Game On: Hornets @ Blazers (and Juicy Rumors!!)

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Published: February 16, 2011

26 PPG, 9.8 rebounds, 53% FG, 81% FT, 40 MPG, 20 shots per contest- those are LaMarcus Aldridge’s numbers in 2011. If there is a hotter player in the league right now, I don’t know of him, and consequently his team is one of the hottest in the league as well. Portland enters this game with a league-high five game winning streak, and have won 11 of 15 overall. Less than three weeks ago, the Blazers were six and a half games back of the Hornets, but with a win tonight they would actually pull percentage points ahead of New Orleans.

While the Blazers are clearly on their way up, the Hornets have been reeling as of late, due in part to injuries, but Monty Williams will not let the team off that easily, and truthfully the problems extend far beyond the injury report. The offensive sets have been stagnant and the team has settled for jumpers far too often. Defensively, rotations simply aren’t being made and the team is just not being as physical as they were earlier in the season. Okafor will help tremendously, but he won’t be in there tonight, and the Hornets cannot simply afford to continue to lose games waiting for him to come and save them.

When the Hornets Have the Ball:

There is good news and bad news for the Hornets with this matchup. The good news is that the Hornets love to fire away from the perimeter and Portland will allow you to do that. The bad news is that the Hornets have been horrible from the perimeter on the road as a team. In each of the match-ups against Portland, the Hornets drained eight three pointers, which is almost 3 more than their season average. Marco Belinelli, especially, has enjoyed playing against Portland, as he has combined to go 8 of 11 from deep in the two games and is averaging 16 points on just over 8 shots per contest.

Willie Green has also faired well against the Blazers this year, taking 20 shots and connecting on 12 of them, averaging 15 PPG. Portland is so concerned with protecting the interior of their defense, that they are willing to concede jump shots and that is why it is imperative that Chris Paul regain his confidence for the Hornets to steal this game tonight. Shots will be there and probability states that at least 2 of the 4 wings will hit their shots tonight, therefore both Paul and Jarrett Jack will be tipping points in this contest.

When Portland Has the Ball:

Portland has no shame in the fact that they run some of their plays over and over again to the point of exhaustion, but when nobody can stop it, why should they adjust? Expect to see an elbow pick and pop at least a dozen times tonight between Miller and Aldridge, along with several cross screens that will get LaMarcus the ball on the left block. So far this season, West has done a terrific job on Aldridge, holding him nearly 10 points below his season average, and forcing him to shoot under 35% from the field. Aldridge is a different player now than he was in November, however, so don’t expect him to post another 4 for 14 performance.

Wesley Matthews has also been playing at an entirely different level since Brandon Roy left the lineup. He’s been averaging over 18 PPG since becoming the full-time starter and is one of the most consistent and proficient three point shooters in the league. Oddly, however, he is shooting much better on the road than he is at home ( 46% FG, 45% three-point on road vs. 41% and 34% at home), so perhaps the Hornets will catch a break tonight with Portland’s number two scorer.

Other News and Notes:

– Blazers are 19-5 this season when scoring 100 or more points. Since Emeka went out, allowing over 100 points has become common place. Hornets have to change that to get a win tonight.

– Don’t read Marc Stein’s column today on Bill Simmons interview with David Stern (who quite candidly talks about the NBA/Hornets situation), just go straight to the source and listen to the podcast, which was amazingly entertaining (as is anything Simmons does). First of all I don’t know how Stein has the nerve to take another man’s interview and steal a column out of it, but more importantly, he just twisted Stern’s words and used them out of context to get more reads. I am tempted from time to time, as a writer, to do this as well, but I actually like looking at myself in the mirror because I am quite a handsome guy, or so my mother tells me.

– Rumors abound about the Hornets looking at several players, including JR Smith from Denver, a big man from Portland, Troy Murphy, and Antawn Jamison (if they are bought out). Checked into some things on my end and this is what I got back:

– From both contacts in front offices, they confirmed it was true that Hornets were among the most active, but their assets aren’t very valued around the league. Teams are interested in first round picks and the Hornets don’t have one this year and aren’t willing to give up unprotected future picks. Several teams are interested in an unprotected 2013 or 2014 pick from the Hornets (b/c they assume CP3 is going to leave) but Demps is not willing to do that right now.

