Game On: Wizards @ Hornets

By:
Published: February 1, 2011

Matchup: Wizards(13-34) @ Hornets(31-18)

Note- Buzzfest is canceled tonight.

Off Efficiency: Wizards 99.6 (28th), Hornets 103.3 (16th )
Def Efficiency: Wizards 106.5 (21st), Hornets 99.1 (3rd)

Pace: Wizards 96.1 (9th), Hornets 91.4 (29th)

*Insert Caption Here*

Anyone who thought that a game against the Wizards in early February would be one of the most important games of the year for New Orleans, please take a bow. The need for a win against the Wizards can’t be overstated, considering that for the first time this season (and ever as a Hornets player), Emeka Okafor will be out of a game, leaving the squad with what an optimist might call an understaffed front court. Combine that with a two game losing streak and the Hornets have the potential to yet again go from the league’s hottest streak into a rut.

In the past I’ve talked about how the Hornets are one injury away from disaster, and although that can be said about a lot of teams, we are going to witness how one minor injury effects the Hornets ability to win games. It also reaffirms the need to add another frontcourt player.

The loss of Emeka Okafor means a likely starting nod for Jason Smith alongside David West. The downgrade from Okafor to Smith means that a clear front court advantage for the Hornets over the Wizards is all of a sudden a draw at best. Rebounding will prove to be the most notable concern, as Emeka Okafor grabs 19% of total available rebounds when he’s on the floor. Jason Smith is bringing down 13.5% coming into tonight’s action. Team rebounding, always a priority for Monty Williams, will be even more important tonight. I would expect him to reemphasize that to the team before the game.

Expect DJ Mbenga, David Anderson, and even David West to see considerably more minutes than usual tonight, and for Aaron Gray to be at the very least available.

For the relatively unknown David Anderson, a 30-year old Australian playing in only his second NBA season, this represents a chance to put himself in the regular rotation for the first time with the Hornets. He has a wicked jumper, and is considered to be a potential offensive force to be reckoned with (See? I’m an optimist). Think Jason Smith, before people realized that if you guard him he’s mostly ineffective. In addition Anderson supposedly has a three point shot. He struggled adjusting to the longer line in his first year, hitting at only 34.6%, but with Okafor out he will have an opportunity to show improvement in the upcoming games. The Hornets could certainly use a three point shooting center who stands at 6’11, even when Okafor is healthy.

Are you still wondering why this game is so important for the Hornets, or have I made you forget your earlier curiosity?

This year, seven of the Hornets 18 losses have been against teams which currently have losing records, including the lowly Timberwolves, and Kings. Tonight, they face an opponent even lower on the NBA totem pole. The Washington Wizards hold the unique distinction of being 0-24 on the road this year, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that eventually streaks like that get broken. If the Hornets have taught us anything over the past three years, it’s to be wary of games like this one.

Losing two games in a row to teams with losing records (and Emeka) had to be a bit of an emotional let down for the Hornets. Both were winnable, and after dominating much of their the competition over their previous ten game winning streak, it’s hard to imagine their short road trip going any worse.

The Wizards know this. Their hunger for a road win grows with each passing day, and I think it’s going to be on display tonight. Expect the Wizards to come out full of energy, and for Javale McGee to at the very least be given every opportunity to have a big night. The Hornets don’t have a match for him on defense.

At the end of the season the Hornets play three games in four days against the Grizzlies, the Mavs, and the Jazz. Those games are going to matter in playoff seeding, and in reality, a win tonight against a team they should beat, will mean that they head into those matchups one game higher up in the standings than they would be otherwise.

The Hornets need this one, not only to add another W in the win column, but to prove to themselves, their fans, and the rest of the NBA, that they can take a couple body shots and still keep winning fights. Monty Williams know this, and you can bet he’s doing everything in his power to make sure his team does as well.

Pregame Notes-

  • QueenBee makes a good point about the weather- It is disgusting outside. Even though the rain is supposed to stop, it’s still going to be windy and dark. Expect a sparse crowd, and hope to be surprised.
  • The Hornets have won 22 or 33 against the Wizards, dating back to 3/12/99.
  • Paul, Belinelli, Ariza, West, Smith is the fifth different starting lineup of the year for the Hornets

Notes From Monty’s Pregame Press Conference (plus video)

  • Monty said in that the team will go small often, using Ariza at the 4 and David at the 5. He didn’t seem too enthused about it, noting that it’s works for short, but not long stretches this year.
  • He said that tonight promised to be a tough game, especially considering that last time in Washington the team trailed by double digits, and was had to battle back to escape with a win.
  • He was concerned that the Hornets had allowed three straight opponents to score over 100 points.
  • Williams added that Marco Belinelli needed to play better better defense.
  • DJ MBenga is behind Jason Smith on the depth chart right now.
  • Aaron Gray is active.

