Game On: Thunder @ Hornets

Published: December 10, 2010

Matchup: Hornets(14-7) @ Thunder(15-8)

First off, you asked and we (finally) delivered. The first Hornets247 watch party of the year is on for Monday, December 13th against the Miami Heat. The game is at 6:30 CT, and will be shown at Extreme Sports Bar and Grille on 535 Tchoupitoulas St. I know this is rather short notice, but it’s going to be a rocking party and you should definitely come. Free Beer, prizes (including tickets), friends, and good times. Also, check out the Save Our Hornets Foundation.

As for tonight’s game…

Off Efficiency: Hornets 106.2(20th), Thunder 106.6 (12th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 99.1 (5th), Thunder 105.2(17th)

Pace: Hornets 92.9 (27th), Thunder 95.9 (13th)

The Hornets will be looking to avenge an earlier loss this season to the Thunder when the teams play tonight at 7:00 ct.

New Orleans will need to attack the basket, which they failed at doing last time. They are a jump shooting team, but in a game against the Thunder it’s essential that they pound the rock inside. David West is the best big man on the floor and will need to have a big game if the Hornets are to prevail. Let’s just hope that if Scott Brooks switches Durant on him, West won’t shoot on 5/6 possessions late in the fourth quarter. That didn’t work out so well last time.



Positional Analysis (From Ryan’s Earlier Preview)

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: Nenad Krstic v Emeka Okafor
Advantage: Okafor

Nick Collison, DJ White, Eric Maynor, and James Harden
Jason Smith, Jarrett Jack, Willie Green, Marcus Thornton
Advantage: Thunder
With Ibaka coming off the pine, this bench is great.  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.

I’ll be on the ESPN Daily Dime Chat throughout the game, and will be at the arena before hand with some updates.

If you missed it, Topherprice wrote an open letter to Morris Bart, and Morris responded. Always nice to see potential investors who are really involved.

And check out our friends at DailyThunder