Game On: Hornets at Thunder

By:
Published: November 29, 2010

Matchup: Hornets(12-4) @ Thunder(11-6)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 104.6(12th), Thunder 106.4(8th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 97.6(3rd), Thunder 105.4(18th)

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

This is a bit of a role reversal for the Thunder this year.  Last year, they got by on exceptional defense and ordinary offense.  This season they have a good offense and a mediocre defense.  Their offense, however, doesn’t so much rely on shooting excellence but on the ability to draw free throws and knock them down.  NBA teams generally draw free throws on 31.7% of their shot attempts.  The Thunder draw them on 40% of theirs.  That is a huge advantage, and it essentially wipes out the fact the Thunder shoot less well than their opponents, turn the ball over more, and are out-rebounded on the offensive end.   It’s amazing what attacking the basket can do for you.

Defensively, the Thunder aren’t too different from last year:  They allow a huge number of shots right at the basket, allowing 26.3 shots at point blank range.  The league average is only 21.8.  Last year, they also allowed the 2nd most shots at the rim, but managed to defend them and force misses anyways.  The difference is this year the Thunder aren’t defending those shots well, giving up a higher than league average shooting percentage.

That, of course, means the Hornets will need to attack the basket, which is not what they do, being a largely jumpshooting team.  It’ll be interesting to see how that works out – which will win out, the inclination to shoot jumpers, or the wide open lanes to the basket?

Side Note: the trade earlier this year that sent them Peterson and Cole Aldrich to the Thunder for Pondexter and Brackins(who basically turned into Jason Smith) hasn’t panned out for them so far.  Aldrich has been sent to the D-League to gain experience, and Morris Peterson has played 7 minutes for them.  I’d rather have Pondexter and Smith.  You?

Injuries:

Hornets: None
Thunder: Krstic is struggling with back spasms.  He may play, and if he does, will replace Ibaka at center.

Positional Analysis

PG: Russell Westbrook v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Among all the young point guards in the league like Rose and Well, it is Westbrook who is the most impressive.  He draws 9 free throws a game as he attacks from the perimeter, which is a huge number for any NBA player, much less a point guard.  This allows him to score at a highly efficient rate despite poor shooting ability.  Scoring, however, is not his best attribute any longer, as it had been in the past.  He has cut his turnovers while upping his assists, and now posts a respectable assist to turnover rate.  He rebounds well.  He can be a lock-down defender.  This should be a fantastic battle tonight, because it’s not a huge edge in favor of CP3.

SG: Thabo Sefolosha v Marco Belinelli
Advantage: Hornets
Thabo plays good defense, and finishes enough layups in transition to make him useful, while contributing to the boardwork.  Still, he’s a guy you can cheat off of regularly defensively and not be stung by it.  Marco may have trouble getting easy open shots, but he should still be more effective than Thabo.

SF: Kevin Durant v Trevor Ariza
Advantage: Thunder
Durant is having a poor shooting season so far.  It doesn’t matter.  He still draws lots of free throws and knocks them down, keeping his scoring at an efficient level.  He’s also been a bit one-dimensional, serving up few assists and rebounds this season, but he’s a threat to be worried about.  Ariza will have his hands full and might see long minutes if he can avoid foul trouble.  I cringe to think about who might be guarding Durant when/if Ariza has to take a break.  Pondexter?  Willie Green?  Yikes.

PF: Jeff Green v David West
Advantage: Hornets
Jeff Green is averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds a game, and is scoring at the most efficient rate of his career.  I’m still here to tell you he’s not helping the Thunder.  Every year, he posts the worst +/- for his team.  He does very little at an above average rate.  David West typically punishes him in the post – and Green responds by shooting lots from deep – something he’s not actually that good at.  Usually, the Thunder put Nick Collison in pretty quickly against West – which help them tremendously.

