how long Hornets Coach Monty Williams puts his team through video sessions to go over mistakes or have walk-through practices or shootarounds to emphasize specific defensive assignments, it’s still not carrying over into games. The Hornets continue to struggle with their defensive rotations that causes them to give up too many open shots on the perimeter and drives into the lane that leads to layups or dunks.

“We’ve had a number of breakdowns and that falls square on my shoulders,’’ Williams said. “I have to get guys in the game who want to compete for 48 minutes. There is no margin for error with this team, especially when you have lost guys like Jason Smith (injured) and you don’t have experience.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Brook Lopez scores 26, Nets beat Hornets

Brook Lopez

Having Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche on the floor at the same time worked in a big way for the Nets.

Brooklyn’s big men combined for 44 points in a 108-98 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night.

Lopez led all scorers with 26 points and enjoyed sharing the floor with Blatche, who scored 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.

”He has such a high basketball IQ,” said Lopez, ”and he plays so well with everyone on the floor, which makes everyone’s job a lot easier.”

Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said the Lopez-Blatche tandem works well with specific match-ups, and considering Brooklyn needed an offensive jolt after Monday’s dismal loss to lowly Philadelphia, the plan worked.

”Andray makes the game easier for me,” said Lopez, who went on a 10-point scoring run himself in the third quarter to preserve a dwindling lead. ”You see Andray playing out there like that, I want him to play the entire game then. The great thing about our bigs, there are a lot of good players there who can do different things, so we can have a lot of combinations.”

Lopez had a monstrous dunk over his twin brother, Robin, with 3:49 left in the third quarter. It’s something the Lopez family will be talking about for years. Robin finished with 15 points and eight rebounds…

Deron Williams had 21 points and 13 assists, continuing his strong play since the All-Star break.

– Reported by Chris R. Vaccaro of the Associated Press

Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

New Orleans Hornets rookie guard Austin Rivers will miss four to six weeks with a broken bone in his right hand, according to a USA Today report.

Rivers fractured fourth metacarpal bone during the first half of Wednesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He smacked his hand on teammate Greivis Vasquez’s body after making a steal. He exited the game for good with 4:28 left in the second quarter.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Arron Afflalo bolted through a crowd of Hornets defenders as he angled toward the hoop, switching the ball from his left hand to his right to hit a layup Orlando needed to keep another game from slipping away.

Minutes later, he sank an 11-foot turnaround fade in the lane with Eric Gordon’s hand in his face - yet another clutch play that led the Magic to an unlikely comeback on the road.

Afflalo finished with a game-high 26 points, scoring five in the final 38 seconds, and Orlando snapped a three-game skid by erasing a 17-point, second-half deficit en route to a 105-102 victory over New Orleans on Monday night.

”It was great to see the guys feel it and get rewarded for their effort,” Magic coach Jacques Vaughn said. ”We get down 17 and still plug away and play each possession.”

Jameer Nelson, returning from a left knee injury that sidelined him six games, scored 15 points and Tobias Harris also scored 15 for Orlando, which erased a nine-point deficit during the final 3:15.

Afflalo scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter. His late turnaround over Gordon gave Orlando the lead for good at 101-100 with 38 seconds left.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

Austin Rivers still developing his pro-level game

Although he was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft and projections were rampant about emerging quickly as a scorer, New Orleans Hornets rookie guard Austin Rivers has stopped trying to live up to lofty expectations.

Instead of forcing shots as he did during the first two months of the season, Rivers plays more under control, looking more to set up his teammates with passes or attack off the dribble when the lane is clear.

With 22 games left in the regular season, Rivers remains a work in progress. He hasn’t scored more than nine points in 30 of the past 31 games. He ranks 16th among rookies with a 6.1 scoring average. But gone are the dreadful four-of-14 shooting performances like he had against the Oklahoma City Thunder in December.

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

The New Orleans Hornets today signed center Henry Sims for the 19th Call-Up of the 2012-13 NBA Development League season. Sims joins more than 116 NBA players with NBA D-League experience currently on NBA rosters.

