Game Preview: Hornets @ Blazers

Published: December 17, 2007

Alright, I'm doing another game preview, but I suppose I should warn you.  I went back and took a look at the last game preview I wrote for a Hornets v Portland game(on Nov 2nd), and it had some great gems like these:

"Peja, however, is not inconsistent"
"Julian Wright should play, and I'm sure he'll help, I just hope he's taking minutes from Ely and not Armstrong."
"The Hornets have 3-4 guys who can come off the bench and do a lot."

In case you haven't been paying attention, I'll recap the results; Peja was not consistent and Julian didn't play.  I was right that the Hornets have 3-4 guys who come off the bench, and they certainly do a lot. It just doesn't often help our team.

So here goes, let's see how I can embarrass myself this time!

Game Preview
Opposing Team:
Portland Trailblazers(12-12)
Enemy Blogger: Blazers Edge 

The Hornets buzz into Portland on a high from their win over Phoenix on Saturday night.  Hopefully they won't be too high on the win, however, because this battle is going to be tough.  Portland sports a 9-3 record at home, have beaten a full strength Hornets team once already this season, and is currently on a 7 game winning streak.  There has been some quality competition during the streak as well, with two wins over Utah, one over Denver and one over Golden State.

The Hornets, battling injuries, have been shakey, but they have the firepower to take down Portland, especially with Aldridge possibly sidelined with another foot injury.  What the Hornets need to do:

  • Tyson has to frustrate Pryzbilla and not get ejected while he does so.
  • Peterson and Butler have to slow down Roy.
  • Fast Break when possible.  Portland likes a slow game like the Hornets do, but they are young and can make mistakes – jam the ball down their throat and make them think fast.
  • Byron needs to play Julian and let him chase Travis Outlaw – who has been surprisingly effective lately.  Julian is a good match athletically.

Speaking of Tyson – he and Joel seem to get under each other skins.  Tyson likes to bark at the refs, but every Portland game he seems to be screaming at them every couple minutes about things Joel has been doing. Joel always keeps his mouth shut, but against the Hornets he's always got his face screwed up like someone took a crap in his gatorade.

Anyways, Positional analysis!
PG: Steve Blake vs. Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Blake has taken over the starting point position from Jarrett Jack, and he does a good job.  While he's never going to be accused of being a star, he's a solid trigger man who rarely makes mistakes – exactly what this young team needs.  Paul, however, is incredible.

SG: Brandon Roy vs. Morris Peterson
Advantage: Blazers
Roy has been going nuts recently, making up for Aldridge being out by scoring at an impressive clip from the field.  Peterson's back is a little iffy, but he's a gamer and will give Roy more trouble than most people think he will.  Roy's floor game (second on the team in assists at 5.2) makes it very hard to stop him, however.

SF: Martell Webster vs. Rasual Butler
Advantage: Blazers
Webster is an okay shooter who doesn't much else at all. He's excellent coming off screens and hitting the spot up shot, but he's not a ball handler, and doesn't rebound or assist much.  Butler is on one of his hot streaks right now, but he's so up and down I can't comfortably call this even.

PF: 75% of a Healthy LaMarcus Aldridge vs. David West
Advantage: Hornets
Okay – if LaMarcus was at full strength, this would probably swing to Portland, but he's not.  He's battling plantar fascitis and has already sat out the last three games, and is questionable for this one.  His replacement, Channing Frye, has the exact same type of game, but is about equal to 75% of LaMarcus.  Since Injured LaMarcus is also probably about 75% of Healthy LaMarcus, we can expect this position to be weaker than usual.  West is a little up and down recently, but he's been hitting the boards hard and will hopefully come due for a big game.

C: Joel Przybilla vs. Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
Like I said earlier, Tyson hates Joel.  I mean, he hates the dude.  But he's better than him, so if he can calm the frick down and stop getting tossed out of games, he should clean up this position for the Hornets. 

Yeah, everyone and their mom currently has a better bench than New Orleans.  Wright does all the little things, but can't hit a shot.  Bobby and Pargo do their usual shooting thing, but can't hit a shot, and Armstrong has managed two good games all season.  The Blazers, however, roll out a nice combo guard scorer in Jarrett Jack, a dynamic athlete with an effective shot in SF Travis Outlaw, an excellent marksman in SF James Jones, and a frantic pace changer in PG Sergio Rodriguez.  They even have a package of 6 fouls known as Raef LaFrentz when they need them.  It's a nice bench.

This one is tough.  I have a feeling the Blazers may beat us, but it should be a good game.  It kicks off 9:00 CST, so put the kiddies to bed, crack out the drinks and enjoy the game!

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