C: Serge Ibaka v Emeka Okafor
Advantage: Even
I hope this will be even.  Ibaka is all athleticism and energy.  Okafor is all power and angles.  Ibaka is undersized, but I don’t know if he’s undersized enough to make this matchup any easier for Okafor.  Their numbers are similar, but Okafor should have the advantage on the boards.  We’ll see.  If Krstic comes back – then I think Okafor has the advantage, but that makes the bench scary.

Bench
Nick Collison, DJ White, Eric Maynor, and James Harden
Jason Smith, Jarrett Jack, Willie Green, Marcus Thornton
Advantage: Thunder
Even with Ibaka in the starting lineup, this bench is pretty solid.  Harden, who can’t finish a shot at the rim, has re-discovered his shot from deep, Maynor is a low-mistake backup, and Nick Collison defends hard and does a good job on the boards.  DJ White is serviceable in small minutes.  If Ibaka joins this crew, we might see some second unit scoring runs if Willie Green(or Thornton?) isn’t on.

Enjoy the Game!  Talk it up!

76 comments
NOLA ALL DAY
NOLA ALL DAY

Welllll guys, not to my surprise we lost again...We had a great start to the season but now reality is setting in. WERE NOT AS GOOD AS WE THOUGHT WE WERE. this is the straight up truth. We dont have a consistent scorer.(i would say cp3 is but he doesnt try to score as much as he used to) David West scores points but with lots of attempts, which doesnt help. Ariza and bellineli are the most inconsistent offensive players i can remember we have ever had. There 18 point guys one night and 7 to 10 the next and back and forth back and forth. Our only other decent scorer(Thornton) never plays because of his defense, if we have thornton on the floor scoring then why does it matter if his defense is struggling a little? we put him on the worst guard, everyone else on our team plays good D, but their offense is inconsistent. As pissed as ive been lately, maybe loosing lots of games will make dell demps come to realize that this team wont go anywhere unless he adds another playmaker/all star....iguodala cough cough carmelo..cough..excuse me guys. So what do you guys think??? PLEASE COMMENT Dueces Hornets Fans

Go Blue
Go Blue

I can't think of another center that gets blocked more often than Emeka does. It's shameful.

jib
jib

Bad time to mention Tyson is efficiently averaging 17 and 14 in his past 3? lol

Go Blue
Go Blue

That was a pretty hard screen on Westbrook at end of the game. Ouch. I don't know how I should feel about this, but it seems like the other team's star players are always playing 4-7 more mins per game than CP3 and DWest. I know Monty wants to keep their minutes down, but it seems to be costing wins. Sigh.

jib
jib

Just a case of not enough scorers on the floor. The defense is great but you can't consistently win like this. CP3 seems bent on being passive, so David West can't close it out everynight so they need to look elsewhere, but does anyone wanna see Willie, Ariza, or Omeka to be that option? You can say Bellinelli but that should be mainly for catch and shoot purposes. Maybe it doesn't have to be Marcus, because I'm slowly accepting it won't be, and that is why I think a "create for himself" wing is necessary.

Hornet
Hornet

God damnit Monty play Marcus. Our offense sucks and we need a scorer.

MaxALM
MaxALM

And it's not like Willie was playing well either. Left his man open alot. The Hornets lost their balls because they weren't making shots. The defense wasn't terrible, but they panicked and the offense went stagnant. I don't know what happened to CP late in the game, but someone needed to step in and make a play. When you're offense is struggling that bad, you need to be more flexible

QueenBee
QueenBee

I already have tickets for Wednesday. If they lose I'm gonna hurt something or somebody in the Arena. LOL!!

MaxALM
MaxALM

GREAT LOSS GUYS.

JCS
JCS

Great Loss?

edbballin504
edbballin504

Cant believe we let this one slip away...we need to find a way to close these games out. Its starting to happen too frequent. Its all good though, GO HORNETS!

