Time to Blot Out the Suns

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Published: October 30, 2008

Matchup: Hornets(1-0) @ Suns(1-0)

Efficiencies: Gonna skip these for a couple weeks.  Until we get a bigger sample size, these are meaningless.
Suns Blogger: Bright Side of the Sun

The Hornets fly into Pheonix today to take on the Suns in the desert.  Some of my favorite games last year were in the Desert, so I hope we get another one tonight.  Like the Hornets, the Suns knocked off an injured team last night, taking out the Fabricio Oberto-less Spurs.  Someone named Manu was out too, apparently.

I saw some of the game last night between the Suns and Spurs, and there is already one clear difference between the D’Antoni-coached Suns and the Porter-coached Suns.  D’Antoni only played 7 players.  Porter used five subs and gave four of them 14 minutes or more.  I’ve always thought D’Antoni’s refusal to rest his big guns was counter-productive, so that’s an interesting development.

Injuries:

Phoenix Suns: None
New Orleans Hornets: Julian Wright will probably sit out again, Sean Marks definitely will.

Positional Analysis:

Point Guard: Chris Paul v Steve Nash
Advantage: Hornets
This is the first time I’m comfortable with this assessment.  Watching Paul play against Nash the past couple years, it’s become apparent to me that Paul really gets up for games against the Suns point guard.  I think it’s healthy.  If you want to be the best, you have to take out the best, so I expect him to get after Nash.

Shooting Guard: Morris Peterson v Raja Bell
Advantage: Suns
Both are limited offensive players who bomb away freely from the corners at about the same rate.  I’d rate Raja’s defense higher than Morris Peterson’s though, so he’s got the edge.

Small Forward: Peja Stojakovic v Matt Barnes
Advantage: Hornets
Matt Barnes is an energy player who plays hard, can hit spot up shots, and defend energetically.  He’s probably more athletic than Raja, but altogether, they are about the same.  Any way you cut it, Peja’s defense is not going to be stretched by Matt, and his offense is infinitely better.

Power Forward: David West v Amare Stoudamire
Advantage: Suns
Last year against the Suns, the Hornets tried to marginalize Amare Stoudemire – allowing the rest of the Suns open shots and trying to keep Amare uninvolved in the offense – and in accordance with his nature – uninvolved defensively too.  It resulted in Amare scoring 16, 17, 26(2OT) and finally lost it in the final game of the season when they gave up 32.  The Suns are at their most dangerous when Amare is involved, because he is a highly efficient scorer capable of getting 30 points on only 20 shots without much difficulty.  Fluffy has never had much trouble scoring against Amare, but Amare really is in another class offensively.

Center: Tyson Chandler v The Big Cactus
Advantage: Hornets
Tyson and Shaq are going to have a battle in the middle.  It’s speed vs strength, power vs. finesse.  Tyson should have the advantage offensively with his greater mobility, and despite Shaq’s greater bulk, he should be able to out-rebound him due to Shaq’s current floorbound nature.

Bench
Advantage: Suns
This is a bit of a shock, really.  For years the Suns have been known for a weak bench, but can roll out three players who could start on a lot of teams: Boris Diaw, Grant Hill, and Leandro Barbosa.  Rookie’s Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic are both prospects worth finding out if they can play.(like Armstrong)  The Hornets bench is still a work in progress, but I don’t think it can match the Suns second unit, even with the James “The Phantom” Posey.

I hope tonight is another good one – though I would prefer if the Hornets pulled away a little sooner than with only 29 seconds left.  Enjoy!

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