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Time to Slay Some Warriors

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Published: October 29, 2008

Matchup: Warriors v Hornets

Def Efficiency: Nothin’ Yet
Off Efficiency: Nothin’ Yet
Relevant Bloggers: Golden State of Mind

The Hornets open up tonight on the Golden State Warriors, something that has me gurgling with happiness.  I’ll be honest, this matchup has lost a lot of the flavor it once had now that Baron Davis has gone elsewhere.  Now, they’re just another mediocre team on the schedule.

The Warriors picked up one high-volume wing scorer over the off-season and drafted another long, skinny forward, but lost Baron Davis in free agency, and Monta Ellis for three months to a vicious moped with big, biting teeth!  Regardless of the loss of Baron, this team’s offense will change little.  They will open fire with shots good and bad, run whenever they can, and generally play helter-skelter basketball.  Without Monta and Baron, their turnovers should be up, and with Maggette their free throws should be up.  Still, this is a team without a point guard, and with a center that the coach doesn’t trust despite being an efficient banger.

Injuries:

New Orleans – Julian Wright thinks he’ll play, Sean Marks won’t
Golden State – Monta Ellis is out, Corey Maggette has a sore Hamstring, and CJ Watson has injured his elbow and may be out.

Matchups

It’s near impossible for me to predict exactly how some of these matchups will end up.  As usual, Don Nelson has a bunch of interchangeable parts that are all similar, and several key players are hurt.  Here’s my best effort.

PG: Chris Paul v Stephen Jackson
Advantage: Hornets
With Monta Ellis out, CJ Watson injured, and Marcus Williams in Nellie’s doghouse, it appears that Stephen Jackson is the best option at the point for this team.  He’s got a good handle, but he’s a scoring wing through and through – and not a very efficient scoring wing either.  He’s not far from a 6’5″ Jannero Pargo, really.  Paul is going to eat him alive.

SG: Morris Peterson v DeMarcus Nelson
Advantage: Hornets
This is the spot I can’t predict at all.  Nellie has rolled out DeMarcus Nelson, Marco Bellineli, Stephen Jackson, and Corey Maggette at this spot.  However, it looks like DeMarcus Nelson, an undrafted rookie, may get the starting nod.  I don’t know jack about him, but Morris Peterson has to be able to outplay an undrafted rookie, right?  Oh – and I’m completely flabbergasted that Kelenna Azubuike doesn’t seem to be getting any minutes here.

SF: Peja Stojakovic v Corey Maggette
Advantage: Even
Maggette is a skilled scorer that relentlessly attacks the basket, drawing fouls at a very high rate.  His shot is pretty solid as well.  He’d have the advantage here, but he’s got a sore hamstring and may be fairly limited for the game.  Defensively, he’s not much, and he won’t give Peja any resistance on the perimeter to speak of.  Bombs away.

PF: David West v Al Harrington
Advantage: Hornets
I’m sorry, but Al is a small forward.  You can even look at him and see that, because he’s, well, kinda small for a forward.  But Nelson never seems to care about this sort of thing, so he plays power forward.  Al is not a good rebounder, and he loves him the three ball.  Essentially, he’s very similar to Tim Thomas or Rodney Rogers of yore.  His defense isn’t so bad, but all in all, he’s completely outmatched at this position.  David West will probably give up some open threes to him, but he’ll have a field day scoring at him in the post.

C: Tyson Chandler v Andris Biedrins
Advantage: Even
Tyson Chandler, meet your Latvian twin.  These guys are eerily similar, with both having near the same rebounding levels, the same usage rates, the same shooting percentage, etc.  Tyson plays more minutes because he fouls less and Nelson inexplicably doesn’t like his solid center, but Biedrins turns the ball over slightly less.  Every time these two match up, it’s pretty interesting.

Bench:
Advantage: Hornets
If the Warriors were healthy, this would be in their favor.  As it is, they have three really young forwards in banger Richard Hendrix(rookie), Brandan Wright(finesse), and Anthony Randolph.(athletic freak rookie)  They combine into a pretty good forward, but have to figure things out still.  Beyond that, they have nothing.  A poor point guard in Marcus Nelson and the most over-rated shooter in the world, Marco Bellinelli, who, if given enough times, would be the greatest bricklayer known to man.  Surprisingly enough, I’m fairly happy with our second unit of Armstrong-Posey-Butler-Brown-James.  They play solid defense and have a little more offensive punch than last year.  I just hope that Julian’s Wright injury during pre-season won’t keep him from getting time from Byron.

Enjoy the game, I know I will.

Hornets by 11.

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