Game On: Trailblazers at Hornets – Drive Slow

By:
Published: March 30, 2011

Matchup: Blazers (43-31) @ Hornets (42-32)

Off Efficiency: Blazers: 108.6 (10th); 106.1 (20th)

Def Efficiency: Blazers: 106.6 (14th); 104.4 (6th)

The Hornets and the Trailblazers have a lot in common right now beyond their close proximity in the standings. They’ve both been plagued by injuries, sometimes struggle to score, and traded for athletic power forwards at the deadline.  The most remarkable similarity, though, is the pace at which they play the game; they’re two of the slowest teams in the NBA.  The Hornets are 28th in pace, the ’Blazers are 30th.  If Vegas set a line on total possessions, the number for this game would be about as low as it could get.

The Blazers are coming off a Sunday/Monday back-to-back consisting of a tough loss in Oklahoma City and an uninspired win in San Antonio where the Spurs played without Parker, Duncan, Ginobli, or McDyess, and the Blazers still had trouble putting them away.  The Hornets have had a couple of days to rest at home (and really, it looked like they got some rest during the Lakers game, too).  This really could be a deciding factor in the game, especially at this point in the season – to say nothing of the Hornets’ need of the break to adjust their rotations in light of West’s season ending injury.

With Brandon Roy’s knees betraying him and limiting his PT, LaMarcus Aldridge is now the on-court leader for Portland.  He’s always been a great athlete and excellent shooter, but he’s developed more toughness and a far more powerful presence in the paint on both ends of the floor.  The Hornets’ defensive discipline will be crucial against Aldridge; because of the diversity of his game, he requires frequent double teams and smart switches.

Even though Aldridge is the star now, the biggest match-up challenge for many teams this month has been Gerald Wallace.  He’s a  quick, athletic four with great shot selection.  In other words, we need a great game from Landry.  Landry and Wallace might be described as very similar players: offensively gifted power forwards.  Wallace’s acquisition made a bigger splash and a lot of folks consider him a better defender than Landry.  While Wallace might get a lot of steals,  I’d rather have the guy who’s willing to take a bite out of Dirk’s elbow if need be (if you’re doubting Landry’s toughness, watch his nonplussed reaction to losing several of his teeth).  Landry  needs to be able to stop Wallace (or, barring that, outscore him) and be willing to switch on to Aldridge when we need him.

As a certain recently acquired Knick might say, this game (along with all the other games from here on out) is “almost a must-win.” If you’re at the hive tonight, make sure to bring the noise.

Other notes:

  • A win tonight would give us the tiebreaker with Portland, meaning a better shot at seeing the Mavs in the round one.  Of course, given the way the top four teams are playing right now, it’s not inconceivable that the Lakers could trade spots with the Spurs and the Thunder could trade spots with the Mavs in the standings.  Still, let’s win this one, right?
  • Brandon Roy’s back seized up on him in the OKC game and he took some hard fouls in San Antonio, so his already limited minutes may be even more so.  Nate McMillan has been deploying Roy wisely, saving him for situations where the team can use his focus, intelligence, and killer instincts.  Roy is also still capable of short stretches of brilliant defense (just watch Kobe’s game winner over him from the previous weekend—Kobe made the clinching shot despite Roy’s perfect defense on the play)
  • One of the ways the Blazers slow the game down is with the intermittent use of the zone to disrupt their opponent’s offensive flow.  What’s a great way to shred a zone?  A perimeter shooter makes a couple of early threes, forcing the D to play tight on the shooter, opening up lanes for the ball handler to penetrate or distribute.  If Bellinelli or Green can hit some deep shots early, it should help Paul create some easy buckets.  Here’s hoping Marco recovers from his Sunday shooting woes.

This post is courtesy of Scott Carter-Eldred, who won the I am Hornets247 Grand Prize for our donation drive.   It’s nice that the Hornets community produces intelligent fans, yes?  For more of Scott, catch him on the upcoming podcast, where he helps me make Michael look foolish and we have a segment about Quincy Pondexter and his future with the squad.

