Time to Nick one From the Knicks

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Published: March 27, 2009

Matchup: Hornets(44-26) @ Knicks(28-43)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 106.5(11th), Knicks 105.4(15th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 103.3(7th), Knicks 108.9(26th)

The Knicks are a quick-moving outfit, ranking second in the league at pace factor.  They are also currently riding a six game losing streak that includes losses to cellar dwellars Sacramento and the Clippers.  It looks like the Hornets should be able to walk into New York, smack them in their own house, and walk back out again – but to think that way would be a mistake.

The Knicks are not a good team, but they always play hard.  D’Antoni doesn’t play layabouts, and if the Hornets take them lightly, they’ll find themselves in a dogfight, much like they did earlier this season when they lost to the Knicks in New Orleans.

On the plus side – Chris Paul likes to play in the Garden, and I doubt he – or Byron Scott – have forgotten the earlier defeat.  I have a feeling the Hornets will come out ready in this one.

Injuries:

Hornets: Peja and Tyson are still hurting, and Peja still has shooting pains.  I don’t expect to see them.
Knicks:  None

Positional Analysis

PG: Chris Duhon v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Duhon’s numbers(12 and 7) are benefitting from the D’Antoni system, and he’s having his most efficient scoring year ever.  Recently, however, he’s been regressing a bit and not shooting or assisting anywhere as well as he did during the rest of the season – though that could also be a reflection of how most of his teammates have become more interested in isolation scoring as the season has worn on.  Since the game is in Madison Square Garden, I’m not sure how Paul will act.  He may come out aggressive from the start – or do what he usually does against inferior teams and coast through the first two quarters and explode in the third.  I’m leaning towards him doing his usual thing though.

SG: Quentin Richardson v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Hornets
Quentin is a bit overweight, so while he can still take players into the post and hit the three, he isn’t doing either very effectively anymore.  Rasual should be able to outrun Quentin with little difficulty.  Expect him to get free off of curls pretty easily in this game.

SF: Wilson Chandler v Julian Wright
Advantage: Even
Earlier this season I said Wilson was weak and he had a big game.  I still think he’s weak.  1.11 points per shot – pretty low rebounding numbers, weak passing stats.  He scores 14 a game, but takes 12.5.  That’s not good.  Both of these players provide better defense than offense, but Julian’s all-around game ties this spot for me.

PF: Al Harrington v David West
Advantage: Hornets
Al Harrington is a small forward.  He’s got a lot of scoring weapons, and will put up numbers, but he’s not terribly efficient, particularly for a leading scorer.  He’s also a complete blackhole.  For a guy who likes to play on the perimeter 1.3 assists per game isn’t going to cut it.  West should be able to dominate here, but each game lately has reinforced the idea that he’s wearing down.  Let’s hope he finds a second wind.

C: David Lee v Hilton Armstrong
Advantage: Knicks
Hilton has an offensive game, I’ll give him that.  If he could ever figure out how to rebound and not foul, he’d be a nice backup.  David Lee rebounds extremely well.  He also finishes on the pick and roll with flair and draws a nice number of fouls.  Hilton is going to have a tough time keeping him from putbacks and layups.

Bench
Advantage: Hornets
Nate Robinson, Larry Hughes, Jared Jeffries and Chris Wilcox get the bench minutes for the Knicks.  Nate is a good scoring sixth man, and his three point shot is coming back, making him dangerous.  He almost makes up for playing next to Larry Hughes, but that’s tough to do.  Hughes really sucks.  Jeffries is a hustle defender with limited offensive skills, and Chris Wilcox is still trying to fit in and of limited usefulness.  It’s not a strong bench. The Hornets Daniels, Peterson, Posey, Bowen and Marks have been playing pretty solid basketball when they aren’t turning it over, and should be able to hold their own.

 

Enjoy the game.  Niall is in New York watching it, so keep an eye out for a skinny Irishman sporting Hornets gear.

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