Game On: Hornets @ Trailblazers

Published: November 26, 2010

Matchup: Hornets(11-3) @ Trailblazers(8-6)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 103.7(16th), Trailblazers 105.2(12th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 98.5(4th), Trailblazers 103.8(15th)

Thanks to the amazing Dariusz Ejkiewicz for the Game Day Banner.

As the Hornet’s offense continues to choke and sputter on bad shooting from deep and an over-reliance on isolations, the New Orleans defense continues to chug along, keeping them in games in ugly fashion.  Still, the offensive woes have been a major concern.  Over the last week, the team has been so poor at generating points that it’s offensive efficiency has fallen 8 spots.  Of course, that means they’ve been sucking hard to pull so high a number so low so quickly.  To make it even more worrisome, the average defensive ranking of those three teams is 21.  World beater defensive teams they weren’t.

Making shots should clear all ills.  Over the last three games the Hornets are 27% from deep and barely 41% from the floor as they do their best Imperial Stormtrooper impression.    They are getting the free throws, they are keeping down the turnovers, they just need to generate some open shots and knock them down.

The Trailblazers come in off of a loss to the Jazz themselves, but that was way back on November 20th.  They’ve had a nice long stretch of rest.  Or Rust.  We’ll see tonight.

The Simulation

As always, the NBA 2K11 Simulation has the Hornets losing tonight 108-96.  I don’t think I’ve done a preview where it predicts a win.  Trevor Ariza improbably goes off for 29 points and David West manages 10.  Roy puts down 23 points and 11 assists.


Hornets: David Andersen has an injured work Visa.
Trailblazers: Roy is day-to-day but reported Wednesday he feels like he may play tonight.  Przybilla has not yet returned but is getting close.  Oden is done for the year.

Positional Analysis

PG: Andre Miller v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Andre Miller continues to play a fairly efficient game as a savvy point guard reliant more on smarts and strength than speed at this point.  Most of his posessions result in a hard drive to the post, a jump-step, pump-fake, and if that doesn’t get his defender off his feet, a “second option” up-and under or fade to try to squeeze off a shot.  Paul typically doesn’t buy the pump-fake, so we’ll see if Miller’s second option is falling tonight.  Paul, on the other hand, hasn’t looked like himself for four straight games.  He’s not doing his paint weave to create open shots – he’s not exploding on the pick and roll – and he’s not getting to the basket.  Some of that is defenses keying on him and switching and going under every pick, but it’s still disconcerting to all of us who worry about his knee.

SG: Wesley Matthews v Marco Belinelli
Advantage: Even
Wesley Matthews has been giving the Trailblazers production at a pretty similar level to what Marco gives the Hornets.  Matthews is maybe 5% more productive, but I’m such a fan of Marco’s defense, I think this is a push.

SF: Nicolas Batum v Trevor Ariza
Advantage: Blazers
There is a lot of Batum love in the world and on this site.  I don’t buy it.  Yes, he’s better than an average small forward.  Slightly.  Yes, he’s better than Ariza.  Is he a star?  No.  Middling shooting numbers and no free throws to speak of.  Few turnovers, but few assists.  Solid defense.  He gives the Blazers an edge here, but not a decisive one.

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge v David West
Advantage: Hornets
It’s freakish over the last few years how similar the production of these two forwards have been.  Particularly when you look at them and see the slender, super-long Aldridge next to the squat, muscular West.  In the end, West has been more efficient and is tougher than Aldridge and usually makes LaMarcus take longer and longer shots as the game goes on.

Plus, Aldridge has started off the season pretty weakly, only scoring 1.137 points per shot.  That’s Trevor Ariza territory.

C: Marcus Camby v Emeka Okafor
Advantage: Even
As always, Camby’s rail-thin frain and ass-backwards shooting form results in him being dismissed.  He shouldn’t be.  He blocks shots and cleans the glass better than all but a few of the league’s centers.  Is he a defensive monster?  No.  But he’s as solid as Okafor, who doesn’t rebound like him and has been struggling mightily over the past two weeks without Paul’s penetration to play off of and get easy shots.

Dante Cunningham, Rudy Fernandez, Armon Johnson, Luke Babbit
Jarrett Jack, Willie Green, Quincy Pondexter, Jason Smith, DJ Mbenga
Advantage: Push
Willie Green has his moments, both good and bad.  Jack is still settling in, Jason Smith’s amazing mid-range shooting is showing it’s ordinary character, and Mbenga and Pondexter aren’t having a real impact.

Armon Johnson is playing very very efficiently in short minutes, but Rudy, Dante and Luke are all struggling mightily.  If Matthews is pushed to the bench, the Trailblazers get an advantage here, but neither of these teams have much in the way of a crack bench squad.

Enjoy the game.  Talk it up!

Got something else to talk about?  Visit our Forum!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.