Sims (6-10, 245, Georgetown) has started all 36 games for the BayHawks this season, averaging 17.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Sims was a 2013 NBA D-League All-Star and scored 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the floor for the Prospects team in a 139-125 win over the Futures squad. Sims recorded 12 double-doubles on the season, ranking him second among NBA D-League players. He scored in double-figures in 32-of-36 games for the BayHawks this season.

Sims signed with the New York Knicks during training camp, but was waived before the start of the regular season.

Sims is expected to join the Hornets today and be available when the team hosts the Orlando Magic on Monday, March 4.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune,  ”It’s a good opportunity for him to see how he plays in practices and workouts and maybe he’ll get a shot in the game,” Hornets Coach Monty Williams said. “We need a backup center at this point with Jason (Smith) out for the season. We’ll probably piecemeal it together from here on out, but I like him (Sims) and his big body. It’s unfortunate when a guy has a decent body of work in college and has yet to make it with an NBA team. “I watched him at Georgetown. I love watching JT3 guys (John Thompson III). You have to have a clue if you’re going to play in his system. Guys are typically pretty smart players that come from Georgetown. I actually saw him play in the Big East tournament and he played pretty well.”

jason smith

New Orleans Hornets General Manager Dell Demps announced Friday that backup forward/center Jason Smith will miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He will have surgery to repair the injury early next week and details regarding a rehab schedule will be released then.

Smith has played through the injury since December after he blocked an attempted slam dunk by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. He was expected to undergo surgery after this season but re-injured his shoulder during Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. He did not play in Wednesday night’s 45-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

kevin durant

Russell Westbrook warned Kevin Durant that he was going to come off a pick-and-roll and then make a backdoor cut to the basket.

Thabo Sefolosha dived on the floor to save a possession for the Oklahoma City Thunder and get Durant in position to make another play. In a matter of minutes, Durant went from being in the neighborhood of a triple-double to being right on the doorstep. He made sure to finish it off before another early exit in the Thunder’s latest blowout.

Durant had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists - the last five coming in a 4-minute flurry in the third quarter - and the Thunder finished a perfect three-game homestand by routing the short-handed New Orleans Hornets 119-74 on Wednesday night.

”When you get a triple-double, people think it’s just about the guy that gets it,” Durant said. ”Your teammates make so many great plays to put you in position to do that. So, it’s not just me. My teammates made me look good tonight.”

With Oklahoma City already up by 23, Durant went into assist mode to get his second triple-double since the All-Star break…

Ryan Anderson started in place of injured No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis (shoulder) and led New Orleans with 14 points. The Hornets trailed by at least 29 in three of the four meetings with Oklahoma City this season, getting swept in the season series…

New Orleans was also without second-leading scorer Eric Gordon, who has been sitting out the second game of back-to-back sets this season while working his way back from a knee injury…

Westbrook scored 29 points, making all 12 of his free throws, and Ibaka finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Deron Williams snapped out of a lackluster second half in time to save the Brooklyn Nets from a painful collapse.

One game after coming up empty in the final minutes of a close loss to Memphis, Williams scored for 11 of his 31 points in the final 1:24 in New Orleans, and the Nets snapped a two-game skid by holding off the Hornets, 101-97 on Tuesday night…

Williams was coming off a game against the Grizzlies in which he went scoreless during the last six minutes, with one shot blocked and a turnover with 10.9 seconds left with his team trailing 74-72.

After scoring 20 points in the first half in New Orleans, Williams had only one basket during the next 22:36 as the Hornets nearly erased a deficit that had been as large as 22. Then Williams drained a timely 3, added a fadeaway jumper, and followed that with six free throws in the final 18.7 seconds to seal it…

Brook Lopez added 20 points and four blocks while playing against his twin brother, Robin, and Keith Bogans added 12 points for Brooklyn, hitting all four of his shots, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Williams made four of his eight 3-point attempts, and the Nets shot 60 percent (12 of 20) from long range as a team.

