Game On: Hornets @ Kings

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Published: January 29, 2011

The Hornets head to Sacramento tonight to take on the suddenly red-hot Kings. I say that only half-jokingly because Sacramento actually appears to be playing their best ball of the year, even though they are only 2-5 in their last 7 games. Their two wins, however came at Portland and at LA, as they defeated the Lakers last night 100-95. On top of that, each of the five losses were extremely close and Sacramento could have easily walked away with a victory in any of those games.

They had a 5 point loss to Charlotte, had back-to-back overtime losses to Portland and Golden State, a 2 point loss to Atlanta, and a 4 point loss to Detroit. 2-5, but over those seven games the point differential is only -2. Bottom line is that for the past two weeks this team has been in every contest and they have even shown the ability to surprise playoff caliber teams. Don’t sleep on the Kings.

No single player has been carrying Sacramento through this stretch, instead it seems like somebody new is stepping up every night. Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins show up on a nightly basis, but that third and fourth guy seems to change game in and game out. Last night Omri Casspi and Samuel Dalembert combined for 36 points and 13 rebounds. The game before Landry led the team in scoring. Against Portland, Beno Udrih provided a spark, and so on. The reason Sacramento only has 11 wins this season is because they don’t have consistent players who they can count on night in and night out, but that also makes them dangerous- as they have multiple guys who can go off on any given night.

When the Hornets Have the Ball

The Hornets have played the Kings twice already this year and are only averaging 84.5 points against them on 38% shooting, so obviously they have yet to figure out exactly how they would like to attack this Kings defense. What doesn’t seem to work is attacking Dalembert when he is protecting the rim, as he has 6 blocks in the two contest, but he has probably changed close to two dozen other shots in the 50 minutes he was on the court.

Nothing was working for the Hornets in the first matchup at ARCO until the Hornets found a way to get David West open on two consecutive pick and pops that he drained late in the game to seal the victory. That game took place right after the Peja/Jack swap, leaving the Hornets with no true backup point and the backcourt foursome of Paul, Green, Thornton, and Belly responded by going 8-36 in that game. They had as many turnovers as made field goals. Ugly.

The second game was a tale of two halves that saw the Hornets go down by as many as 23, before Marcus Thornton helped lead a remarkable comeback that had the arena going crazy. Even in that game, however, there was nothing that the Hornets could walk away with when it comes to having found a way to attack this defense. Chris Paul had 22, but 12 of those came from the line. David West was 5-14, Ariza was held scoreless, and Bellineli was only 3-9.

In both games the half court offense was extremely ineffective and the Hornets only looked good when they got out in transition against this Kings team. The Kings have length at multiple positions and that really gives the Hornets trouble if they are not hitting from the outside. Evans and Udrih both make it hard for CP3 to get into the lane, Thompson, Landry, Dalembert, and even Casspi all can do a solid job on D West, and Greene has been all over Ariza in both match-ups.

The Hornets have to look for every chance to run and when they get into half court sets they have to be patient. This team is still a young team and are therefore prone to missed rotations and stupid fouls. Cousins, Dalembert, and Thompson all bailed the Hornets out several times in the last meeting, picking up bad fouls that sent New Orleans to the line, where they had a 15 point advantage in the last contest. Both teams are playing better since the last meeting, but for the Hornets to win this one tonight, they will have to run and they must get free points at the line.

When the Kings have the Ball

Say what you will about Marco’s offense in the previous two match-ups, but his defense on Tyreke Evans has been superb. In the first matchup CP3 was matched up with the physical failing Luther Head and in game two he was on Udrih most of the game, as Monty seemed to favor Marco’s size going against last year’s ROY. So far this season, Tyreke is shooting just 6 of 17 when Belinelli is defending him with 5 turnovers and just 4 assists.

CP3, on the other hand, has gotten burned in the two games against the Kings, as he tends to leave his guy more than usual to look for steal opportunities. Head went 4-4, including 3-3 from distance in game one and Udrih had one of his best games of the year, scoring 20 points on 9-15 shooting in game two. In both games, CP3 locked up late in the game, but he has to know not to give these players can knock down open looks. CP3 is used to going against “name guys” every night at the point guard position, and you can argue that it is human nature to take someone like Udrih for granted when you are used to battling Westbrook and Parker and Nash and Rose and Rondo, etc on a nightly basis, but unless the Hornets want to fall behind again against this team he just can’t do that.

West has actually done a really good job on Landry and Thompson, but the truth is that when Cousins is on his game, the Hornets just don’t have an answer for him. There were stretches in the last game where he was just making Okafor look stupid out there, and that is no slight to Emeka, as Cousins can do that to the best of front lines- as he showed by going for 27 points in just 32 minutes against the Lakers three-headed monster last night. If Cousins gets going, he will demand a double team, and if that happens the Hornets rotations need to be crisp to prevent guys like Casspi and Greene from getting hot.

Other News and Notes:

- Hornets are going for their 11th straight win, which would set a franchise record.