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

On the plus side Mbenga got his 14+ min. Down the stretch the Hornets offense was pretty bad but werent hot other than the second quarter at all.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Why do we keep pounding D West? Do we have any other offensive options down the stretch. Its hard to watch when you play this way and everyone else just stands there while D West tries to bully his way to the basket. And I know David West got hit in the eye but COME ONNNNN MAN! Stop all that actin like a baby. The dude know he goes too far with his actions. LOL. Somebody give him a hug.

QueenBee
QueenBee

They done put West's eye out and now he's Ray effin Charles. Blind. Can't see. Terrible. Just terrible.

Go Blue
Go Blue

We hold them to 38% shooting and Durant to 7 of 22. I don't know what more they could had done on defense. Tough loss.

jib
jib

And total choke by D West for the whole last half of the quarter. Had this one, pissed to see it let go.

jib
jib

I've seen better offense from Byron Scott... and I hated him. Wait haven't scored in like 5 minutes, and we have an explosive sg on the bench who hasn't played? Hmmmmmm

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

This game isnt being lost by bad D its being lost by stagnant offensive (that means 2 things) sets.

Go Blue
Go Blue

We can't make a shot for anything.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Tough loss. Our D played well for the most part, but down the stretch we couldn't do anything on offense. Feeding West in the post and not moving does not work. Oh well. At least we've got some easy games coming up.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

jeez this team is playing some crap ball lately

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

i know i've probably said this a lot so far this season but...i don't think the refs have ever benefited the hornets yet this season, i've watched almost every game and its always been one sided. bs.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I agree. I don't know what's really going on but I agree. I also noticed Byron Scott just recently criticized the refs and got fined $35K for it but I don't remember him doing so when he coached the Hornets. What should be a foul on the Thunder wasn't but on the other end it's a foul on the Hornets. And Stern says respect the game? Yeah, ok.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Movement without the ball disappearing. I'm all for feeding West but if nothing else is going on it lets the other team rest on D (when they should be busting posterior)

JCS
JCS

Is it me or are the Thunder fans wearing capes and blue leotards very disturbing?

Go Blue
Go Blue

It's just not you. They're creeping me out.

QueenBee
QueenBee

OMG!!! Jack to Smith!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

crap...pauls on the floor after saving it out of bounds.

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

hasnt he learned that saving balls that go out of bounds is dangerous!

mbdtf
mbdtf

Please be okay Chris!

Diane
Diane

@BeegivingEffort The debate has started here in OKC -Westbrook will overtake Durant this year. You can see Westbrook is really trying to get Kevin started again - I think he will Durant is just in a little slump now but I've seen Durant and he can tear to the basket fast just keep your eyes open.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hornets were outrebounded by 7 in the first half. We need to do a better job of hitting the glass. LET'S GEAUX HORNETS!!!

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Movement without the ball gets an easy layup at the end of the first half... pretty.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Ok that was nice what CP3 and Emeka did there to end the first half.

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

@ryan- maybe youll have a different opinion on jeff green and his shooting ability after this game

QueenBee
QueenBee

I don't guess Marcus will see any PT huh? Could he not have gotten Willie's PT to end this quarter at least?

QueenBee
QueenBee

WTH was that Ariza??!! That should've been an easy two points man. Come on now.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Everytime the Thunder goes down the floor on offense a player stops at the 3 point line and that player will get the ball 8 times out of 10. Hornets need to look for that.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Gotta watch out for those back door cuts man.

peronas
peronas

Can we please stop going to Smith? He's not getting open for his shot and he's a black hole for ball movement right now.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Why does Harden have a 50 year old mans beard?

JCS
JCS

LOL...He looks like a slim Rick Ross.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Thats right Willie. Take it in there. And the Hornets need to watch Ibaka cuz he'll have a block party on you. I call him Iblocka. LOL!! Jack for 3!!

MaxALM
MaxALM

Our bench unit really needs to learn how to play defense collectively. We're playing solid offensively but the defense just looks wimpy, esp the bigs. We really need another big

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

why is Peja and Bayless on our roster?(check out Yahoo! Sports)

QueenBee
QueenBee

Yahoo is sleeping. They haven't caught up yet. LOL!