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!

This post was submitted by Stefan.


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


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.


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

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

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.