Let’s Try Not to be Mauled Again

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Published: December 10, 2008

Matchup: Bobcats(7-14) @ Hornets(11-6)

Off Efficiency: Bobcats 99.1(26th), Hornets 108.0(4th)
Def Efficiency: Bobcats 103.1(12th), Hornets 103.3(14th)

Earlier in the season, the Hornets came in against the Bobcats 3-1, played sloppy and cocky in Charlotte, and managed to lose by 3.

Tonight the Hornets get a chance to avenge their loss in New Orleans, and the game is fairly important as the Hornets launch a three game road trip right afterwards, starting in Boston.  It would be nice to have some momentum going in against a team that gets up for the good teams and takes pleasure in trying to crush them.

Over the last five, the Bobcats haven’t been playing that well, having won squeakers in Oklahoma City and Minnesota while losing to Miami, Milwaukee and streaking Cleveland.  The Bobcats are also only 1-6 on the road so far this season.

Of course, all that may add up to us taking them lightly again.  I hope not.

Injuries

Bobcats: Wallace missed Monday’s game to go home for his grandmother’s funeral.  I don’t know if he’ll be back for this one.  I’m assuming so.
Hornets: Only Julian’s pride.

Positional Analysis

PG: Ray Felton v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Felton and DJ Augustin have been swapping back and forth as the starting point guard.  Felton is a better playmaker and defender, but DJ is a much better scorer – and shooter.  Felton used to get up for games against Chris Paul, but the last couple years, Paul’s gotten so good it hasn’t mattered.

SG: Jason Richardson v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Bobcats
Jason Richardson, the former slam-dunk champion, is now floor bound and almost exclusively a jumpshooter.  Of course, his jumpshooting is excellent, making 45% from three on 4 tries per game.  His all around game has never developed, and he’s a bit slow defensively now, but he should still out produce Butler by a fair amount.  By the way, I’m loving Butler’s defense.  I really am.

SF: Gerald Wallace v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Even
Speaking of all around games, Wallace is a stat stuffer, with averages of 15 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block each game.  Peja is one dimensional, but he’s been scrapping and hitting his shots at a high rate.  I expect each to have significant impacts on the game.

PF: Sean May v David West
Advantage: Hornets
May is large and out of shape.  West is not.  May gets injured a lot because he is large and out of shape.  West does not.  May struggles to play half a game because he’s large and out of shape.  West plays many minutes and is not. I’ll go with West here.

C: Emeka Okafor v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Bobcats
Inexplicably, Emaka Okafor was getting barely 7 shots a game in the month of November.  Okafor will never be confused with a great post scorer, but he has  always been good around the basket.  As December arrived it seems that coach Larry Brown has smacked his shot happy perimeter players around a little and told them to get the ball in the post.  As a result, Okafor is now getting 11.2 attempts per game, is hitting them at 68%, and is making twice as many free throws per game.  Unsurprisingly, his numbers are up, with him averaging a very nice 19 and 10 for December.  Right now, that’s a lot more than Tyson’s giving us.

Bench
Advantage: Bobcats
Until further notice, the Hornets bench will not have an advantage.  They suck.  As for the Bobcats, Adam Morrison is actually approaching usable as a shooter, particularly from three point range,  DJ Augustin will provide a nice scoring punch off the bench, and Jared Dudley is a scrappy forward who will fight hard and score a little around the basket.  Not much to say about the rest of the team.

Enjoy the game.

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