Game On: Hornets @ Jazz (Live Game Chat)

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Published: March 24, 2011

Matchup: Hornets (40-31) @ Jazz (36-36)
Off Efficiency: Hornets 103.5 (19th), Jazz 105.3 (11th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 101.1 (6th), Jazz 107.2 (24th)

Pace: Hornets 91.1 (29th), Jazz 94.1 (16th)

Standings: Hornets 7th, Jazz 10th (4 games back of final playoff spot)

Hook up the caption, because there are a lot of things that need to be said about these two characters.

Without Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan, a matchup that was once painful to see on the schedule for the Hornets fans has turned into something relatively desirable. Things can’t possibly be as bad as they were before Utah lost it’s two biggest stars, and that’s good news for the Hornets hopes of getting a much needed win.

It’s reasonable to say that the Hornets could go down as being one of the teams that benefits most from the trade that send D-Will packing. At the time, the Jazz were struggling a little bit, but they were still slated to make the playoffs. Their departure from the scene has made life a little easier for the Hornets on their road to the postseason.

These two teams face each other twice in the final 11 games. Considering that since 2005-2006, when Chris Paul and D-Will entered the league, the Hornets have gone 5-15 against the Jazz, and have won only two of ten games in Utah, they must be thrilled not to have two of those 11 must win games against a team that quite simple, had their number. Make no mistake, this Jazz barely resembles the team from a year ago, or even the Sloan-led squad from only a few months ago.

With the loss to Oklahoma last night, the Jazz effectively have lost all hope of making the playoffs. Even if they win their 10 remaining games, an unlikely scenario to say the least, they would still need some help to make the playoffs. Eight place Memphis is on pace for between 45 and 46 wins, and there are still two teams ahead of Utah who currently find themselves out of the postseason picture. So really, they don’t have much left to play for.

Even better? The Jazz are nowhere near full strength, and as we all know there’s no reason to rush back an injured player just to get a worse pick in the draft.

Injuries

Hornets- None

Jazz- Devin Harris (DTD- strained right hamstring), Andrei Kirilenko (DTD- bruised nerve in right knee in loss to Thunder last night), Favors (active- sprained left ankle, DNP against Thunder. My gut tells me he will play a few minutes)

Matchups

Emeka Okafor vs Al Jefferson

Advantage: Even

I have a hard time not giving this to Jefferson, since the guy has been lighting it up lately on the offensive end, but there’s something about big men who only shoot 50% from the floor, that just bugs me. While Okafor is generally unable to create for himself, Jefferson has a hard time not shooting when he gets the rock inside. Hollinger refers to him as a “black hole” for just that. Still, though two players have very similar points per possession, (1.01 for Jefferson, .99 for Okafor), I would prefer Jefferson’s offensive game to Okafor’s.

On defense Jefferson has actually been pretty good this year. He’s giving up only .80 points per possession to his mark, compared to Okafor’s .77, and is the 27th best post-up defender in the league, according to Synergy Sports. Still, Okafor is better in just about all statistical measures, and the eye test confirms it.

Okafor is the 16th best player to qualify in rebound rate, pulling in 18.6% of all available boards, while Jefferson ranks a respectable 42nd with 16.0%. Okafor tops Jefferson on both the offensive (11.6 vs 9.5) and defensive (25.1 vs 22.5) side of the ball.

So far this year Okafor has been unable to get anything going on the offensive end against Utah, scoring only 11 points on 10 shots, whereas Jefferson has scored 33 points on 29 shots. With the health of the rest of the team in question, I would expect Jefferson to throw up 20-25 shots and score an equal number of points. For Okafor I would be surprised if he scored even 10, but should have the advantage on the boards.

Paul Millsap vs David West

Advantage: West

Millsap is a really good player already, and next year this answer might be different, but for now I’m going to stick with my main man D-West. The the two players are very similar in a lot of ways, from the slick jumper to the guile they display under the basket.

Offensively, Millsap has taken some big steps forward this season. He’s increased his usage rate while keeping his efficiency at a high level, and has reduced his turnover rate to a career low. The Utah power forward is actually averaging slightly more points per possession than West (1.01 vs .97), and he’s doing it at essentially the same rate (20.2 vs 21.4 points per 40 minutes). West remains a better free throw shooter, but it’s hard to make the argument that he’s been better on the offensive side as a whole. I would take West’s offense over Millsap’s in any game that mattered, for what it’s worth.