Greivis Vasquez scored 20 and Robin Lopez 14 for New Orleans, which has lost four of five.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

anthony davis

Anthony Davis had 20 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Gordon added 17 points and eight assists to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 110-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Ryan Anderson scored 17 points, Roger Mason had 13, and Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez 12 apiece for New Orleans, which won its first game since an 0-3 start following the All-Star break.

The Hornets also improved to 18-12 when holding opponents below 100 points.

John Salmons scored all 18 of his points in the second half for the Kings. Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas each added 16 as Sacramento lost its fifth consecutive overall and eight straight on the road.

Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton had 12 points each for Sacramento…

Newly acquired C Cole Aldrich was not with the Kings on Sunday, Sacramento coach Keith Smart said before the game. Smart said Aldrich was in Sacramento for additional medical tests. Aldrich, along with Toney Douglas and Patrick Patterson were acquired in a trade with the Houston Rockets this past week in exchange for Thomas Robinson. Douglas and Patterson were with the team and Patterson scored 2 points. Douglas did not play.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Dirk Nowitzki knows a vintage Vince Carter performance when he sees it.

So with a subtle nod, Nowitzki gave Carter the green light to take a crucial shot in the final seconds, and could not have been more pleased with the result.

Carter capped a 22-point performance with a 3-pointer that gave Dallas the lead with 6.5 seconds left, and the Mavericks held on for their third straight victory, 104-100 over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

”I looked at him to see what he wanted,” Carter said of Nowitzki, who was supposed to get the shot with the Mavericks trailing 100-99. ”He gave me the nod to go ahead. Yes sir.” …

Nowitzki, who scored 25 points, said he and Carter noticed New Orleans making a defensive switch in the final few possessions, resulting in 7-foot forward Jason Smith covering Carter. When it happened just inside the final minute, Carter tried to drive on Smith, and found Mike James open in the left corner for a clutch 3 that made it a one-point game…

Elton Brand added 13 points for Dallas (25-29), which is 4 1/2 games out of the last Western Conference playoff spot with 28 games left. Darren Collison scored 11, hitting a pair of free throws with 3 seconds left for the final margin.

Eric Gordon scored 23 for the Hornets, who have lost three straight, but had only three points in the second half and lost the ball out of bounds while being closely guarded by O.J. Mayo with 5.8 seconds left, costing New Orleans a chance to set up a shot to tie or lead.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

eric gordon

Even if the New Orleans Hornets are unable to pull off a trade involving guard Eric Gordon before Thursday’s 2 p.m. deadline, it has been become clear the franchise likely will remain open to trading him after this season ends, according to sources.

The Hornets (19-36) have had trade discussions with the Golden State Warriors in an attempt to acquire shooting guard Kyle Thompson. But the deal appears unlikely because the Warriors are unwilling to part ways with Thompson, whom they feel is an emerging star and they have concerns about Gordon’s health, sources indicate.

The Hornets are looking for a deal that could possibly improve their overall roster for the lon -term, which means they are looking for young talent that will enhance their current rebuilding plans around No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis.

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune

kyrie irving

Bright lights bring out the best in Kyrie Irving.

Coming off an impressive showing during All-Star weekend in Houston, Irving carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 105-100 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

Irving scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, including 11 in a row and 18 of 20, to help the Cavaliers break away from an 83-all tie in the final 4:23.

”In the fourth quarter especially when it’s winning time, obviously I want to win and my teammates want to win,” he said. ”Luckily, some shots went in.” …

The game featured two former No. 1 overall draft picks: Irving and Hornets center Anthony Davis. Irving made 13 of 22 shots and all seven of his free throws while having seven assists. Davis had 12 points and four rebounds…

Dion Waiters scored 16 points for the Cavaliers while C.J. Miles added 11.

