Game On: Kings @ Hornets – the Prodigal Son Returns

Published: March 12, 2011

Matchup: Kings(15-48) @ Hornets(38-29)

Off Efficiency: Kings 100.2(26th), Hornets 103.2(20th)
Def Efficiency: Kings 106.4(19th), Hornets 100.6(5th)

Right before the All-Star break, Tyreke Evans finally gave in to the plantar fascitis in his foot that had been plaguing him all year and sat down for three weeks. A few days after the All-Star break, the Kings acquired Marcus Thornton. It proved to be a good match.

Tyreke Evans plays the same way Dwayne Wade does. He dominates the ball, attacks the rim, over dribbles, and the only set plays he’s interested in get him the ball on the perimeter, and then set screens for him to score off the dribble. Marcus Thornton, of course, is the same sort of offensive player too, except he’s a better deep shooter and much, much worse at drawing fouls.

The result, of course, is Marcus Thornton helping the Kings not miss a beat by letting them play the same familiar brand of basketball they have done all season. Now, whether that’s good or not is severely debatable. (McNamara is screaming “No!!!” off in the distance) The result is a 1-7 record since Thornton has arrived.

Anyways, as to the actual game, the Kings are Golden-state like in their approach. You have no idea what play they are going to run next, because they break plays freely, don’t actually know which play they’ll run next themselves, and most of the team is only interested in getting their hands on the ball and shooting, shooting, shooting. That happens to be the sort of offense that can crack the Hornets carefully executed defense. Sometimes Chaos Wins. (Sounds like a Fantasy novel title)


Hornets: None
Kings: Evans is Out, Udrih is probable(wasn’t with team yesterday due to illness)

Positional Analysis

Going to do this a little differently.  Not a significant change though.

Point: Paul v Udrih
Advantage: Hornets
Paul comes back from his concussion tonight with almost a full week of rest under his belt, and will play either against Udrih, who is recovering from illness and missed practice yesterday, or Luther Head. Udrih has a history of going off against the Hornets, but he’s a Jarrett Jack style point guard, more interested in finishing(which he can do well) than distributing. Head is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. Paul is the complete package, whether he comes out aggressively shooting or not.

Wings: Belinelli and Ariza v Buckets and Francisco Garcia
Advantage: Kings
This one is a hard one to call. Belinelli has been playing great since the departure of Thornton, but Ariza still looked injured in the last game and went 0-10. Thornton and Garcia are both very good offensive players, and though their defense is awful, if only Belinelli is punishing them for their lapses, this goes in favor of the Kings. Oh, by the way, I have no idea if Green or Belinelli will start this game. I went with Mama Mia after flipping a coin.

Big Men: Okafor and West v DeMarcis Cousins and Samuel Dalembert
Advantage: Hornets
Dalembert shuts down Okafor, but shuts himself down offensively by being terrible. West scores freely on either big men. Cousins either sucks or dominates in the post, depending on his effort that night. Since Cousins is having a down month and getting the ball much less with gunners like Udrih, Thornton and Garcia on the perimeter, I’m very comfortable calling this in favor of the Hornets.

Jack, Landry, Green, Gray, Pondexter v
Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, Jermaine Taylor, Pooh Jeter
Advantage: Hornets
The Hornets have solidified their rotation for the playoffs at eight men with Gray or Pondexter getting minor situational minutes. This may actually be the strongest bench the Hornets franchise has ever sported. Considering where they were a year ago, that’s pretty amazing. With Landry leaving the Kings, the two players to benefit the most have been Thompson and Casspi, who took over Landry’s minutes and have been playing fairly well. Those two guys do give their bench some offensive punch and rebounding, but defensively, Thompson fouls way too much, and last game Casspi lost his man four times in the same corner on simple back-door cuts. I mean, do it once, okay. Twice, maybe, but four times? In a quarter?

Not scary.

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