- Normally teams look forward to long home stands, but I don’t think that is the case for Sacramento, as they start out this 6 game stretch with the hottest team in the league, followed by: Boston, Dallas, Utah, San Antonio, and OKC. Ouch!

- Vegas Zone: Hornets are 6 point favorites in this game, with the over/under set at 186.5. I say Kings are in for a let down game after celebrating like the won the title last night in LA, and Monty beats it into the players head that Sacto can beat anyone. I am taking the Hornets and the under. Hornets 97 Kings 87.

- And yes, it is that time again to Caption This Pic - top 3 will be named in the post game write-up with the prize being a chance to explore your creative capabilities and respect from the entire Hornets community! Oh, and P.S.- that’s DeMarcus Cousins just in case you were unsure of which player on this unstable Kings roster would rock a pink backpack with so much pride.

149 comments
Jeff
Jeff

so who can the Hornets get with the Expirings of Beli, Green, and Banks? Thornton needs more minutes or the hornets have to get a real SG. Watching Beli is like wathcing MO pete or Devin Brown.

42
42

Given that this was basically due to defensive lapses early (allowed 32 in the 2nd), I'm not too upset. Good run, guys. I'm confident the win rate will be good from here on out. Stay healthy.

QueenBee
QueenBee

And I swear, they'd better not let the damn Wizards come in and get their first road win. I would combust!

QueenBee
QueenBee

3/12.... Hornets better be ready to punch em in the mouth.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Belinelli is a bum. Can't even get his ass to the free throw line.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Unbelievable...

QueenBee
QueenBee

CP's arm sleeve got caught on the damn camera? Lawd have mercy. He took forever to get back down there. Eff those damn cameramen sitting down there. They don't need no damn pictures!!!!!

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

I forgot how this shit feels..I don't miss it At All

JCS
JCS

Apparently, this is the season for all the worst teams in the league (Pacific Division) to beat all the best teams at least once. *sigh*

QueenBee
QueenBee

I hate that thing that Belinelli does when he catches the ball. Swinging the ball around in a circle each and every time.

peronas
peronas

Game over. Can't begin to describe how disappointed I am with the energy tonight

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Clown clapping looked like a blocking foul...if he had 4.

QueenBee
QueenBee

A little too damn fast that time Buckets. Look at Demarcus clapping like clown.

JCS
JCS

DeMarcus just did a Dhantay Jones clap. Yuck.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Dumb turnover by CP3 on that one. Was the damn cameraman keeping CP3 down there? LOL!! WEST!!!

Go Blue
Go Blue

I noticed that too, how the heck do they allow a camera man hold a player. Chris should had slapped him or something lol

QueenBee
QueenBee

I think Chris' arm sleeve got caught/snagged on the camera. I'll bet the cameraman was taking his sweet time getting it off of there too. SMH. CP should've just took off the damn sleeve.

Ryan
Ryan

THAT WAS GOAL TENDING !

DownUnder
DownUnder

Good to play zone now we aint stopping Reke otherwise

QueenBee
QueenBee

Ok. Marcus is now in. Should've been in. Goaltending. Marcus is so quick getting to the rim.

QueenBee
QueenBee

And 1 West! Why is Marco even in this game during this time?

DownUnder
DownUnder

Marco part from that long three has done pretty much nothing this entire game

QueenBee
QueenBee

Nice while it lasted. And tomorrow we'll face a fresh legged Suns team.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Can I get a Marcus chant?

m-W
m-W

For the life of me, I can't figure out why he isn't in the game...

JCS
JCS

Can't stay in front of his man on D.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Eff it. Hornets ain't winning this.

DownUnder
DownUnder

Reke is one of the best finishers around the basket I have ever seen, probably the best. If he isnt fouled its going in

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Emeka, 3 rebbies doesn't exactly shout "All-Star!" Huge back to back 3's.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Please Hornets, win this game. Please. Please. Please. Please.

JCS
JCS

Chris Paul and David West need to take over this game. They are the Captains and Chris is an All-Star.

m-W
m-W

So is David.

m-W
m-W

Ummmmm...might still make it.

JCS
JCS

I thought he got shafted this year.

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

We're fucking Settling for jumpers..Attack These Pussies!!

DownUnder
DownUnder

Im starting to see where Michael gets his frustrations with J Smitty

QueenBee
QueenBee

Effin 3 second technical. Uggh.

JCS
JCS

Marcus Thorton has a questionable shot selection.

m-W
m-W

That's about the one thing I'm NOT questioning tonight.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

He tends to make up his mind before he shoots whether he will shoot or not. I agree.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Earth to Hornets Offense. Give Marcus Thornton the ball.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Shut up about the All Star Licht. Just shut up.

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  1. [...] make 9 of their first 10 shots. Michael McNamara pointed out at Hornets247.com that the Kings are a tough team despite their poor record and the Hornets should have taken notice. New Orleans kept it close only [...]