Game On: Hornets @ T’Wolves

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Published: December 27, 2010

This might be one of the only times I am glad the Hornets are on the road. The New Orleans Saints play their biggest game of the season tonight, and with Minnesota as the opposing team for the Hornets, there is little doubt that plenty of seats would be open if the game were at home. With only a few games left before the attendance benchmark is either reached or not reached, we need every break that we can get to ensure the Hornets are in New Orleans for years to come.

As for the game itself, Minnesota is not exactly the pushover that they have been in years past. While it is true that they are only 7-24 overall and 2-17 on the road after their last second win at Cleveland last night, the fact is that Minnesota has been in a lot of their losses late in the game and they possess plenty of young talent, especially on the front line.

The Hornets, meanwhile, come into this game off of two straight wins and have won 4 of their last six. They also have been fantastic on the glass as of late, outrebounding their opponents by over 11 per game over the last seven games. That is going to be hard to do tonight, as Minnesota comes into this game as the number one rebounding team in the league. They average over 45 a game, and nearly 14 of them come on the offensive glass. Since Minnesota shoots under 44% from the field and turn the ball over more than 17 times per game, they need each and every possession in order to keep up with teams. I say “keep up” because that is exactly what Minnesota needs to do because they give up a league high 109.6 PPG.

Matchups

Point Guard: Chris Paul vs. Luke Ridnour

Advantage: Hornets

Jonny Flynn is back and the Knicks (among other teams) are said to be interested in Ridnour, but for now he is holding down the starting point guard spot and doing a fairly good job doing it. He is shooting over 46% from the field and 45% from three-point land, not to mention the guy almost never misses a free throw. He possesses a 2.5 to 1 turnover to assist ratio which is below average for starting NBA point guards and his defense leaves a lot to be desired in man to man situations, although he isn’t horrible as a team defender.

Ridnour is 175 pounds soaking wet, so he tends to get lost on screens. The Hornets run more pick and rolls and/or pick and pops than almost anybody in the league, so expect this to be a huge advantage when Ridnour is on the court.

Shooting Guard: Marco Belinelli vs. Wesley Johnson

Advantage: Hornets

You know the drill with Marco by now- poor against good teams, good against poor teams. The T’Wolves are the worst defensive team in the league and Wesley Johnson is a rookie who is playing out of position. If Marco can’t get it going tonight, I don’t know when he will.

Wesley Johnson has shown flashes so far this season, but they have been few and far between. As I mentioned, he is playing out of position because Minnesota wants to be able to court all three of their building blocks in the starting lineup. Defensively, Johnson can stay with most two guards, but offensively he just lacks the consistency to make teams respect his outside stroke.

He only takes about 8 shots per game, and nearly half of them are from three, where he is shooting 37%. That is not Johnson’s game, though. He should be attacking the rim more and getting out in transition where he can use his athleticism, but unfortunately they have Ridnour manning the point, not Ricky Rubio, so he is stuck in a role that does not quite fit. And people wonder why Minnesota has all that talent and a 7-24 record.

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza vs. Michael Beasley

Advantage: T’Wolves

Michael Beasley cost the Timberwolves a 2nd round pick, Trevor Ariza cost the Hornets Darren Collison. Kinda stings, doesn’t it? To be fair, however, Beasley is putting up numbers for a bad team and it is likely his personality would have clashed with more professional veterans like CP3, West, and Okafor.

In Minnesota, Beasley is racking up numbers that will get him paid in his next contract but probably will never translate to wins. He leads the team in scoring at 21.6 PPG, but he doesn’t do much else. 6 rebounds, less than 2 assists, less than a block, and less than one steal per game, while turning the ball over nearly 3 times per game means that Beasley can only really hurt you one way.

Ariza should be able to use his length to bother Beasley’s outside shot, but I don’t know if he can lock him down in the post. On the offensive end, Ariza should use his quickness to get by Beasley, but the question is whether or not he will be able to finish at the rim. He also has had problems driving and kicking to open teammates this season, as most of those plays lead to turnovers. When Ariza puts the ball on the floor, you just cover your eyes and hope for the best. Expect a lot of that tonight.