They are similar rebounders as well, with Millsap actually enjoying a small advantage. He grabs 13.9 of available boards, while West takes down 13.2. West performs slightly better on the offensive glass (7.7 vs 7.4), but Millsap grabs more on the defensive end (20.4 vs 18.6). Not much of a difference, and certainly not enough to make up for our next category.

West actually appears to be a better player overall than Millsap because of the work he does on the defensive side of the ball. D-West gives up an average of .8 points per possession to his mark, compared to .91 for Millsap. For those counting at home, that makes West the 80th ranked player in the league, and Millsap the 256th.

Don’t expect anything more to come in terms of analysis. There is no news yet on Harris, Andrei, Favors. Have questions, comments? Ask them in the chat.

There will be a live chat during the game and for 15 or 20 minutes before and after.

Pre-game Notes

  • The Knicks lost again. That makes me happy. Sorry if you’re a Knicks/Hornets combo fan, but after all the CP3 to NY talk from New Yorkers (which still continues on very old posts) I found my distaste for the Knicks comparable to the way I feel about the Yankees and Tonya Harding. I just can’t help but hope that they lose.
  • Check out a recap of the recent Hornets fan event in the Journal Section, and another one in the Hornets forum
  • Recently the site has been a little slower than usual, but we have our Irish Ninja, Niall, doing what needs to be done to make sure we are prepared for the playoffs. Our apologies for any inconvenience that it may cause you or your loved ones.

Those of you who are over 21 (or 18 if you enjoy games with your parents at home in certain states) are welcome to play the Hornets Drinking Game. This is NolaHog’s baby, so I guess that makes it a piglet.

NolaHog- If you read this and respond to any of the guys on the site, or me, we’ll ship you a free Hornets hat as a token of our appreciation for your contribution to the community. Then my liver will sue you.

Here are the rules. I suggest playing with non-alcoholic beer, since Hornets247 obviously does not condone drinking alcohol of any kind, especially in celebration of the Hornets beating down the Jazz. Also, drink=sip.

1.  David West says, “And One!”                                                         1 drink

2.  Ref actually gives DWest the “and one.”                                           1 drink

3.  Chris Paul rolls the ball through the backcourt                                   1 drink

4.  Okafor or Ariza make a free throw                                                   1 drink

5.  Okafor blocks a shot                                                                      2 drinks

6.  Smith, Gray, or Mbenga dunk                                                         2 drinks

7.  Chris Paul does a fake bounce pass                                                2 drinks

8.  Gray makes the “Aaron Gray Face”                                                  2 drinks

9.  Any alley-oop slam                                                                        3 drinks

10.  Chris Paul gets a technical for telling off a referee                            3 drinks

11.  Camera shot of Hornets fans at away games                                  3 drinks

12.  David West makes a three point basket                                        1/2 beer

13.  Announcers say, “Jack Off the Bench (Hornets Bench, etc.).”           1/2 beer

14.  David West dunks over a defender                                                  1 beer

GEAUX HORNETS!

97 comments
L_Reazy
L_Reazy

The Hornets can't catch a break ... let's hope David West can't either! You can add to the list above, "If David West possibly injures himself, and is potentially out for the rest of season ... 10 drinks!" So, what do you think ... Gray and Okafor or Smith and Okafor start together? L_REAZY

nola all day
nola all day

not alot of comments after a great win...i dont blame it we just lost our 2nd best player for the rest of the season and playoffs...very depressing night, however winning the game didnt quite make up for it but it def. put a smile on my face, props to Okafor. Well, this Landry trade is lookin great right about now. We gotta believe, thats all we can do, either believe that West will make a miraculous comeback, or believe the Hornets can really use this as a reason to come together and shock the world. This also may be David West's last game in New Orleans..lets hope and pray that this isnt the case...Our new playoff moto.."Time to shock the world"

cp3pdx
cp3pdx

The circus shots. West's knee. Okafor's prayer. Overtime. WOW. what do we do now??

clutch19
clutch19

Gray is steppimg up and hitting some BIG free throws.. Dont know why he is in the game, BEING A 50 PERCENT shooter. but he is knocking them down!!!!

QueenBee
QueenBee

I refuse to watch this OT. I can't do it. Going to watch Duke/Arizona. Corona not working. LOL.

jib
jib

i cant believe that just went in, karma for D west not getting and one on that dunk! Close this out in ot Hornets!