Rookie Brian Roberts led New Orleans with 17 points, tying a season high. Robin Lopez scored 15 points before fouling out, while Greivis Vasquez added 13…

Hornets guard Eric Gordon didn’t play for precautionary reasons as he continues to recover from knee surgery. He has yet to play on back-to-back nights on orders of the team’s medical staff. Gordon, who is averaging 16.6 points, missed the final game before the All-Star break with a sprained right hand, but scored 20 points Tuesday in a 96-87 loss to Chicago.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Will Hornets trade guard Eric Gordon?

eric gordon

After scoring a team-high 20 points in Tuesday night’s loss to Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon appeared unsure about what may happen before Thursday’s trade deadline. Trade rumors are starting to swirl that the Hornets might be willing to part ways with Gordon if they can land the right deal.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard tweeted Tuesday night that the Hornets have made Gordon available for a trade, but that it’s not likely to happen because teams are concerned about his health going forward.

Hornets officials had no comment regarding trade rumors Tuesday night, but Gordon said for the second consecutive day that he’s not concerned about the trade deadline. However, he acknowledged that anything is possible.

“I don’t really get caught up to it,’’ Gordon said Tuesday night. “But you just never know your situation. That’s part of the process but at the end of the day, you can’t worry about that as a player. If it happens, it happens. I’m definitely not worried about it.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Mavs may have interest in Eric Gordon

eric gordon

The odds of the New Orleans Hornets trading shooting guard Eric Gordon before the Feb. 21 deadline are slim.

The odds of the Mavs trading for Gordon before the deadline are much closer to none.

However, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports in an Insider column that the Mavs, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are among the teams that have inquired about Gordon. In the cases of the Mavs and Rockets – a couple of teams that will have enough cap space to enter the Dwight Howard summer sweepstakes – the inquiries are likely about exploring a potential offseason fallback option…

Is Gordon worth that kind of money when the Mavs could probably re-sign O.J. Mayo for significantly less?

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

Hornets roll past Trail Blazers, 99-63

anthony davis

Anthony Davis stormed down the lane, soared over a cluster of players under the basket, snagged a missed layup as it bounced off the front rim and slammed it down.

With that, the worst scoring slump the Hornets’ celebrated rookie could ever recall at any level of basketball ended.

Davis had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets handed the Portland Trail Blazers their fifth straight loss, 99-63 on Wednesday night.

”When you see the ball go through - a free throw, jump shot, layup, dunk, whatever it is - the confidence just builds back up,” Davis said. ”When I got that first dunk, the confidence was rising and I just tried to keep feeding on it.”

Davis, whose 0-for-7 shooting night on Monday in Detroit made him 1 of 13 in his previous two games, was 10 of 17 against Portland. He scored on an array of dunks, tip-shots and even jumpers from as deep as 20 feet.

For Davis, it seemed like a just result after he went to the practice gym on Tuesday - while the rest of the team was given the day off - and worked on his shooting.

”I was trying to keep my mind right,” said Davis, who’s been selected to play in an exhibition game involving top young players during this weekend’s NBA All-Star festivities in Houston. ”I wasn’t going to take the day off.”

Ryan Anderson added 14 points and Jason Smith 13, both in reserve roles. Greivis Vasquez had 10 points and eight assists.

Damian Lillard had 12 points and Victor Claver 11 for Portland, which lost starting guard Wesley Matthews to a sprained right ankle early in the game and played poorly throughout, shooting 32.4 percent (24 of 74) and turning the ball over 18 times.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

John Lucas

John Lucas scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to match his season high, Rudy Gay had 20 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the New Orleans Hornets 102-89 on Sunday.

Kyle Lowry had 14 points and 10 assists and Amir Johnson scored 14 points for the Raptors, who won consecutive games for the first time since beating Philadelphia and Charlotte on Jan. 9 and 11.

Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors blew open a close game by outscoring the Hornets 33-23 in the final quarter.

Robin Lopez scored 19 points, Greivis Vasquez had 17 and Ryan Anderson 15 for the Hornets, who lost for the first time in three games. Brian Roberts had 13 points for New Orleans, which has won more than two straight just once this season…

Johnson scored 12 points in the first and Gay had eight as the Raptors took advantage of six New Orleans turnovers to take a 32-21 lead after one quarter…

Toronto C Andrea Bargnani did not dress because of flulike symptoms. … Valanciunas started for the first time in five games since returning from an 18-game injury absence. … Toronto F Landry Fields, returned after missing the previous three games with back spasms.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press

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