– Antawn Jamison will not be bought out. I am told by someone I trust more than I trust myself that the chance of that happening is “less than zero”

– Demps would feverishly go after Murphy and might even be willing to negotiate multiple years if Murphy was open to it. The question is whether Murphy would choose the Hornets over teams that most believe have a better chance of competing this year.

– Offer for JR Smith would include either Marco or MT5, depending on Denver’s preference. Will only happen after Denver has agreed on trading Melo, if at all.

– Hornets are 5 point underdogs and the over/under is 183. No clue how to bet this one, so since I have been wrong so often this season, I will pull a George Costanza and say the opposite of what I really think- take the Hornets and the over. Enjoy the Game!

85 comments
Hornetsky
Hornetsky

After the ASW break I can see they have 4 "winnable games" (LAC, Minny, Hou and Tor). But hey, these hornets have already lose to some of them. Even the warriors have a chance to bump us out of the playoff picture. If we keep losing to these teams we'll be lottery bound. Arrrrggh. Oh and goodbye CP3.

R.I.P. PeeDee
R.I.P. PeeDee

Chris Paul has been playing like Derrick Fisher lately and its really pissing me off...he hasnt been in attack mode in a long time...

Andrew
Andrew

come on Hornets, let's get it together

MaxJD_Nola2NYC
MaxJD_Nola2NYC

<---- Just broke stuff as promised SMH CP3 can't close games out! And why did we steer away from West we should have used him like they used LA...

nola all day
nola all day

Time to start workin the phones Demps...unless u want CP to leave

JNR
JNR

Are we not trying anymore? Because that's what it looks like. It just looks like we don't care. And for someone who cares about this team so much, it hurts to watch.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

new rule, i wont watch hornet games without emeka until the fourth when we blow it or i know i didnt waste all my nite

Gec
Gec

embarassing. They do a single pass and find the open man for an easy shot. Jack can't defend his shadow, Hornets don't help eachother, don't attack the basket, don't have any energy. We are going to end up 7th or 8th at best if we continue to play like this

Hornetsky
Hornetsky

dude if we continue playing like this were gonna be fighting for the 10 th spot.

PeeDee
PeeDee

i guess im bout to kill myself :(

mbdtf
mbdtf

I've never seen CP3 play this badly. Ever.

lancebrou68
lancebrou68

sorry to say but chris paul is not in the top 5 in pgs anymore

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

He's still the best PG. He's just injured and struggling. Wait til after the all star break. God I wish he'd decide to just skip it.

Gec
Gec

third layup missed in the third, no effort and energy, no answer to their zone and CP3 doing nothing.... Oh god

mbdtf
mbdtf

Great defense in that 2nd quarter. That's what we need to do EVERY quarter!

mbdtf
mbdtf

That was possibly goaltending and definitely off Aldridge. The crowd boos so they give it to Portland anyway.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

That's like the 10th wide open three Marco has allowed tonight now.

JS
JS

Yea losing to Cleveland tonight...That says it all...Jeez Dwest looked clueless on defense on that last Blazer possession

JS
JS

Yea our defense has been so bad..No one does look like they want to play

mbdtf
mbdtf

Our defense is atrocious.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Thank god the Lakers are so terrible right now that they make the Hornets terrible play lately a back-story.

mbdtf
mbdtf

CP3 is not interested at all..

JS
JS

I dont think Ariza should be allowed to dribble...Why does he think hes Wade going to the basket?!?

Uptown Sammy
Uptown Sammy

Chris Paul isn't interested in being there....no energy

mbdtf
mbdtf

Damn we are looking absolutely terrible.

