Time to ‘Swim Down’ Against the Nets

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Published: January 21, 2009

Okay, who got the Finding Nemo reference in the title?  Let me guess, you have kids too.

Matchup: Nets(19-22) @ Hornets(25-13)

Off Efficiency: Nets 104.8(14th), Hornets 106.9(7th)
Def Efficiency: Nets 108.1(27th), Hornets 103.3(11th)

The Nets come calling on New Orleans at the best possible time for them.  I’m tempted to call them a donut team – I.E. they have a hole in the middle – but I don’t think that’s entirely fair.  They are more like a cream-filled donut, soft and light-weight in the middle.  Oh, and that’s a whipped-cream-filled donut, not a thick, delicious Dunkin’ Donut Boston Kreme.  Mmm . . . Doooonuuuuts . . .

Ahem.  Anyways, it’s a good time for them to visit because the Hornets will miss  West and Chandler for the game, and the Nets will actually face a team that has a weaker front court than them.  That rarely happens, and we’ll see if they can take advantage and break a three-game losing streak.

The Hornets are coming off wins in Detroit and at home to Indiana, but they are banged up and have all the reasons in the world to let this one get away from them.  For some reason, I think we may see one of the best efforts of the season as a result.  These guys are perverse like that.

As a side note, the Nets roll into the town sporting two players that the Hornets had strongly considered taking in the draft this summer.(or at least, I had considered it for them)  Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ryan Anderson have both had limited playing time and even more limited success in their time on the court.  Anderson is starting with Yi’s injury, firing up shots at 37%, and Douglas-Roberts is only getting spot duty while hitting at 27% himself.  There were some pretty upset people when we didn’t take Douglas-Roberts in the draft – but I think it goes without saying that CDR wouldn’t be playing for us, and if he was, 27% shooting wasn’t going to help us much.  Just goes to show – everyone looks like a potential star in July.

Injuries

Nets: Yi Jianlin is out after surgery on his finger.
Hornets: Fluffy out with backspasms, Chandler out with a bad ankle.  No word on Armstrong’s condition, but I assume he’ll play.

Positional Analysis

PG: Devin Harris v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets

Devin Harris is scoring 22 points a game, but it’s not some sudden improvement in his shooting efficiency that has catapulted him from a good starter/sixth man to a first option offensive player.  No, Harris is actually shooting significantly worse this season than he did in his last year in Dallas, the secret to Devin’s success has been figuring out ways to get to the line, earning no less than 9.2 freebies per game.  To give you an idea of how good that is, Chris Paul draws the second most foul shots of any point guard in the league this year – and he’s only getting 6.9 per game.  In fact, Harris only draws less foul shots than the Human Pinball Dwayne Wade(9.9) and Dwight Howard.(10.6)  The guy is deadly in penetration – and without Tyson and West in the middle, he will probably end up giving the Hornets fits.  Of course, that’s only fair, since Paul will be taking his turn ripping up the Nets all night.

SG: Vince Carter v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Nets
Settling into his role of secondary scorer behind Devin Harris, Carter is playing pretty well.  His rebounding and assists numbers are a little down, but his shooting is a deadly as ever – and he has a history of giving the Hornets problems.  We’ll see how Phoenix Butler handles him.  The best way to get Vince off his game is to smack him around a little – and Rasual isn’t really that sort of player, so it’ll be interesting.  Interesting fun fact:  Rasual Butler is the 18th best three point shooter this year, and sixth best amongst shooting guards.  What a comeback year.

SF: Bobby Simmons v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Hornets
Bobby Simmons has been playing fairly well recently, but even at his best he was never more than an average small forward.  Unsurprisingly, when the Hornets choose to feature Peja, letting him get going with a myriad of looks, he produces.  I’m hoping all these injuries remind Byron that if he uses Peja as more than just a three-point shooter, the big Serbian is much more effective overall.

PF: Ryan Anderson v Sean . . . Sean . . . *sob*
Advantage: Nets
My only consolation is that Ryan Anderson is only shooting 37% from the field, and 34% from deep.  Of course, Sean Marks is shooting 33% and 28% . . .

C: Brook Lopez v Hilton Armstrong
Advantage: Nets
Lopez has had some pretty strong games as a Net, but he has trouble finishing strong at the rim and drawing fouls, only earning two freebies a game.  Most of his scoring comes off dump off passes in the lane off of drives by Carter and Harris.  Lopez’s biggest strength is as a rebounder, where he’s grabbing a solid 16.5% of all rebounds, much better than what Hilton offers.  If Hilton plays, I expect Byron to have Hilton try and display his improving post game against Lopez.  I have no idea what the result will be.  If Hilton doesn’t play, we’ll probably start Ely, and somewhere an Angel will lose its wings.

Bench

Advantage: Even
The Nets bench is pretty awful, with Jarvis Hayes, Eduardo Najera and Keyon Dooling providing most of the relief minutes.  Dooling is a capable backup guard, but Hayes is a limited scorer, and Najera at this point in his career is a very limited big man.  Of course, the Hornets won’t really have any bigs, but Posey, Daniels and some combination of Morris Peterson/Julian Wright will probably play, and they should be able to produce some.

Hey – I was wondering – is anyone else getting kinda tired of Posey’s propensity for stupid, stupid fouls?  Especially when he’s not playing well?

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