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In terms of defensive fundamentals, Eric Gordon has yet to reach the upside that his talent suggests.
With that being said, Gordon has long been one of the game's top ball hawks. Saturday night displayed that ability.
Gordon would pick Hakim Warrick's pocket and instantly look for a scoring lane. Gordon would turn the steal into transition points by finding Jason Smith for an 18-foot jump shot.
Gordon would do it again during the second quarter, poking the ball loose from Ramon Sessions on the drive. It was an incredible display of timing, patience and defensive focus.
He displayed that veteran approach again in the fourth quarter. With the Hornets up six with 1:07 remaining, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took the ball from Gordon and attacked the lane. Gordon stayed with him, threw his arms up and maintained stability.
This forced MKG to dig himself a hole along the baseline and eventually travel—all a result of Gordon's defensive pressure and intelligence.
Allowing Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions to work the ball early hurts. Picking up two steals solidifies a strong defensive performance.