The Cirque de Chaleur comes to New Orleans

By:
Published: November 5, 2010

Game Preview
Matchup:
Heat(4-1) @ Hornets(4-0)
Off Efficiency: Heat 109.1(3rd), Hornets 106.3(8th)
Def Efficiency: Heat 87.9(1st), Hornets 97.5(5th)

Yes, the Circus known as the Heat pays a visit tonight in New Orleans.  There’s a tremendous amount of interest in this team, and that fuels a veritable circus of coverage, which in turn ignites more interest, which fuels . . . etc. etc.

Well, there’s a reason for the coverage.  This team is good.  They have had the best defense in the league so far, and the third best offense.  That, however, should be taken with a grain of salt.  There have been only 5 games so far, and while their crushing of Orlando was very impressive, their other three wins came against patsies Minnesota, New Jersey and Philadelphia.

This is a winnable game.

To pull out the win tonight, the Hornets will have three keys to the game:

  1. Limit the fouling.  The Heat are the fifth best team at drawing free throws.  The Hornets can’t keep up with that, no matter what happens in Houston.  They’ll have to be judicious.
  2. Control the three point line.  The Heat have only had one bad game shooting from deep.  In all four other games, they’ve generated good, efficient shots from there.  The Hornets will have to rotate to the perimeter swiftly to limit this.
  3. Watch the turnovers.  The Heat has generated way more turnovers per game than they give up, taking an extra 4 possessions per game from their opponent.  The Hornets will need every possession to win, they can’t give them away.

Thanks to Dariusz Ejkiewicz for the great game-day banner!

Simulation

The NBA 2k11 simulation results in a  Hornets loss tonight 117-113.  Ariza will drop 26, West gets 25, and Paul scores 5 points with 12 assists.  Somehow, I’m skeptical we’ll see Ariza drop 26 points in a game this season.

Injuries:

Heat: Mike Miller is out.  LeBron has a bruised shin.  It doesn’t matter, because he’ll still play, but it was much reported on, so I figured I’d mention it.
Hornets: Marcus Thornton is probable (strained left achilles).

Positional Analysis

PG: Carlos Arroyo v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Arroyo has been playing well off the big Miami Trio, knocking down his open shots, and generally just bringing up the ball and getting out of the way.  Paul has been playing like a surgeon, cutting up the defense when necessary to pull out a win, while still putting up amazing, efficient stats.  Paul will need to keep that up to take this game.

SG: Dwyane Wade v Marco Belinelli
Advantage: Heat
If we didn’t need Paul to work so hard offensively, I’d almost rather see Paul taking Wade defensively.  Paul has a history of frustrating Wade and making him work for his shots, and they’ve had some epic battles.  I fully expect to see those two matched up during the closing minutes of the game.  As for Cookies, I hope he gets his shots, but I have a feeling Wade is going to treat him like a bumper in a pinball machine and get multiple and-ones.

SF: LeBron James v Trevor Ariza
Advantage: Heat
Ariza should handle James and his power game better than he handled Kevin Martin and his finesse.  Still, LeBron has a brilliant all-around game, and Ariza just doesn’t produce much offensively.

PF: Chris Bosh v David West
Advantage: Heat
I almost made this a tie.  Bosh has not fit in well with the Heat yet.  His rebounding has been mediocre, his scoring has been very, very inefficient for him, and he’s just not producing what you’d expect.  West’s offense has been better so far this year, but his rebounding has been even worse than Bosh’s, and Bosh’s defense has always been superior to his – so this is a minor advantage for the Heat right now.

C: Joel Anthony v Emeka Okafor
Advantage: Hornets
Anthony plays 20 minutes a game.  He’s just like Emeka Okafor, if Okafor didn’t rebound or score.  Yeah.  He’s that bad.

Bench
James Jones, Eddie House, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mario Chalmers
Marcus Thornton, Jason Smith, Willie Green, Jerryd Bayless, DJ Mbenga
Advantage: Heat
This is one of the great fallacies about the heat.  Their bench isn’t a weakness.  Jones and House provide pure, dead-eye shooters off the bench at the wing spots.  Haslem is a tough post defender and rebounder, who can score in a pinch.  Ilgauskas and Chalmers provide nice options as a fourth big man and a backup point guard.  This is a solid unit.  The Hornets have a nice guard rotation, but unless Jason Smith is playing better than expected, the frontline gives up a lot.

Enjoy the game!

____

Notes from the Arena

  • If the Hornets win, they will move to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history.
  • The Hornets have averaged just under 15 fast break points per game so far. Last year they averaged a hair over 15.
  • New Orleans has held it’s last four opponents to under 100 points. This is the first time since 12/30/09 – 1/8/10 that this has happened. Beefence, baby.
  • Chris Paul needs six free throws to set the Hornets all time franchise record.
  • At tip off, David West will pass Larry Johnson for the fourth most starts in franchise history.
  • Monty talked about Peja a little bit during the pre-game chat, saying that he doesn’t know when he will return to the active list. He mentioned potential injuries as a possible cause for his return.
  • He also said that Paul, who suffered a cramp late in the game Wednesday, is fine.
  • LeBron is going to start, and is apparently OK.

