Game Preview Times Two! Hey . . . that Rhymed!

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Published: January 25, 2008

I've got a lot to do tomorrow, and I doubt I'll have time to generate a game preview in the morning for the San Antonio Spurs.  So today, I'm going to generate a double game preview covering both games.  I'm crazy like that. Here we go!

Matchups: Clippers(13-25) @ Hornets(29-12) @ Spurs(28-13)
Offense: Clips 97.5(29th), Hornets 106.5(10th), Bastards 106.6(9th)
Defense: Clips 102.0(9th), Hornets 100.0(3rd), Wankers 100.2(4th)
Foolish non-Hornets lovin' Bloggers: Clipsnation, Clipperblog, Spur of the Moment

The Clippers sail into New Orleans still trying to stay afloat until Elton Brand comes back aboard.  They've been taking on water like mad, but they're still bailing gamely, managing to force every other opponent they've fought over the last six engagements to lower their colors.(Enough nautical terms yet?) 

The Clips are a scrappy defensive team with an absolutely awful offense, despite having Chris Kaman, an efficient post scorer and Corey Magette, a skilled slasher.  Still, Mobley is a decent shooter, Cassell is too, and rookie Al Thornton is improving quickly.  So – how are they so bad offensively?  Starting SG Quinton Ross is bad.  Tim Thomas is bad, and their bench bombs away at an awful 37%.  They shoot the three poorly, and they have bad turnover problems.

After attempting to sink those Clippers – which they SHOULD do – the Hornets will take flight to San Antonio, where they get to play the highly irritating defending champions.  The Spurs have been a nightmare for the Hornets recently.  Well, actually they've been a nightmare for everyone, but the Hornets have been seemed particularly unable to slow that Spur execution.  At least now we have a team that should match up well; the efficiencies of the two teams are almost identical.

The Spurs have also looked mortal recently, going 6-4 in their last ten, and barely beating Miami last night by 1.  That said, they have won 4 of 6, and the two losses were by a combined 4 points.  They'll be tough.  Like the Portland game, we need to throw quick doubles at Duncan, and then rotate and close on their shooters.  Mo Pete is also going to have to track Ginobili like he did Roy – though he'll have to be careful about bumping the sneaky Argentine.  Just a tap will send the poor guy flailing to the ground and make whistles toot.

Injuries:
Other than Brand, who has been out all year, the Clippers seem to be healthy.
The Hornest will be missing the services of Bobby Jackson – probably for both games.
San Antonio has no significant injuries right now.

Positional Analysis
PG:
Sam Cassell vs. Chris Paul vs. Tony Parker
Advantage: Hornets over Spurs over Clips
Last game, Tony Parker's speed gave the Hornets fits as he knocked down more than his fare share of ridiculous layups.  Really – he hit every one, no matter how bad a shot.  'Twas crazy.  But overall, Parker's total floor game isn't as good as Paul's, and despite the fawning worship showered on him last season for improving his shot, he's only hitting at 25% from deep this year. Cassell is just too old and broken down to compare to either.  He may be the most savvy of all three – but that's because he has to be in order to keep playing.

SG: Quinton Ross vs. Morris Peterson vs. Michael Finley
Advantage: Hornets over Spurs over Clips
There are similarities between all these guys.  All are focused defenders.  All are fourth or lower offensive options options for their team.  Finley and Peterson are even shooting close to the same percentages.  Still, Peterson's defense is better than Finley's, and Quinton Ross may be the most inept offensive starter in the league.  I'd take Mo-Pete over either of the other two.

SF: Corey Magette vs. Peja Stojakovic vs. Bruce Bowen
Advantage: Clips over Even
Corey is the most accomplished scorer of the bunch, even if he's a turnover machine.  His defense can be good if he's focused, and he draws fouls at a tremendous rate.  I'm a little worried about Peja being taken out of his game by Bowen's defense, but there's at least one good part to this matchup.  Despite his ability to harass players out of their game, Bowen is almost to the point of being too much of an offensive liability to have on the floor.  Hopefully that helps – and if Peja plays hard, we'll win this position handily.

PF: Tim Thomas vs. Da Fluffster vs. Tim Duncan
Advantage: Obvious(Spurs over Hornets over Clips)
David West is having a great season, but Tim Duncan is exactly the type of player he has the hardest time playing against – long and able to move his feet.  West can take anyone his own size, and anyone bigger and slower – but if they are bigger and just as fast, he has trouble.  Hopefully, he'll figure out how to beat that sort of player soon.  Duncan is a machine – and Tyson will probably check him defensively.  Byron likes to leave Tyson alone defending players like Yao and Tim and rely on him to contain them enough that they don't kill us.  He's not managed to handle Tim yet – and I hope we'll see some double teams every once in a while to keep Timmy off balance.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot the other Tim – Tim Thomas is a soft, three-point shooting and otherwise useless pile of crap.

C: Chris Kaman vs. Tyson Chandler vs. Fabricio Oberto
Advantage: Hornets over Clips over Spurs
Kaman is a good scorer and rebounder – but mediocre on defense and somewhat slow.  Fabricio is a crafty bastard who always seems to be right where your team doesn't want him.  Tyson is fast, an effective defender, incredible offensive rebounder, and enough of a lob threat just standing around the basket he's dangerous.

Bench
Advantage: Spurs over Hornets over Clips
The Clips bench is awful.  They shoot terribly, don't rebound, and defend poorly.  Only the declining Cat Mobley and developing Al Thornton(has improved every month this season) are worth anything on this squad's second unit. 

The Hornets bench is too streaky.  They always defend and rebound, but swing wildly between awful and good when shooting the ball. 

The Spurs roll out the unstoppable Manu "the Flail" Ginobili, dead-eye shooter Brent Barry, Ime "Bowen 2.0" Udoka, and serviceable back up bigs Elson and Bonner.  That's quite a bench.

Hornets beat Clippers 98-84.
Hornets beat San Antonio 88-84.

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