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

Well ... Okafor at PF ... sends it to OT. Is this his natural position? We'll see! L_REAZY

clutch19
clutch19

wowwwwwwww.. Okafor just made that shot.. we are going to overtime!!!!

clutch19
clutch19

WTF?!!! West just got hurt and it doesn't look good!!!!

jib
jib

Hornets lookin like they can actually close out a game Caption: Sloan: I hope you hate the situation at Jersey Deron: Don't even get me started with The Situation...

Duckathon
Duckathon

Color me unimpressed so far.

clutch19
clutch19

omg.. I am forced to watch the Hornets game on Leaguepass. therefore I have to listen to the Jazz commentators. These guys are really pissing me off. Constantly trying to create a problem between Paul and West. saying Paul is playing disinterested cause he wants to be in new York and how bad of a team we are and will not make the playoffs this year. these guys obviously have a problem with our city and are Pissing me off in the process.....

QueenBee
QueenBee

As long as there is a mute button you never have to listen to those guys. :) We know the Jazz commentators are dumb. I heard yesterday they had a 3 minute conversation on M&M's. LOL!

JCS
JCS

Deron: Poke him in the middle? Jerry: Yea, poke Aaron Gray in the middle and out comes the King Baby. Deron: Mardi Gras in Utah, now that's winning.

paul
paul

Um...what?

paul
paul

cool...I think? Thought we were supposed to win this game! We are not even winning the rebound game!

42
42

don't forget about live chat!

paul
paul

cool...I think?

JCS
JCS

Hey Chicago buddy. In New Orleans they make King Cakes as a Mardi Gras tradition. Each cake has a small plastic baby inside, and the person who gets the piece with the baby has various privileges, obligations, etc.

James Grayson
James Grayson

Haha, I live in Australia, but the drinking age here is 18...so sucked in everyone! Wait...it's not good to drink before the high noon? (9Am here)... Anyways we really need this win, more than usual actually seeing as though Memphis still wins without Rudy Gay and how Houston keeps winning despite having a roster full of misfits. Oh and Denver beats San Antonio, that didn't make me happy.

oc
oc

grayson, im just kicking on from north sydney last night lol. I agree on your point tho, coming off 5 days, we need to put on a dominant performance. Hopefully those 5 days were spent practicing down screens for beli and gettin landry the ball in the post with the 2nd unit. There really is no excuse to play Jack at the 2 (even if he cries about it)

oc
oc

i think the 15 bundy and cokes at alberts (another bar near terrace) whilst listenin to dubstep and watchin the cricket would be a great option for people of all nationalities

42
42

Speaking of Cricket: Can you give me a feel for the level of fame/respect/legend of Sir Donald Bradman around your parts? Does `everyone' know about him? Or is he a `niche' star? Is he Pele? Or is he Beckham?

James Grayson
James Grayson

@42: It's a bar in North Sydney, there's a whole bunch of them and people usually head there on Thursday nights which is sort of the end of the week for most university students.

42
42

Thanks!

James Grayson
James Grayson

Man well played sir, I couldn't go last night as I was working. I did look like a lot of people went though. I assume the usual Terrace exploits were going on?

42
42

I'm sooo loving this peering into the strange Aussie culture . . . What is the Terrace of which you speak? Ha! Really though: Send us a little knowledge.

Bug Marley
Bug Marley

Good thing it’s 5 o’clock somewhere huh? :D

Uptown Sammy
Uptown Sammy

Caption Sloan: "hey Deron!!!! take this coupon to Supercuts for another free haircut" Williams: "thanks Coach, it's time for a fresh cut."

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

lol :-) that dudes whole look is turrible. easily worst tattoos ive ever seen. he may not have the most but his are horrible

Zwie
Zwie

Sloan = "I hope they burn your jersey" Williams = "Ima wear this tie to your funeral old man" or Derron = "Is this Cashmere?" Sloan = "Is this 100% bitch? i mean Cotton?"

QueenBee
QueenBee

I have Corona's in my fridge.

Nik
Nik

SOOooo i feel like DWest will be a major source of our liver problems since if he dunks and gets an and one the drink count will be: 1 1/2 beer + 2 drinks :) haha thats a little rough esp. after chris paul rolls the ball over on the next possesion

Schmide234
Schmide234

i am not 21 or even 18 but i will glady participate in a drinking game. plus according to South Carolina i am 21...