Notes From the Arena

  • Since taking over as a starter, Landry has averaged 21.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in 37 minutes.
  • A Hornets win would give them the advantage over the Blazers in a tie-break thanks to winning the season series.
  • Hornets are first in the Western Conference in points allowed per game, and the Blazers are second.
  • Monty talked about how he doesn’t talk to Nate McMillan anywhere near as much as he did in the beginning of his season, referring to whether or not the fight for playoff seeding had affected their relationship.
  • David West walked by on a crutch about halfway through the pre-game interview, drawing a question about him. Monty said that you can’t hope to fill David West’s shoes, but instead the team needs to focus on playing better defense in his absence.
  • He talked a little bit about LaMarcus Aldridge’s rise this year to performing as the franchise cornerstone, saying it was unexpected, even within the organization.
  • A Blazers reported asked him about whether or not he would attack Brandon Roy on offense. Monty wouldn’t say.

77 Comments

  1. 42

    March 30, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Nice job, Scott.

    Gotta love a contest where we all win. Really.

  2. Michael McNamara

    March 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I agree with 42, nice to have some fresh blood on these Game On posts. You did a great job on this and hopefully you will be the Anti-Ryan and bring the Hornets some luck! Looking forward to you writing a great recap with a Hornets victory and anticipating you joining the podcast.

    • Ryan Schwan

      March 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Scott isn’t doing the recap. Joe is. So I expect a win.

  3. bgalella

    March 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Great point about both teams suffering through too many injuries, but have to give Portland a lot of credit, the addition of Gerald Wallace may be the most impactful on this playoff season and the Trail Blazers are playing as well as anyone in the league.

    If Emeka Okafor can slow down LaMarcus Aldridge just a little, the Hornets should be able to win this one.

  4. sceldred

    March 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks, guys. It was a great thrill to be able to contribute something! As a Seattle transplant (hence my Pondexter love), I’m glad to be in an NBA city again, especially one with such a great fan site and such smart fans.

  5. coach44

    March 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Good job. You’re hired.

    • coach44

      March 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      That was meant as a compliment. I’m not knocking anybody else.

  6. Ags

    March 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Great post Scott. No reason to question Landry’s toughness ever since he got shot in the leg, nearly bled to death, and crawled his way to help back in his Houston days. Dude is a damn special OPS soldier!

  7. Joe Gerrity

    March 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Excellent post, Scott. I’ll do my best to bring a win home on the recap. I’ve already titled it, actually.

    “Landry Propels Hornets to Big Win Over Trailblazers”

    • Uptown Sammy

      March 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      “Landry Blazes a trail to VICTORY!!!”

    • Gec

      March 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      well said joe 😀

  8. NolaHog

    March 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    BRING THE NOISE TONIGHT!!!

  9. nikkoewan

    March 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Great Recap. Awesome job by hornets247. Here’s to a win!

  10. nicks65

    March 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Didn’t even recognize this was written by fresh blood until I read the comments. Great post!

  11. Hordan

    March 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Nice job. Same what nicks65 said. I had to go back up and clarify this was written by “fresh blood” when i read, “This post is courtesy of Scott Carter-Eldred, who won the I am Hornets247 Grand Prize for our donation drive. “

  12. Diane

    March 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Great work Scot –
    Sorry about taking your team. Some one with ALOT more money than the fans moved that team.

  13. Aussie hornets fan

    March 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    yeah Okafor- nice FG % to start the game!

  14. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Belinelli is off to a great start. Good sign

  15. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I’ll never understand how Gray can pick up fouls so quickly… Marco is the man though!

  16. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Absolutely no defense…

  17. CP3nBrees

    March 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    WHY MONTY WILLIAMS KEEPS PLAYING WILLIE GREEN?

  18. CP3nBrees

    March 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I just realized we only scored 2 points once Green is subbed in.

  19. coach44

    March 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Can someone please explain to me why Marco isn’t in the game?

  20. coach44

    March 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Nevermind

  21. 42

    March 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    For those who don’t know: I hate Rudy Fernandez.

  22. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Missed FT’s becoming a common trend tonight…..

  23. peronas

    March 30, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    FT’s killing us tonight…

  24. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Also, Chris Paul… feel free to put the basketball into the hoop.

  25. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    the fouls that are being called on us in the first half are ridiculous…..

  26. Gec

    March 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    DWest commentating with Gil and Bob, that’s awesome 😀 !
    Please Hornets, play some D and rebound the ball.

  27. CP3nBrees

    March 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Well, at least the 76ers doing some favor for us tonight, up 10 with 4 min left

  28. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Aldridge getting the Kobe treatment

  29. peronas

    March 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Patrick Ewing Jr getting some time!

  30. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Wallace got lit up!!!

