Game On: Hornets @ Nuggets

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Published: January 9, 2011

Matchup: Hornets(21-16) @ Nuggets(20-15)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 102.5(19th), Nuggets 107.7(6th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 100.1(6th), Nuggets 106.1(22nd)

The Rumors are flying fast and furious these days as the Nuggets have now tried to include both Cleveland and the Pistons as facilitators in the trade with the Nets for Carmelo Anthony.  It feels like the deal is closer than it has been in several months, and maybe that explains why the Nuggets have dropped back to back games against the cellar-dwellar Clippers and Kings.  Neither of those games were even really close either, with the Nuggets losing by 20 in each.

Now, I do need to caution you on this one.  The Nuggets have been up and down all season long, and their defense is one of the worst in the league, so blowouts aren’t that shocking here and there when a team relies entirely on its offense.  Still, if the transaction is close – and it includes Billups like it the rumors say it does – it’s not shocking the team might be struggling.

So the Hornets get an up and down team when they have a lot of off the court distractions.  Let’s hope their offense is going enough that they can take advantage of it.

Injuries:
Nuggets:
  Kenyon Martin is still out.
Hornets:  None

Positional Analysis

PG: Billups v Paul
Advantage: Hornets
1.61.  That’s Chauncey Billups points per shot so far this season.  .416.  That’s Billups shooting percentage.  The former is why Billups deserves every plaudit and compliment he’s ever received.  The latter is why people who don’t understand advanced statistics can’t give Billups the credit he deserves. 

His shooting percentage never seems terribly high, because he takes a lot of threes, and he gets his edge scoring off free throws and hitting every damn one he gets.  To put that efficiency in perspective, it’s the 12th best in the league.  And yes, it’s 7 spots better than Paul.  So why give Paul the advantage?  Because being a Point Guard is so much more than efficiently scoring on your opponent, and while Billups is a solid, nearly mistake-free point guard, he also doesn’t see the floor as you’d want, doesn’t set up his team perfectly, and his defense has become a step slow.

SG: Afflalo v Belinelli
Advantage: Nuggets
I mentioned in the podcast that Afflalo would be someone I’d love the Hornets to pursue.  This season, his shooting has improved greatly, he averages 1.38 points per shot, drills threes, finishes his free throws, and plays solid defense.  To me, he’s Belinelli with more consistent shooting and more than a passing familiarity with rebounding.  Belinelli’s only advantage is slightly better defense and better passing.  That’s not enough, though.

SF: Anthony v Ariza
Advantage: Nuggets
Anthony has never been a world-beater when it comes to efficient shooting, and this season he’s still hovering slightly below David West territory.  Still, he’s effective enough on that end, when he really focuses, he can get himself good, easy shots, and he rebounds well.  Ariza gave him fits in the first game of this season, but I still have little faith that Ariza’s offense will show up enough to make this matchup anything but a runaway in Denver’s favor.

PF: Sheldon Williams v West
Advantage: Hornets
Sheldon’s pretty bad.  He’s a nice rebounder, but he gets stuffed more often than Okafor(that’s saying something), and is a bit undersized and relies on strength.  When West meets other undersized power forwards who rely on strength rather than speed, he’s typically going to feast.  Sheldon usually plays few minutes in favor of Harrington, but I have high hopes for Fluffy tonight.

C: Nene v Okafor
Advantage: Even
While Nene is also one of the most efficient scorers to step foot on the NBA hardwood, finishing at the rim on pick and rolls with viciousness, he does have some major problems that makes him draw even with Okafor.  He’s an awful rebounder for a center.  In fact, out of 50 centers in the league, he ranks 37th on the boards in rebound rate.  So expect him to dunk a lot, but Okafor should be able to keep him off the glass – and Nene’s advantage over Okafor in efficient paint scoring is that tremendous.(You know, I’d love to have Nene on the Hornets, though.  Paul needs a Pick and Roll finisher so bad – and Nene and Paul could be as nasty as Nash and Stoudemire was)

Bench
Al Harrington, Chris Anderson, Gary Forbes, JR Smith, Ty Lawson
vs
The Usual Suspects

Advantage: Nuggets
When it comes to second units, the Nuggets have four of the best five players.  Anderson is a prime backup big man, Forbes and Harrington can hold down the forward spots admirably, with Harrington being starter quality, and Ty Lawson is the best point guard off the bench in the league.  Basically, I just hope JR Smith goes into stupid mode and makes this easier than it should be.

Could be a fun one!  Talk it up in the Comments!

