Hornets @ 76ers

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Published: March 2, 2009

Another team I can’t come up with a good pun for.  I even tried to use my kid’s joke “Why was 6 scared of 7?  Because 7 8(ate) 9.  Ha ha ha ha . . . ha . . . ”  Yeah, maybe I should just give up the ‘clever’ titles.

Matchup: Hornets(36-22) @ 76ers(29-29)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 106.7(8th), 76ers 103.0(23rd)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 103.5(10th), 76ers 102.7(7th)

The 76ers FG% is 15th out of 30 teams.  Their FG% defense is 15th out of 30 teams.  Take away layups and dunks and they are terrible shooters, though they compensate by being excellent defenders.  They have abysmal three point shooting(last) and free throw shooting(27th), but also sport the 5th best rebounding in the game, and are the 3rd best at forcing turnovers.  The net result?  An average team.

Their overall record is average, and the difference between the points they give up and the points they score is a mere .3 points per game to the positive side of the ledger.  They’ve gone 5-5 over their last ten games.

If the Hornets minimize their own turnovers, fight on the boards like they have been over the last few games, and simply knock down their open looks, the 76ers are the least likely team in the league to suddenly go red-hot from the perimeter and come roaring back like Sacramento, New Jersey and Milwaukee have done to us the past few games.

I have a good feeling about this game.

Injuries:

Hornets: None
76ers: None

Positional Analysis

PG: Andre Miller v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
I’ve loved Andre Miller since his years leading the league in assists in Cleveland when he and Garnett propelled me to my one and only Fantasy League championship.  Miller has never shown tremendous range on his shot, but he is still a highly efficient player, earning 1.3 points per shot on a combination of clever penetration and elbow pull-up shots.  He’s a decent rebounder, and though his assists numbers are low, he’s great on the break and rarely makes ball-handling errors.  Chris Paul, however, is pretty much better at everything Miller does.  That is, he’s better if his aching groin gets enough attention from the trainers . . . well let’s just stop there.

SG: Willie Green v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Hornets
Willie Green is below average at pretty much everything for a shooting guard.  I have yet to figure out why he gets 22 minutes a game.  The Phoenix has been pretty hard to keep down these past couple weeks, so I expect Rasual to win this battle handily – though I expect there to be some cross-matching of Butler onto Igoudala.

SF: Andre Igoudala v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: 76ers
Andre is a skilled slasher, poor shooter, and energetic and athletic defender.  Peja is a skilled shooter, poor slasher and intelligent but slow defender.  Essentially, I have a feeling that each of these guys will get the shots they want – it’s about who finishes, and Andre is a lot more consistent at this point.

PF: Thaddeus Young v David West
Advantage: Hornets
Thaddeus Young is a small forward – and a good one at that.  Young is the best shooting of all the 76ers wings and guards, and has a slick hook shot when he catches the ball in the low post.  His offensive rebounding is good, and his defense is improving – and I expect him to make entry passes to David West harder than we’d like.  Regardless, he doesn’t have the strength to keep West from the basket, so the battle will end one of two ways – with all the athletic wings attacking West’s dribble and turning him over – or with West scoring at will.  Probably we’ll see both of those things.

C: Samuel Dalembert v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
With Tyson’s resurgence, Samuel Dalembert is essentially Tyson Chandler Lite.  He blocks more shots, but is worse at pretty much everything else.

Bench
Advantage: 76ers
Theo Ratliff, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Lou Williams and Marreese Speights make up a very nice group.  Since the Hornets aren’t a big team, I don’t expect to see Ratliff play against them, but Evans and Speights are both very good rebounders, and Lou Williams, despite poor shooting, does provide some instant offense like Jannero Pargo used to do.  Ivey is simply a ball handler and defender, and won’t impact much.  The offensive punch of Williams, combined with Speights and Evans control of the boards and the fact that usually either Igoudala or Young are left on the wings with the second unit in, makes this a pretty solid group.  Especially when compared to what the Hornets have.  Bleh.

Enjoy the game.  Our guys should stretch the winning streak to 5 tonight.

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