JCS
JCS

Smith starting over Gray was an excellent decision.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Been mulling this possibility all day. Before I start, since so many of you think I'm a "Marcus Hater" as I was dubbed one by Doghouse, I want to make it COMPLETELY clear that I actually think Marcus is better than JR Smith. Marcus attacks the basket more, and he plays harder than JR does, and though he has shown some attitude, I don't see the personality issues in him that I see in JR. That being said... From Denver's point of view: Marcus Banks and Marco Belinelli? Or Marcus Banks and Marcus Thornton? IF they are looking to change the culture of their team, which they might try since they had so many character issues til now, it makes sense for them to ask for Marco Belinelli in this deal. Marco gives them a shooter to help space the floor with the newly acquired players, and will be a decent guy off the bench behind Afflalo. But if Denver chooses Marcus, they actual save a little over $1 million THIS season. AND they upgrade the back up shooting guard position. The cleared cap space won't make a difference this summer regardless if both guys bolt and find new teams. My guess is that they will PROBABLY ask for Marcus. My opinion of the deal is that I am NOT for it. But I needed to consider it from the point of the Hornets. WHY would we do this deal? I really only see one reason. It's been noted numerous times now that Chris Pauls 3 closest friends in this league are Jarrett Jack, Rudy Gay, and JR Smith. My HONEST opinion... I HAVE to think the CP is behind this in some way shape or form. From our end, it really isn't an upgrade. It's actually a HASTLE. So what if this isn't Demps decision? What if CP is telling Monty and Dell... Bring me JR and I stay? Imagine that from CP's point of view? Having Jarrett Jack and JR Smith on his team for long term, and with a few more pieces added to further improve the roster... Why would CP leave? His friends will be here. He'll have a good team built around him. It just seems like to me that the Hornets are making moves to APPEASE Paul. I still don't think we made the trade to "ACQUIRE" Jarrett Jack for his talents. I really think we did it for cap relief and to make CP happy. I think the same is going to happen with JR. So I ask you all... Two years from now... Would you rather have CP and JR, OR Jack and Thornton as your starting guards?

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

Ziko, I thumbs up'd this post. What's funny about this is my GF had just been talking about this literally 2 minutes prior to reading this. You shed a VERY well thought out light on the subject. I have to give you props. Let's be honest. If CP3 can get JR to care AT ALL, then we could have ourselves a steal. Let's be honest. We can enjoy MT5 on another team. I root for Indy. I can't hate a Melo, JR, Billups, Jones, Kmart-less Denver. Let's be honest. Watching those 360 reverse layups and 12 foot fastbreak dunks in person would be pretty cool.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

Thanks Doghouse. If Marcus gets traded to Denver, I hope the Nugs trade Melo for Bynum. I'd root for Denver BIG TIME if I saw them have a lineup of Bynum. Nene. Afflalo. Thornton. Billups. That be pretty damn good for them.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

I'll be on the Daily Dime Chat if anyone wants to stop by.

Oc
Oc

I want a big but irrational or not JR gas been my favorite player in the league since he entered it, Monty may be able to straighten him out a bit??

peronas
peronas

Mek was out in warmups shooting around... looked good can't wait to get him back!

L_REAZY
L_REAZY

The defense thing was sort of my sacarcastic way of stating that neither of them (J.R. or Marcus) are good at it anyway, so to say JR is a better defender than MT5 isn't saying much. I just stated it before anyway could try and make a case for MT5's defense over J.R.'s. '....Steven', dawg, we need more scoring bruh. Plain-and-simple. J.R. will give that more often than Marcus. As for his attitude ... I just don't think J. R. liked Byron Scott, and he wouldn't be the first player to feel that way (Jason Kidd & Baron Davis). He, CP3, and David West are friends. Furthermore, Monty Williams has a better personality than Coach Scott; one that younger players respect more! J. R. will be find as a Hornet, and he might surprise people with his ability of being a possible 'closer'. L_REAZY

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

someone please give me some stats of points scored per minute i guarentee marcus has better numbers

George
George

If Marcus is involved in the trade for J.R. Smith talks I would be very upset. I think J.R. and Monty would clash heads more than Marcus and Monty. Troy Murphy however, is a perfect fit in my opinion. I would give up Marcus for him in a heartbeat.

Sincerely Yours96
Sincerely Yours96

I like JR but hope we dont deal MT for him. He doesnt even fit into our system so idk y we wud want him. If we are willing to deal for JR i wud really like K-Mart. That wud take a lot of contracts but not necessarily any vital pieces. Besides Kenyon, i only want either Melo or Lawson from the nuggets

JaeAmazin
JaeAmazin

Yea People..MT is Nice..But JR is the Shit..But We need To shake things up..We're playing Like shit right now..A big man is not the answer..Our Wings need to Get Consistent..But we Always play good against Good teams..So Im Expecting A Win Tonight!!.......Hornets All Day Bitches

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

This is why I don't want JR. He may have some skill, but his baggage and attitude are horrible. Even the fans who appear to like him use low-class language. I agree that we need to go for high-character guys, which in general means minimal tattoos and no taunting whenever you happen to make a shot....