158 comments
thekeymaster
thekeymaster

Good game tonight the whole team played well with a few exceptions. Willie Green needs to realize he's not a 3pt shooter or the team's go-to guy. Ariza played good for the most part except when he started shooting outside of 15 feet, he also played good D on Melo but I think most of that was Melo not caring. Emeka did a great job on the boards and besides being too hesitant a few times did well offensively. If he would learn to do a pump fake he would become a much more effective scorer. DWest and CP3 did their thing as usual, and the bench actually played pretty good. Only things I can complain about is the sloppy play both offensively and defensively in the 4th and Monty's short leash with MT5 and Gray, although he did a better job with the rotations and realizing when to call timeouts to slow Denver's momentum. Hopefully the Hornets can end Orlando's big winning sterak next!

JCS
JCS

Excellent way to end the first week of the new year.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

we were 20-21 at the free throw line. 95.2% GIddy up nugs were 22-33

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

Good win bees, bad loss nuggets, refs, and nuggets announcers.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Look at all the fans clear out after we put in the closer Q-Pon

DownUnder
DownUnder

We do deserve this game, we've played the better of the the first 3 quarters it shouldnt be all cancelled out by 1 quarter

pschafer
pschafer

This one belongs to Chris Paul: what a player.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

the way these nuggs announcers are complaining it sounds as if denver hasn't committed a foul all night and the hornets have been shanking every nugget on the court. nothing worse then horribly biased color commentators.

George
George

Chris Paul for 3!

mbdtf
mbdtf

Chris Paul is the man

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

that lil bitch jr was gettin real rough with david, and d west put him in his place *mc donalds music ba da ba ba baaaa im loving it*

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

OMG WILLIE GREEN YOU SUCK AT SHOOTING THE 3 PLEASE STOP!!! and monty get a f'ing clue

QueenBee
QueenBee

Melo uses his off arm to hold off his defender each and everytime.

QueenBee
QueenBee

CP just got 3 fouls in less than 3:00 in 4th. That's 5 on the game. He goes to the bench, Denver hits a long ball. 7-0 DEN run. Now 81-73. 7 minutes ago via web What a crock of ****!

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

god these nuggets announcers suck hairy donkey balls, as do these pathetic refs. i know its a big cliche for fans to complain about refs all the time but honestly i don't think i've seen the hornets ever get the majority of calls so far this season.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Green has been night and day these two halves. What an amazingly long leash he has.

George
George

What an ugly looking shot from Ariza

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

i cant say this any other way GUARD THE THREE. they let this shit happen against golden state like friggin yesterday have they forgot so soon

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

wow, these refs have lost all credibility

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

ugh i have a bad feeling about the 4th, i hope i'm wrong.

thekeymaster
thekeymaster

so let me get this right the hornets have more points in the paint and have been more aggressive yet they have like half as many FT attempts?

George
George

I think New Jersey is on Melo's mind tonight.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Nuggets get to the line so often cause they literally get just about every call down there.

NOLABanks96
NOLABanks96

Good 3rd so far. Lets get Marcus in since were up by 20 iight Monty

pinoyballah
pinoyballah

wow ariza... what has happened to your 3 pt shot?!

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hornets looking good to start the 3rd. Keep it up Hornets!! Please keep it up!

mbdtf
mbdtf

Nice start to the second half

QueenBee
QueenBee

I'm glad Afflalo missed that 1st shot of the 3rd qtr because he was wide open. Shouldn't have been that wide open.

George
George

Marcus must be confused and frustrated, I mean he comes in for 4 minutes, tries hard on defense, doesn't force any shots up. He drives to the lane and sets up Mek with a good pass then is pulled from the game. But I guess the case can be made that Green has a great first half thoug, and Thornton wasn't needed. I'd rather see him traded than keep on putting him through this uncertainty.

QueenBee
QueenBee

1st half stats FG% Hornets 51% Nuggets 44% Free Throws Hornets 9/10 Nuggets 13/20 3pt FGs Hornets 3/5 Nuggets 2/7 Rebounds Hornets 21 Nuggets 15 Turnovers Hornets 4 Nuggets 5 Points in the Paint Hornets 22 Nuggets 20 Second Chance Points Hornets 9 Nuggets 0 Bench Scoring Hornets 19 Nuggets 10

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hornets will need to come out in the 2nd half and not play like this game is already over.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I'm impressed that Paul has 6pts and 1 assist and the Hornets are up 11.

QueenBee
QueenBee

A 10 point lead with 2 quarters to go is NOTHING. The Hornets need to keep playing the way they have or better.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Gray had some nice min.....well I thought so ...looking good at the half.