Power Forward: David West vs. Kevin Love

Advantage: Hornets

I know Kevin Love is the hot new flavor of the month, and most would say this is even at best, but I disagree. I know Love is a beast on the boards and he might have more range on his shot than West, but David is by far the more efficient player and he just makes winning plays. Ask the Lakers, the Celtics, the Magic, the Heat, etc. which player they would want if they could want for the playoffs and they would all say West.

Love has gorgeous stats, but like Charles Barkley says, “Stats are like bikinis- they look nice, but they don’t tell the whole story.” Kevin’s stat line reads as follows: 20.8 PPG, 15.7 RPG, 45% from the field and 44% from three. Those are once in a generation type stats; 20 and 15 hasn’t been done in decades- yet this team has only won 7 games. If he was really that good of a player, this team wouldn’t be so horrible.

Center: Emeka Okafor vs. Darko Milicic

Advantage: Hornets

Two guys who were drafted No.2 overall in their respective drafts and have been much maligned because of it. It is neither guys fault that they were taken so high, and it is not Darko’s fault that Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh were all taken after him and became superstars. It is not Emeka’s fault that the Bobcats panicked and game him a monster contract either.

These two guys are who they are and that means Darko is a legit 7 footer who can be a defensive presence in games that he doesn’t get into foul trouble and Emeka is a guy who will go out there every night and get you a double-double or something close to it.

Emeka has been playing wonderful as of late and this is another matchup that he could potentially dominate, although Milicic’s length could give Okafor trouble when he tries to post him up. The Hornets would be wise to use Emeka in the pick and roll game more tonight rather than just feeding him the ball in the post against Darko.

Bench: Jarrett Jack, Marcus Thornton, Quincy Pondexter, Jason Smith, DJ Mbenga vs. Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Corey Brewer, Martell Webster, Kosta Koufos

Advantage: Even

So much talent on that Minnesota bench, but it is so inconsistent and so poor defensively. Webster has just returned recently and is putting up over 14 PPG off the bench, while Brewer, Ellington, and Flynn have all had their struggles this year but can go off at any time if give a chance.For the Hornets, both Jack and Thornton have been much better as of late and Jason Smith tends to do well against teams that don’t read their scouting reports, and looking at their defensive metrics, it doesn’t look like they do read them that often.


97 comments
QueenBee
QueenBee

When was the last time the Hornets won a road game?

MaxALM
MaxALM

GROW SOME BALLS and win on the road. We scored 98 points against the leagues WORST defense and then also lost by 15. Pathetic road team.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

Thornton didn't get to play long enough stretches tonight, he made a shot just at the top of the key and then Monty takes him out? Wtf someone answer that riddle?

QueenBee
QueenBee

3 point shooting Wolves 11-23 Hornets 3-11 SMH. They made 11 and we took 11. SMH.

Go Blue
Go Blue

Someone other than Cp3 needs to learn how to shoot a 3. They be WIDE open and miss, give me a break. Besides CP3, Dwest and Mek (and maybe J Smith) tonight the rest of them should be made to walk all the way back to New Orleans

mbdtf
mbdtf

Lesson learned: stay away from Jason Smith banners.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

Lakers haven't been championship caliber, so there is hope there. Also Lakers always have a hard time defending PGs. Well we have the best. Boston i predict, will be a loss. so we've had 3 recent games that just didn't go our way. We are not a great team. Great teams always find ways to win when the ball is not bouncing there way. But we are good. On the cusp of top 10 in the NBA IMO. we are top 15 i will boldly say that, but not yet top 10. I shall now play nba 2k11. Will get revenge for our Hornets. GEAUX HORNETS!

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

What upsets me the most is that Monty has so much faith in bellinelli and ariza, but the are so inconsistent and have no confindence, does anyone notice that 75% of their shots are a dribble after they have received a wide open shot?! Please tell me I'm not crazy

QueenBee
QueenBee

Let's geaux Saints!! Do this for us please.

