Game Preview: Jazz @ Hornets

There isn't a player on Jazz that I don't like – except for maybe Harpring(untalented and uses aggression bordering on thugery to make up for it) and Okur(don't like his playing style), but they aren't like the Nuggets, who have two players in Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony that I despise.(I watched both of their losses to Sacramento and Seattle and giggled my head off)

I love the clever play of Ronnie Brewer.  I still have residual fondness for Andrei Kirilenko when he helped my fantasy team a ton a few years ago.  Paul Millsap is an incredible story and everything I'd want in a backup – or even starting – big.  Deron Williams is a joy to watch.  Boozer, if not exciting, is easily appreciated for all the things he does.  Their offense is amazing.

Now, with all that said, I hope we beat the living hell out of the Jazz, meet them in the playoffs and then send their team home.  Just so I can read the comments on a CP3 for MVP article and not see half of them be Jazz fans whining about Deron Williams.

Game Preview
Matchup: Jazz(51-26) @ Hornets(54-22)
Off Efficiency: Jazz 111.2(1st), Hornets 109.2(4th)
Def Efficiency: Jazz 104.1(12th), Hornets 102.9(6th)
Blogger: My Utah Jazz

On the negative side, The Jazz are one of the few teams in the league with a better differential than the Hornets, scoring 7.1 more points per 100 posessions than they give up.  The Hornets score 6.3 more points than they give up.  Over the course of a season that's a pretty significant difference.   The Jazz have crushed the Hornets twice this year by big margins.

On the positive side, the strength of schedule for the Jazz(win percentage of the teams they have played against all year) is only .495, while the Hornets opponents have a winning percentage of .510.  That's not really enough to make up the difference, but it does make the difference only one made free throw over the course of a game.  The Jazz have won 7 of 10.  Hornets 9 of 10.  The game is in New Orleans and the Jazz have a weak 16-22 road record and were beaten by 12 in the last meeting, which was in New Orleans.

Put those negatives and postives together and what do you get?

These teams are really well matched.  Tonight is going to be a throwdown.

Injures: Ronnie Brewer has been day to day, but they hope he'll play tonight.  The Hornets have no significant injuries.

Positional Analysis
PG: Deron Williams v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
No one puts CP3 in the corner.

SG: Ronnie Brewer v Morris Peterson
Advantage: Jazz
Ronnie Brewer is a clever, athletic player who fits into the Jazz Offense beautifully.  His baseline cuts are second to none, and I guarantee that if he plays we'll see at least one sneaky layup from behind the basket where he catches the entire Hornets defense by surprise.  Morris Peterson fits into the Hornets offense pretty well too – but he has a much smaller impact overall.  Brewer also plays the passing lanes with skill.

SF: Andrei Kirilenko v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Even
Andrei's defense isn't actually the type that will bother Peja much, but his help defense will harass the rest of the team pretty effectively.  His all-around game is also pretty solid, with good passing and rebounding instincts.  Peja will get his and probably out produce his opponent, but plan on seeing Kirilenko have at least a few great plays on the defensive end. 

PF: Carlos Boozer v Sir Fluffy
Advantage: Even
Boozer actually has fewer offensive weapons in the post than David West does, but he has honed those weapons to a razor sharp edge.  West is more versatile, but has to find an effective weapon before unleashing it.  Boozer is a better rebounder, West is a better defender.  Both have an absolutely deadly 17-18 foot jumpshot.  Great battle.

C: Mehmet Okur v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
Okur is only good when his three point shot is on.  If it is, he's deadly.  If it isn't, he's useless despite having a surprisingly effective post game that he doesn't like to use.  Tyson always plays the same way – full of effective energy, but he'll be uncomfortable going out to the 3-point line to defend Okur.  Still, I'd rather have Chandler.

Advantage: Jazz
The Jazz bench has been narrowed to four players:

  • Paul Millsap, a rebounding, dunking fiend who is near impossible to keep off the glass
  • Matt Harpring, a limited player with a nice midrange jumpshot who likes to push, shove, throw elbows and then flail around afterwards like he hadn't instigated it
  • Kyle Korver, a dead-eye ranged shooter who can do little else, but does that one thing very, very well.
  • CJ Miles a young slasher with a dangerous outside stroke.

The Hornets bench has also been narrowed to four players:

  • Jannero Pargo – a streaky shooter with waterbug quickness and decent defensive ability.
  • Bonzi Wells – a powerful guard good at muscling his way to easy buckets and steals.  Also has a nice midrange fadeaway.
  • Julian Wright – freakish giraffe calf who disrupts the defense, has a developing offensive game and generally makes you feel exhausted watching him.
  • Chriltvin Elderstrong – A random big man selected from Melvin Ely, Chris Andersen and Hilton Armstrong.  None are particularly effective.  Right now it seems to be Hilton's turn.  He's a decent rebounder, a terrible finisher, a good shot blocker, and a foul machine.

Hornets by 4. Enjoy the game.

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