Best 1st Round Matchup

Published: February 26, 2011

As of today, the Hornets sit at the 5th spot in the Western Conference, but they’re only 2.5 games ahead of the 9th spot as well. The Mavs will be impossible to catch for 2nd in the Southwest Division, so our obvious ceiling as far as playoff seeding goes is the 5th spot. Assuming the current top 4 teams stay up there, what would be the best matchup for the Hornets?

Possible Matchups:

LAL Lakers

SA Spurs

OKC Thunder

DAL Mavericks



I would hate to see us face the Lakers. They couldn’t have enough “internal” problems to give us a chance of beating them in a 7 game series. Size can’t be taught, and the Lakers certainly have a height advantage over us. Surprisingly, Lamar Odom has been the Hornet killer for a while now. Odom basically renders David West ineffective, while scoring at will on the other side of the court. I just foresee the same problems continuing if we end up facing the Lakers (most likely at a 3/6 seed first round matchup).


Yes, I believe we still are the only NBA team with 2 wins against the Spurs, but that doesn’t in any way give us a chance of beating them in the first round. I don’t expect us to fall to the 8th seed without any significant injuries happening to us, but the Spurs would kill us if we had to see them in the 1st round. They have already completely destroyed us this season. Just like the Miami Heat beat up on crappy teams on sheer talent, the Spurs would end up doing the same thing to us. We could win a game or two in the series, but don’t expect us to have a real chance. Let’s also not forget how Ginobili has destroyed us this season too.


If you asked me a week ago, I would have told you that I would love to see a Hornets-Thunder 1st round match up. Unfortunately, the days of David West abusing Jeff Green in the post are over. With the acquisitions of Mohammed and Perkins to the front line, the Thunder have fixed their biggest weakness where the Hornets used to have an advantage. Look at it this way: The 4th big off the bench for the Hornets is Aaron Gray, while the 4th big for the Thunder is Nick Collison. Yeah, you know Nick Collison. The guy we all thought would make a great 3rd big of our bench not too long ago. Scary. Russell Westbrook is also one hell of an athletic point guard (I still don’t like him though) who just draws too many free throws alongside Durant. With Paul’s loss of quickness, I don’t like the PG matchup either. I’m not saying that Chris Paul won’t outplay Westbrook, but I don’t want Paul to get beat on pure athleticism either.


Finally, this leaves us with the Mavericks. They have also become scary good, but this is the one top 4 team I can see us beating in the first round. David West has had his way with Dallas over the years (thanks Dirk), and Chris Paul gets to eat Jason Kidd’s lunch in this matchup. Dallas just doesn’t present us with that one lopsided matchup like the other teams do.

I don’t like the the Thunder’s bigs against us. The Spurs are simply the best team in the league, and the Odom/West matchup is frightening. Dallas doesn’t have that.

Kidd vs Paul? I LOVE that.

Nowitzki vs West? It’s always a great show that ends in West slapping & Nowitzki flopping.

Chandler vs Okafor? Another exciting matchup to two great centers.

The Mavs will have an advantage at the wing positions on offense, but nothing we can’t overcome.

I want to see the Mavs in the first round.

Bring it!


  1. Michael McNamara

    February 26, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Great breakdown, although I disagree that the 5th seed is the ceiling- the Hornets are creeping up on OKC and have an easier schedule moving forward. Portland and Denver are also on 3.5 behind OKC for the division and both have been playing well as of late.

    Is it likely that they catch OKC for the division? No. Is it possible? I think so. OKC’s big intangible was team chemistry and now they are completely reconfiguring their front court. Meanwhile , if we have one more winning streak we can catch them for 4th (only 2.5 back as of now). It will be tough because they have the tiebreaker agains us, but it is possible.

    All that said, I love this piece and I even think you could do a part 2 with Denver and Portland as possibilities as well.

    • 42

      February 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

      Actually, and I hate this about the NBA playoffs, to be in the top 4 you have be a divsion champ (which is a practical absurdity at this point since we’d have to have the Spurs lose 15 more than us to start talking tie-breakers ) or have the best record among non-division champs in the conference. The latter means we are chasing Dallas. We need Dallas to lose 9 more than us start talking tie-breakers, which will almost as crazy as the San An thing.