Go Blue
Go Blue

Can not believe I recorded this game instead of watching the Saints game..........

QueenBee
QueenBee

Giving up 110+ to the Timberwolves. SMH.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Look how dumb and discombobulated. 2 Hornets going for the alley-oop. LMAO.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

losing by 17 to one of the worst teams in the NBA is definitely a low point in the season add to that i'm sure we will lose to LA and boston in the next two. i hope this team is still around .500 by the all star break

QueenBee
QueenBee

I'd prefer to lose to the d*mn Hawks yesterday.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

we need a shooting guard that can give us anything. We need a scoring option at the 2. I have nothing personal against belinelli (like the guy, like his story etc) but its obvious y he was traded for nothing he gives us nothing and takes away a starting roster spot. I mean hes not even giving us the last few years of peja production. God we just need to be able to score

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

i think a lot of us hornets fans just need to come to the realization that the hornets aren't a very good team. they're supposed to be a good defensive team but i think that the defensive numbers are just a product of the slow pace they play. only dwest and cp3 are the only consistent players on this team everyone else for the most part is pretty mediocre or sucks. also i don't think monty is a very good coach either, he is more or less byron scott.

mbdtf
mbdtf

T'Wolves apparently don't miss 3's.

JCS
JCS

Wes has found his sweet spot 6 times now and now Beasly. SMH.

QueenBee
QueenBee

And look at weed boy pounding his chest. SMH.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Marco doesn't even shoot the ball like he's trying to make it.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Take the starters out Monty.

QueenBee
QueenBee

They should be mad. Wesley Johnson is laughing at them after hitting yet another 3. SMH.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Love fouled West just now. Damn these officials.

QueenBee
QueenBee

With the Lakers coming in on Wednesday, one would think the Hornets would try to get this win but....... no.

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

How can we lose to the worst teams? And how can our offense be so stagnant?

QueenBee
QueenBee

Down 13. Giving up career highs in 3 pointers by Wesley Johnson is what hurt them. Effin dummies.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Saints better save the night.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

i don't think the hornets could beat the washington generals on the road...

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hornets thought this game was over when they were up 21-9. SMH. Hopefully the Saints can come out of halftime and put the Pigeons away then.

QueenBee
QueenBee

You can't win a game if you just allow the opposing team to shoot 3's at will. Wolves are hitting all of their 3's it seems. Hornets came out hot and have since cooled off.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

if the hornets make the playoffs, they will be done in 5 games unless they learn to win on the road oh and yea they need a real small forward. i mean ariza you're shooting 26% from 3 so stop shooting them

QueenBee
QueenBee

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy Hornets play. Sad ass road team.

m-W
m-W

Well, at least the T-Wolves always collapse. So...

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

i mean luke ridinour has 5 FT and cp3 has 4, 2 of those coming from technical fouls

QueenBee
QueenBee

Tighten up that D Hornets. Tighten it up I say! And for heavens sakes, stop missing easy arse lay ups. Get with it Marcus!

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

wow will the refs call a damn foul? this is just terrible officiating, the hornets have been get pumped and pushed in the paint all night yet they've gotten like 8 FTs yet the wolves are getting everything

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

jesus the hornets D has been pathetic this second half, get a hand in a shooters face for crying out loud

DownUnder
DownUnder

Thats not fair! There making all theres and we're missing all ours

QueenBee
QueenBee

The Hornets had better get on that d*mn rookie.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

HE'S BAAAAAAACKKKK!!! Thats the CP we all know and LOVE. You can see the little pep in his step, and swag comin back. Do the dance CP!

QueenBee
QueenBee

Looks like CP3 is driving Rambis crazy.

DownUnder
DownUnder

The foul was on the dribble not the shot!

DownUnder
DownUnder

lol. Monty rocking the power balance wristband

DownUnder
DownUnder

We're playing so well but there still only just behind us

DownUnder
DownUnder

I wish our uniforms were a bit darker, they just look pale

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

Monty goin with the turtleneck/suit jacket combo...a look straight outta the Cosby Show! haha