Game On: Hornets @ Clippers

Published: November 22, 2010

The Hornets get the Clippers again just 13 days after laying a beat down on them in New Orleans 101-82. Although the teams played only two weeks ago, they both will look a little different from the teams that took the court on that night. For the Clippers, Chris Kaman and Baron Davis will both be out due to injuries. Kaman’s injury, in fact, came in that Hornets victory and he has yet to play since. Davis, meanwhile, is out due to a knee problem (shocker!) and might miss another week. On the plus side, the Clippers will have dynamic shooting guard Eric Gordon and will be able to get super rookie Blake Griffin more touches.

Meanwhile the Hornets will welcome Jarrett Jack, David Anderson, and Marcus Banks to the team. Banks will likely be inactive and Anderson might not see any action, but Jarrett Jack will be welcomed with open arms, especially after the horrible play of Willie Green at the point last night. Now Green will be able to slide back over to his natural two guard position, and even play a little SF when both teams go small.

What the Hornets Have to do on Offense:

The Hornets backcourt ate the Clippers alive last time, going off for 58 points and 18 assists. CP3 controlled the pace of the game early and ran circles around rookie Eric Bledsoe before handing the game off to Jerryd Bayless and Willie Green in the 4th quarter. CP3 played a season low 29 minutes on that night and Bayless had what will go down as his best game as a New Orleans Hornet with 15 points and 9 assists. Since Jack is a better player and Eric Gordon and Bledsoe simply do not have the defensive IQ to play with the Hornets savvy veterans, expect another game where the Hornets have a major advantage in the backcourt.

Up front the Hornets should have quite an advantage as well. Since Kaman’s injury, DeAndre Jordan has been getting the start at center and well traveled veteran Brian Cook has been getting the majority of the back-up minutes. When Jordan is in the game, look for Okafor to try to get him in foul trouble and when Cook is in, I expect them to pound the rock inside. David West was 3-11 in the last game, and Griffin’s energy and athleticism can give him problems. I expect Monty to get the ball to West early, however, to try to get the rook in foul trouble, as he does tend to go for a lot of pump fakes and pick up dumb fouls, which young guys are prone to do.

What the Hornets have to do on Defense:

44 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and some of the most disgusting dunks you will ever see- that’s what Blake Griffin did his last time out on the court. Granted, it was against the Knicks but it was impressive nonetheless. The Hornets strategy against Griffin will be twofold: trap him the second he puts the ball on the floor (as opposed to immediately because it is harder to adjust to for young guys) and try to get him into foul trouble on the other end so they don’t have to deal with him all night. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Okafor on him for a chunk of the game, especially when Cook is on the floor, but West is probably the better matchup because it allows Okafor to stay at the rim and neutralize Jordan’s one offensive strength.

Jack comes in at a perfect time, as Eric Gordon is the exact kind of player he was brought in to shutdown. While Belinelli will start off the game on him, I expect Jack to get him in spurts. Gordon is more athletic than he looks and can simply knock down shots if you leave him open. The Hornets left ‘Sual open a lot in the last game and he bricked a lot of wide open shots before getting hot for a few minutes in the third. The Hornets simply can not give Gordon the same shots they gave Butler two weeks ago.

Al- Farouq Aminu also gave New Orleans some problems that night, scoring a game high 20 points in the loss. Most of his buckets came in transition, although he did show some decent moves in the half court and a quality stroke from three. Ariza should take him more seriously this game and I expect Pondexter to go after him as well.

With all that being said, the key for the Hornets on defense tonight will be controlling the glass. Griffin, Jordan, and Craig Smith are all terrific offensive rebounders and the only way the Clippers can stay in this game is if they create extra possessions for themselves.. They shoot 44% on the year and only 31% from deep, so if the Hornets can hold them to one shot, they should win the game comfortably unless the Clips just have one of those miracle games or the Hornets can’t find the basket for the second night in a row.

Vegas Zone

Surprisingly the Hornets are only 5.5 point favorites tonight despite the game being a matchup of the best record in the league vs. the worst record in the league. Several factors have to go into this, including: Hornets being on a back-to-back, the Hornets awful play last night, and Griffin’s breakout game Saturday night.

Over/under is 195.5, which might seem a little high until you take into consideration that before last night the Hornets defense has looked a little suspect against Cleveland and Dallas. 99% of people betting the game straight up are taking the Hornets, while 84% of people betting with the spread as a factor are taking the Hornets and giving 5.5 points. 68% are taking the under. Meaning, that Vegas stands to make a lot of money if the Clippers win this game in a shoot out.

Not likely, though. I will take the under and the Hornets giving up 5.5 points. Final score: Hornets 96 Clippers 83.

NBA 2K11 Sim

I did not record or post the results of the simulation out of protest for the absurd result. That game still does not give proper respect to this team and until they meet my demands, they will not get free promotion on this site.

You have 2 days until our next game 2K Sports. 2 DAYS!!

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