Also, I’ll be on the Daily Dime Chat for most of the game, so stop by and say hello if you have a minute.

Thanks to DariusZ for the amazing game day banner!

And don’t forget to check out today’s Bee Bite.

110 comments
L_REAZY
L_REAZY

It's curtains for Belinelli! Peja shoots better than him on a bad day. I remember when Don Nelson drafted this guy and said, "This guy will be a player one day." Well, technically, he is an NBA Player ... just not a very good one. I thought the overseas players could shoot? What's up with this? Monty will end up starting Willie Green at SG soon at this rate, because we know he won't start Thornton. By the way ... would any of you start Pondexter with Ariza? F-West, F-Pondexter, C-Okafor, G-Ariza, G-Paul ? Just curious. Good game J Smith!!! L_REAZY

JayRey
JayRey

Yayyy good win Hornets!!! Big game tomorrow...Smith is gonna have to bring the same A game

Forever504
Forever504

MT is not having a good shotting night

Mark
Mark

I remember 2007 draft analysts predicting the Hornets would pick up Nick Young because we needed some scoring options. I was adamant it would happen, and to this day, I still remember that kid's name and what we could have gotten. For your information, we chose Julian Wright that year.

George
George

Damn haha. If only

mbdtf
mbdtf

I'm liking the bench. However, I can't remember the last time Jack did something productive.

mbdtf
mbdtf

...And he finally makes a jumpshot

JCS
JCS

Gray with the air ball, a turn over 10 seconds later, and then a foul that puts them in the penalty. Please put Smith back in and let him dominate.

peronas
peronas

Gray producing large numbers....? Did he step on a scale?

George
George

Just a little short

mbdtf
mbdtf

Haha Gray with the airball at the line

George
George

Damn, that block brought Smith back down to earth

peronas
peronas

Smith is out of his mind right now.

mbdtf
mbdtf

Marco can't make a shot..

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

I suggested earlier that Mbenga should start, not Smith. Monty, I apologize for questioning you. J Smitty -- early that game day check, baby!

Schmide234
Schmide234

j smith...wtf... ive seen him dribble it twice and score both times and cut like a motha fucka. did he put on some of pauls shoes???

Just A Fan
Just A Fan

I see West is showing again why he's not an all-star.

QueenBee
QueenBee

LOL! Were you around these parts when West was huge down the stretch of the last game against OKC? West has been good for the Hornets all season long. Don't just show up when the guy has a bad game or two in a row ok?

George
George

Once Marcus figures out how to finish those moves he will become an offensive powerhouse

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

What's up fellas..And QueenBee..Just looked at the box score and.......J SMITH!!!!...I know he has a lot of haters to...SHOW EM J

QueenBee
QueenBee

@JaeAmazin-I know right? I was so happy for Jason Smith tonight. It would be great if he can do the same thing in OKC. I'm not putting money on it though. But I would love to be suprised but I don't think I'll hold my breath. LOL!

JCS
JCS

1 minute later he gets called for 3 seconds! Bench him Monty - he's ruining your cred!!

PeeDee
PeeDee

lmao Jason Smith is balling out the gym right now

George
George

Jason Smith is dominating out there

JCS
JCS

Aaron Gray comes in for 30 seconds, fouls McGee as he dunks it on over his head, 10 seconds later gets called for a reach in foul. How pathetic.

42
42

And then what happened?

mbdtf
mbdtf

JASON SMITH!

Forever504
Forever504

MT and CP3 should always wear pads ALWAYS the hit the floor to much

mbdtf
mbdtf

Nice closing to the quarter!

mbdtf
mbdtf

Still not playing the defense that we are capable of...

Diane
Diane

Thanks Ryan - got a feeling that won't last long either.

kibner
kibner

It will last. The US owns the .com, .net, .org, and other domain names. They don't own .tv and I assume .me. Should not be anything to worry about.

Diane
Diane

There will be no more watching Hornets for now. They are blocking it on league pass and atdhe is done for. I still don't know why they are blocking it on league pass cause they didn't last year.

Ryan
Ryan

see my above post.... go to atdhe.me

Forever504
Forever504

man you just have to love the CST announcers calling jason Jwow

Ryan
Ryan

oh yeah...... fellow atdhe.net watchers...................... atdhe.net is now atdhe.me your welcome and that is all........

Ryan
Ryan

Smith is ballin.....

mbdtf
mbdtf

J SMITH THE GOD

Forever504
Forever504

who is this guy in the Jason Smith jersey

peronas
peronas

Oh my. Whose the guy in the Jason Smith suit?!?!

BIGBREED
BIGBREED

Hey guys, pay close attention to some of the WIZARDS players, you just might be looking at a future HORNET!

mbdtf
mbdtf

Nick Young looks like he'd look good in a Hornets uniform.