I (Joe) will be be over on the ESPN Daily Dime Chat throughout the game, so come on over and chime in.

128 comments
tyler
tyler

WOW did yall see that crossover. That man fell, and it was a bad call

scooter
scooter

meka was a beast tonight!

CarnbY
CarnbY

Hell yeah! Geaux Hornets! omfg, I knew they could do it, I was about to lose my mind before Ariza hit that three, haha. It's 3:44 am here, but I don't know how I'm supposed to go to sleep now, too pumped! And I can not wait to rub it in the face of all the idiots who were hating on the Hornets =)

berlin-hornets
berlin-hornets

Seems like we are in the same time zone. The game was worth every minute not sleeping. Awesome!!!

CarnbY
CarnbY

Ach so! Yeah, I'm in Norway. I think I've watched every game live so far. It's taken its toll, but now I'm worried that they'll lose if I miss a game, haha. I love the sign someone in the arena had that said "Our little 3 > your big 3"

Hornet
Hornet

HERE WE F*CKING GO F*CK YOU REFS YOU CAN'T TAKE THIS GAME FROM US. THIS IS OUR HOUSE. 5-0. SPEAR THE DEER TOMORROW.

JCS
JCS

"Remember remember the 5th of November."

42
42

They got him (Fawkes) for trying to kill the King. We whipped the butts of 3 of them. Apropos.

Nik
Nik

yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss greattttt winnnn bahaha i can already see the heat team imploding from within!! CP3 MVP OR JASON SMITH MVP both are equally impressive

winze
winze

streamed the game and wow great to watch, we blew a lead though but i guess you can't not expect a team with Wade/Lebron not to come back hard at you down the stretch, but we held on and that 3 from Ariza at the end was all moneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I love how the last few points didn't come from Paul either, shows the team doesn't need him to do it all even to close out a team like the Heat.

Bug Marley
Bug Marley

Hahaha! Hugs all around! I know it's just the fifth game for the Hornets but this one is pretty sweet. 5 and Oh! Hornets247 should throw a party or something.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I think I passed out! LOL!!! I think I fainted.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

i wake up and we've already won. I can't see the reaction on the Big 3's face :)) oh well as long as we win! GO HORNETS! 5 - 0 !! JUST KEEP ROLLING! WOOT

JCS
JCS

Monty you're a genius baby! Hornets win!! Let's geeeuuuxxx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

peronas
peronas

BEES WIN BEES WIN!!!!!!!!!!! 5-0 WOOOOOOOO!!!!!

peronas
peronas

ARIZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

peronas
peronas

Heat gameplan = give ball to lebron and let him run full steam ahead until he bumps into someone and gets to the line

42
42

Our missed shots were creating that, too. That nonsense stopped when we could get in our half-court set. They got everything they needed: a stop, a foul, dead clock points. Kudos. Good plan. Too bad their $45m in salary only bought them seats to the Okafor double-double feature.

QueenBee
QueenBee

This is some BULLSH*T!!!!

QueenBee
QueenBee

1 point game. Unbelievable.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Did we leave CP3 out too long this time? It's a 3 point game now. Dang!

JCS
JCS

This doesn't seem real Mr. Smith. Are we in the Matrix?

CarnbY
CarnbY

Amazing performance by Okafor and Smith! Green is playing great defense! Oh, and everyone debating who the best PG is better just stop and face reality, it's all about CP3!

QueenBee
QueenBee

Jason Smith with the hustle!!!

JCS
JCS

Leonard Nimoy where you at!? Jason Smith is makin' it rain from 19 feet bay bay!!

peronas
peronas

ooooh Thornton should have dumped that off

QueenBee
QueenBee

Jason Smith has a nice jumper.

peronas
peronas

Okafor cleaning up down low!

QueenBee
QueenBee

There ya go West. Find your rhythm man.

QueenBee
QueenBee

This 2nd half is going to be crazy.

peronas
peronas

Loving the easy buckets we're getting. Dunks, fast breaks, so nice

Schmide234
Schmide234

ooohhh man just got home and this is sick. we gonna make a statement

Hollis21
Hollis21

That last fast break was just beautiful. Plays like that make you feel good about team chemistry. What an effort thus far!

JCS
JCS

Has anyone ever shut down David West? I'm not saying he's a 1st team guy, but who in the NBA can stop him?

JCS
JCS

James Jones kaboom? Where is Gus Johnson when you need him. This sportcasters stink.

QueenBee
QueenBee

See? I said watch them damn role players. Good timeout Monty. If this were Byron Scott he'd let the Heat go on a 10-0 run before calling a timeout.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Guard Ilgauskas. He can still knock em down. He's slow as hell but he can knock em down.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Be careful with the ball Hornets. West back in. Jason gets an ovation. I almost don't want to take him out right now.

Nik
Nik

let me hear everyone... JASON SMITH JASON SMITH! MVP MVP!

berlin-hornets
berlin-hornets

The first quarter was worth the amission, but lets keep it up. The heat are way too dangerous to be taking lightly.

JCS
JCS

Whatshouldai du (LeBail James voice)

QueenBee
QueenBee

Nice 1st quarter. We can't get complacent though. Build on it Hornets. Build on it.