Game On: Nuggets @ Hornets

Published: October 29, 2010

The Hornets look to get out to a 2-0 start this season as they host the Denver Nuggets tonight in a game that will feature stars Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Since “The Decision” and the rumored Big Apple toast at Carmelo Anthony’s wedding, both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have been the subject of trade rumors in what has seemed to be a non-stop media swarm.

Just yesterday, in fact, Carmelo was quoted as saying that it is time for a change, and you have to wonder how this will effect team chemistry in Denver. It didn’t seem to effect them too much in their opening night victory over the Utah Jazz, as the Nuggets put a 110-88 hurting on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Carmelo Anthony lead all scorers in that game with 23 points.

Meanwhile, Chris Paul has said all the right things so far this season and while it is doubtful that Melo finishes the year as a Nugget, it is much more likely that CP3 finishes the season here in New Orleans. On Opening Night Chris Paul looked to get all of his teammates involved in the Hornets 95-91 victory over the Bucks, as he notched 16 assists in the first three quarters, before becoming more of a scorer in the 4th.

On the schedule this game just looks like the 2nd of 82, but for the Hornets it is much more than that, as the playoff loss from 2009 still stings. The Hornets were embarrassed by the Nuggets and Chris Paul and David West have not forgotten the message Denver sent in that series. For those two, and the team as a whole, this game will be a great early season measuring stick for the team to see where they are currently.

On the injury front, Denver will be without their prize offseason acquisition Al Harrington, and could be without Ty Lawson, who went down hard in the Utah game Wednesday night. The Hornets are fine on the injury front, as Jerryd Bayless will be okay to play after suffering a minor injury as a result of a vicious screen from Drew Gooden Wednesday night. As was the case last game, Q-Pon, Aaron Gray, and Joe Alexander are expected to be inactive tonight.

The Hornets were 1-3 against the Nuggets last season, winning the first game in the season series and losing the final three. In the game that the Hornets won, CP3 was superb as he finished with 30 points, 19 assists, and 9 rebounds- falling just shy of the ultra-rare 30,20, and 10 triple double. In the three losses, the Hornets surrendered nearly 104 PPG to Denver and were dominated on the glass. For the Hornets to win tonight, they will need big contributions from West, Okafor, and at least one of their bench bigs in the paint and on the glass.

Vegas has the Hornets as 1 point favorites in this game, although that is down from the opening line of minus 2. 64% of all bets placed on this game have been on Denver, either plus the points or straight up to win. That means that most gamblers still don’t see the Hornets as a legitimate playoff contender and think Denver will win this game tonight. The over/under for the game is at 207.5 and 73% have taken the over- so many expect a high scoring affair, even though the last time these two teams played only 173 points were scored.

Can’t wait for the game tonight? Well then check out the NBA 2K11 simulation of this game. Keep in mind, however, that the sim was way off for the Bucks game, so it isn’t exactly Paul the Octopus (may he rest in peace).

Joe will be checking in and adding to this post with Monty Williams pre-game comments, so be sure to check back in. Also, at 5 CST Joe and I will be over on the Daily Dime at taking questions, so be sure to head over there and represent Hornets fans well!

Notes from Monty’s pregame interview

Monty Williams was again being very critical of himself, citing missing David West’s 4th foul last game as a prime example. He mentioned that he wants to have either Chris or David on the floor at all times, for leadership, and that he was trying to make better substitutions. It’s clear that he’s taking a long look at himself, the things he’s done wrong in the past, and that he’s working toward being a better coach.

On the three guard lineup that was seen last game- I asked if it was something we will see in the future or if it was more based on specific match ups. He said that it was based on matchups that game, but that he has so many guards it’s hard to find time for them. He hinted that in the future there might be games in which one of them might just have to sit. Hard to think that he was referring to anyone except Marcus, but again, he didn’t say that.

Other notes from the arena

  • The Hornets last won their first two games in 2008-2009.
  • Paul’s 16 assists in the season opener set a franchise record for most assists in an opening game.The previous record (14) was set by Mugsy Bogues in 1992.


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