Hornets guard Vasquez’s offense hot, turnovers high

NEW ORLEANS — Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez had perhaps his best game of the season Monday night, especially considering the competition.

Vasquez had 25 points and 10 assists in outdueling Chris Paul and leading the Hornets to a 105-98 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Two games previously, Vasquez also had 25 points, along with 14 assists, but the Hornets lost at Phoenix.

As the Hornets return home to play the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m. Wednesday at New Orleans Arena, Hornets coach Monty Williams acknowledged that Vasquez has upped his play, but said there was much room for improvement, considering the nature of the position he plays.

“Greivis has been playing great, but he’s making too many turnovers,” Williams said.

Against the Clippers, Vasquez turned the ball over eight times, and he had six Friday against Phoenix and again in Sunday’s blowout loss at Denver.

Before the Hornets went on this recent four-game road trip, part of six games in nine nights, Vasquez took his share of the blame for the Hornets’ recent losing, saying he needed to be more aggressive.

“I’m an energy guy,” he said. “I need to be more energetic, get the team going more.”

Wednesday night, the Hornets will be going against a team in which Vasquez had his best moment this season. Vasquez made a driving layup at the buzzer to beat the Jazz 88-86 at the Arena on Oct. 2, New Orleans’ second game of the season.

The Hornets followed that up with a big road victory against the Bulls the next night.

Vasquez had 13 points and 10 assists in the first game against Utah.

“He’s underrated,” Jazz point guard Mo Williams said. “First of all, he’s a big point guard, and you have to keep him out of the lane.

“And he’s crafty. He can score on you. He reminds me a lot of (former Houston Rockets point guard) Sam Cassell.”

Vasquez, of course, would like to tone down the turnovers. However, staying aggressive appears to be more important. That goes for him, but perhaps more so for a team that seems to have bought into Williams’ defense-first mantra but is struggling for an offensive identity.

When Vasquez does keep the turnovers down, such as at Milwaukee (three) and at home against the Knicks (one), his scoring usually is down (13 against the Bucks, 10 against New York). And for a Hornets team that has been missing power forward Anthony Davis while shooting guard Eric Gordon has yet to play, points have been at a premium.

“We have to play at a fast pace,” Vasquez said. “We have to play fast, get into our sets faster, run into the pick and roll faster. When we play at a faster pace, we can score the ball.

“But I have to take better care of the ball.”

Note

The Hornets named Matt Ryan as Director of Basketball Communications on Tuesday. Ryan joins the Hornets communications team after working with the New Orleans Saints for the past two seasons.