      However, record, not seeding, determines the home-court, so a 5 seed can ‘look’ exactly like a 4 seed should. The brackets treat them the same. I hate that, actually.

      • Michael McNamara

        February 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

        As long as the right team gets home court, who cares what seed they are given? If Hornets and OKC matchup and the Hornets are 50-32 while OKC is 49-33, they can get the title of poppy seed for all I care as long as Game 7 is in New Orleans.

      • 42

        February 26, 2011 at 11:35 am

        Same page, Mr. McNamara. Same page. I think

        And THAT is why I ate the seeding rules: They are a farce.

        They are centered on ensuring the teams with the 2 best records in each conference can only meet in the conference finals. If you think the regular season record is such a big deal, eliminate divisions or eliminate the playoffs . . . oh, wait, that’d cost money.

        Gimme the prize (*Freddie Mercury voice* *Brian May riffing*), call it what you want (*Jeff Keith voice*).

        Yeah, I like Tesla, and I saw them live in the last 2 years, so what?!?! I’m ok with that! I’m ok with that!!!

      • Stefan

        February 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

        Sorry if that wasn’t clear, but we can catch the Thunder record-wise. However, thanks to the stupid NBA rules, we’re still the 5th seed unless we catch up to Dallas.

  2. Kirk

    February 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I disagree with alot of things….we can def. Become a 4 seed because we are only 2.5 games behind okc nd I believe we can beat okc….everyone says okc got a whole lot better but I’m not sure if I agree…..yes they did get better defending but they lost some offense in Jeff green and Perkins is not a scorer at all ( alot of people ignore that….I also believe we have a CHANCE to beat the spurs…I like the way our bigs match up against them and when we played them during the season it was either us dominating them or it was them dominating us….the season series was pretty equal….the only team we have no chance of beating is L.A

  3. jgman

    February 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I agree with you about Dallas, they have a knack for blowing it in the playoffs in recent years and we always play great games against them. But I actually think we could stand up to the Spurs. I don’t think we’ll drop to 8th, but you said they destroyed us earlier this season but if you don’t remember, we destroyed them, handing them a 96 to 72 loss, that is something no other team has been able to do and is their worst loss of the season. I think if we see them in the first round CP3 and DW will want revenge for beating us in game 7 in New Orleans back in ’08. Its funny but the two teams I think we match up best against are in our division. Third i would give to OKC, They would be probably the toughest matchup that we have a chance of winning but we still have a chance. And I just despise the Lakers, and even going to Lakers’ games against us is unbearable. Last time we had a chance of beating them without ariza or mek, then kobe hit a transition 3 and it was put away, and there were chants in the arena for KOBE! That’s just infuriating, its supposed to be a home game for us, not them.

    • 42

      February 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Only you will get this, but I’ve eaten a few wraps at The Feve.

      • jgman

        February 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm

        wow no way, how do you know oberlin?

      • 42

        February 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm

        One of my friends went there for Drama, late 90’s. I visited.

        I like the buffalo chick wraps. The hot ones had a funny name like offensive. Do you remember what it was?

        Oh! Oh! Masochistic! That was It!

        I have a special place in my heart for it for a few reasons, like the Feve, so I deal with folks like Liz Phair more than I care to. Big Bogosian fan.

        Little known facts: John Heisman coached there for a time, which is hilarious given the football struggles there. The Yeoman were undefeated in his rookie coaching season.

      • jgman

        February 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        haha yea there are so many little crazy facts about this place. I play on the soccer team here which actually isn’t that bad, this year we missed the conference tournament in a three way tie breaker.

        It is a big change from New Orleans, but i kinda love it here.

  4. lancebrou68

    February 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    is it just me or does this season series against san antonio remind u of the 07-08 season just roles are reversed. in the regular season of that series we split them just like this one and both wins and losses were by blow outs in favor of the home team. now also we can play them in the second round of the play offs going down to the wire and since san antonio won game 7 at the hive its only rite that we beat them in san antonio

    • Stefan

      February 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      In 07-08, San Antonio was the 7th seed & came back to beat us in New Orleans for game seven after we blew them out the first two games. Now that they’re the 1st seed AND the beat team in the league, I cannot see us winning the entire series.

      I probably sound very pessimistic in this post huh?

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