Dontae
Dontae

I hope the Bees can get a win. I think David West has a big game because he can big man Aldrige all day. If Willie Green gets 20 I think we win this game by about 10. That's my prediction. Hornets by 10.

natsthecat
natsthecat

David West may be in for a little surprise. LaMarcus was just learning his moves in the game against the Hornets in Portland. I was at the game and he missed an incredible amt of close to the basket shots....because this was NEW to him...he was learning. Not any more. And another thing the Hornets don't have going for them tonight...Ken Mauer isn't officiating this game. The Hornets got to the basket 30 times last game in Portland. The Blazers amazingly (NOT) only got to the basket 14 times. Mauer HATES Portland for some reason.

lancebrou68
lancebrou68

well i hear dell is looking for multiple players a scorer and a big men

JS
JS

I like the idea of Murphy better than JR because he can space the floor well with his 3 point shot and he isnt a black hole like many you have said about JR. He seems like he will buy into the system and he is a great rebounder something the Bee's have been lacking during this stretch without Mek

lancebrou68
lancebrou68

how can anyone refuse a player like jr. after what we've seen the last 2 weeks i believe we're 26th in offense imagine how we would be with jr. with an average offense and a great defense if monty can make dw play defense then why cant he with jr. i know he has an attitude but monty is a no non-sense type of coach and i dont think dell would make this if he thought it couldnt help he also brings energy and more athleticism in addition to ariza especially with him running the floor and getting highlights he would definitely be helpful. also he is a 6 year vet that was taking out of high school he's only 23 or 24 and he was runner up or third the last 2 years in the sixth man award

StatusCP3
StatusCP3

What's up yall. New to hornets247.. but huge Hornets fan... All good comments so far.. and im with you PeeDee.. we better win tonight. What caught my attention in this article was Rumors abound about the Hornets looking at several players, including JR Smith from Denver, ****a big man from Portland,*** ** We can't deny it.. were a solid team with Okafor in the paint.. but with out MeK... Gray, Smith and Mbenga leave a lot to be desired!!

paul
paul

well...they are all back ups. As such, they are what they are. If you are offering another possibilty, what is it? Most starting center do out perform their back ups. However, like 42 above, the real long term position to solve is elsewhere. At guard. In fact, IF I could wish, I would wish not for a change at center, but for a real good shooting guard and a good, playsetting off the bench guard. This is addressing the real serious issue with this team right now towards the season finish line.

PeeDee
PeeDee

has anyone ever seen David West take a charge? Random but thats just something thats been disturbing me lately...

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

It's hard for guys like him to take a charge. He's got so much power in his lower body. He can't fall. I have the same problem. I had a 6'7, 240 lb guy run into me, and I took the charge, but I cant fall. Can't even fake it. I've got really good balance but can't get a charge call worth a damn. Because of that, I get blocking calls called pretty often. Guys with more upper body strength than lower body strength have an easier time taking charges, like Derek Fisher. Here's a new question. Anyone see DWest get blocking calls get called on him? I have.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

LoL. I think you missed the point there Thunder. He doesn't want to get in foul trouble because he has a hard time taking charges and not getting called for blocking fouls.

Thornton's Thunder
Thornton's Thunder

AgentZiko, sorry dude, but that's nonsense IMO! Trust me, DWest could definately take a charge if he wanted, problem is he never places himself in any position to take one; generally he moves out of the way prior to!! I've always felt that DWest is overly concerned with getting too many fouls, and the result is...well...!

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

nope, we have to take baby steps with dwest. Hes never been a give it your all player (except offensively), its amazing someone actually got him to play defense this year. And you can tell hes actually trying to rebound. but on a side note hes the only player i cant think of trying to take a charge for us, but in his defense charges look like they probably hurt

PeeDee
PeeDee

everybody else big men step up and take charges but Dwest.....Teams know this thats why they attack the rim so hard we hes under there..either he going to foul or give up a easy bucket