    • peronas

      March 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      Then of course Mathews/Miller have to take exception that you know one of them didn’t call out the screen like they should have and take it out on Mek. Idiots…

  31. peronas

    March 30, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    GET THAT OUTTA HERE MEK!!!

  32. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Rockets lost!

  33. 42

    March 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Houston lost.

  34. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    we did a great job in closing out the half on a little run. Can someone tell me why it was Okafor taking the technical free throws. If we can somehow get Paul going then we should be able to create some breathing room… On another note, Houston loss tonight.

    • peronas

      March 30, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      They were flagrant FTs so Mek had to take them since the foul was on him.

  35. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Also, Warriors up 5 on Grizzlies at half.

  36. Gec

    March 30, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Can CP3 show some consistency?

  37. thekeymaster

    March 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    does anyone have a link for the game?

  38. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Glad that we are finally getting the benefit of some foul calls.

  39. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Aldridge posts up on Okafor…foul on Okafor.
    Okafor posts up on Aldridge… foul on Okafor.

  40. lancebrou68

    March 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    there treating aldridge like a god

  41. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Ariza just had to hit the rim….

  42. lancebrou68

    March 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    one time he needs to lay it up he doesnt

  43. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    CP3 playing like he did against the Celtics last time we played them. Similar game too. One of those games where if he could just have an average game, we’d win… He needs to get going on offense!

  44. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    So he finally decides to take it to the rack, and he gets the and 1. Do that more often!!!

  45. seb

    March 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    now lets show some consistency in the 4th quarter!!!

  46. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    There we gooooo!

  47. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I feel kind of bad listening to the opposing commentators criticize the attendance, or lack of.. jason Smith has come out and made a couple of plays right away…

  48. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    WILLIE GREEEEEEN WITH THE DUNK

    • cp3pdx

      March 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      That putback was VICIOUS

  49. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    wowwwwwwwwww… what a put back by Green

  50. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    JACK ABOUT TO KILL RUDY

    • 42

      March 30, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      I’m a step behind you tonight, mbdtf. I salute you.

      • mbdtf

        March 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

        Haha I noticed that as well. I feel honored.

  51. 42

    March 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Kick his ass, Jarrett!

  52. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    JACKKKKKKKK

    • 42

      March 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      I didn’t even try after the bank shot…

  53. Duckathon

    March 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Nice team game by the Hornets.

  54. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Lets close this one out fellas……

  55. seb

    March 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    can we please close this out??!!

  56. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    How is that a foul on Paul?

  57. Gec

    March 30, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    that’s travelling andre miller!

  58. Gec

    March 30, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    are you serious matthews?! Nothing but net from 25f with the hand on his face

  59. mbdtf

    March 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    WINNNN

  60. cp3pdx

    March 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    whew! 6th place

  61. clutch19

    March 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    yessirrrrrr… Big win against a hot team…

  62. peronas

    March 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Well my final 8 game prediction is off to a delightfully terrible start!!! 🙂 good win!

    • 504ever

      March 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      I said the Hornets needed to go 6-6 in their last 12 with a win a over Portland to make the playoffs and possibly get a rest game. They are 3-2 with a win over Portland and looking good for the 6th seed. Portland looks like they will go either 4-3 or 3-4 in their last 7 games. We should be able to get at least 4 wins in our last 7, which put us ahead of Portland. If one win is over Memphis to win that series (we have two games with Memphis left), that would mean our current one game lead over Memphis is really a two game lead. So Memphis would have to win all of their other 6 games to beat us, assuming we go 4-3. We could literally lock up 6th place in the next four home games. (Portland should go 1-4 in that period.)

      So look at the scores and come out to support your Hornets!!!!!!!!!!

  63. JCS

    March 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Very important win.

  64. Gec

    March 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    great team effort, Mek was big evenif he missed a couple of layups. Landry was really attacking and willie with some amazing shot in the fourth!! CP3 had more assists than points, that’s a great win 😀

  65. coach44

    March 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Gil post game comment, “when Paddy Mills had to go one on one with Chris Paul, he became a paddy melt.”

  66. Aussie Hornet

    March 31, 2011 at 9:02 am

    David, awesome write up dude. I was reading it on my phone this morning and assumed it was written by Ryan/Michael/Joe. Then realized it was the I Am Hornets 247 content winner and was amazed. As jealous as I am, I must admit that was quality stuff! 🙂

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