James Online
James Online

The Bees have played ten games in March. In four of those games, Marco Belinelli has played 37 minutes or more. In those games he is shooting 68% overall and 54% on threes, averaging 20 points a game. Those shooting percentages are WAY off the charts. In the other six games, Marco has played 24 minutes or less. In one case, he played only nine minutes (after picking up two quick fouls, not a reason to bench him for the night). In these six games, he is shooting 41% percent from the field and 43% from threes, and averaging 9 points a game. Even the low-minutes games are acceptable, but the team does not capitalize on what Marco brings when playing major minutes. Willie Green off the bench is fine for 12-15, but putting Jarret Jack out there at the two (playing with Paul) is a huge mistake. Marco's defense has been fine. Very few two guards fight to get through/over picks like Marco does. He harrasses opponents before they get the ball, keeping their touches to a minimum. That's what I mean by his effective "prevent" defense. He balances the floor on defense just like he does on offense. With Paul's fall-off in shooting, including threes, Marco is the only legitimate threat from distance and that affects how other teams play the Hornets. Monty's mistake is not committing sufficiently to Belinelli. It's Monty who has been inconsistent. Still time to turn that around, starting tonight.

42
42

Do the longer minutes cause the shooting to improve or the poorer shooting cause the minutes to shrink?

James Online
James Online

Well in the most extreme case, v. Phoenix, Marco was one for two from the floor, a three, and got nine minutes. The statistics should be read as correlational, not causal, that's pretty basic. With greater minutes on the floor, greater accuracy and increased production. Punto.

42
42

I'm not sure you are making sense, or answering the question. That is fine.

m_W
m_W

The phrase "Irish Ninja" may never have been used before. In all of human history. Awesome.

Duckathon
Duckathon

Interested to see how the Hornets come out to play.

QueenBee
QueenBee

We should be captioning that look on Spike Lee's face in that SC Highlight of the Night video. LOL!

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I dont want to be a prisoner of the moment, but I think a loss in this game would be the most disappointing loss of the season for me personally. All this time off, an injured opponent who has not had time to mesh, Monty's tirade towards the team and in the press, a shortened rotation aimed at playoff success, and on and on. This is either the time that these guys kick it into that next gear and become the dangerous team that everyone knows they can be or they just remain inconsistent and frustrate both their coaches and their fan base. They can't just turn the switch back on once the playoffs start, they have to do it today. I am looking forward to seeing how Ariza and Okafor come out tonight as I feel they are the keys to success. January Ariza and Okafor combined with the old CP3, on fire Marco and West having his best year = 2nd best team in the West IMO.

Eric Ingis
Eric Ingis

I agree, plus we NEED this win. We need to get the #6 seed at the very least in order to make some noise and aovid the Lakers in the first round. I dont share the same optomisim as you do concerning Ariza. I think he is a lost cause. As soon as he touches the ball, I hope he plays hot potato and passes it immediately back. He has a low bball iq that takes inefficient off-balanced shots for even great shotmakers and he is nowhere close to being considered a great shotmaker. And I pray he doesnt drive to the basket because 9 times out of 10 it results in a turnover or a wild shot attempt. It is amazing but I feel like I get a little dumber watching trevor ariza play basketball on the offensive end.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Yeah, I'd like to see how Ariza and Okafor come out tonight as well. Because truthfully, neither of those guys have been the same since their injuries. Hopefully the 'rest' outside of practice that is, does them good. Wow. I can't believe the Hornets haven't played a real game in 5 days.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

For me, a loss tonight would still rank behind the epic fail that was the Boston game. That was truly depressing to watch. At least if they lost tonight, I will be in the comfort of my home.

Holy Cow
Holy Cow

Particularly after seeing that an injured Memphis team beat Boston in Boston. These teams we are competing with for the final playoff spots are not going away. I think we are in the very dangerous position of need to be 6 or 8. 7 is no good if the Lakers hold on to the 2 spot.

QueenBee
QueenBee

My gut tells me all so called injured Jazz players will play. ;)

Oc
Oc

Caption: the sexual tension was palpable

Rocco
Rocco

My wife and I are trekking down to Energy Solutions Arena tonight to cheer on the bugs! We'll wave our signs-be sure to wave back :), included a specail Beli-head (Hopefully Marco will do things against the Jazz that will merit its display.) Geaux Pollenators (a.k.a. Hornets)

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Wow, please post a pic of that Beli-head. Geaux Hornets!

42
42

Geaux Rocceaux! That's what we need to be saying!