Game On: Pacers @ Hornets (Live Game Chat!)

Published: April 3, 2011

Matchup: Pacers(35-42) @ Hornets(43-33)

Off Efficiency: Pacers 101.7(23rd), Hornets 103.8(19th)
Def Efficiency: Pacers 103.3(12th), Hornets 101.8(7th)

It’s tempting to say that the Pacers are just Hornets Lite when you look at their efficiencies.  Yes, the Pacers are a little worse at defense, and a little worse at offense, but there are some fairly significant differences between these teams.  First, the Pacers are a much faster team that relies more on individual brilliance than play execution.  They have one of the lowest assist rates in the league, and take a good percentage of their shots generated at the rim or from three.  Unfortunately for the Pacers, they aren’t so good at finishing these easy shots, posting a middling average on three-point shots and one of the worst field goal percentages in the league at the rim.(7th worst, to be exact)

Even defensively, the two teams operate differently.  The Pacers allow lots of shots at the rim and from three, but contest them well, forcing below average shooting percentages.  The Hornets allow few shots at the rim and from three, but only contest three’s well.  If an opponent manages to reach the rim, the Hornets post one of the league’s worst rates at stopping those shots from going in.

So no.  Different styles.  The Pacers arrive on a three-game winning streak that has all but solidified their spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  They still aren’t, however playing phenomenal ball.  If you look at their offensive numbers over the last five games, they are pretty cringe-worthy.  I guess that is something they have in common with the Hornets.

By the way, 35-42 is good for the 8th seed and 2nd in the Central Division.  Ridiculous.


Hornets:  David West
Pacers:  None

Positional Analysis


Pacers: Darren Collison, AJ Price
Hornets: Chris Paul, Jarrett Jack
Advantage: Hornets
Even with Paul struggling with his shooting, Darren Collison has spent much of his year running hot and cold, and Paul will have several advantages here, even if it won’t be in the scoring column.  Jack is much better than AJ Price, who has failed to live up to the promise he showed last year and is posting pretty weak passing, turnover and scoring numbers, even for a backup point guard.


Pacers: Danny Granger, Paul George, Brandon Rush, Mike Dunleavy
Hornets: Trevor Ariza, Marco Belinelli, Willie Green
Advantage: Pacers
Granger, Rush and Dunleavy are all capable shooters, and though George shoots a lot from deep despite being bad at that, his true value is due to his ability to draw fouls and finish his mid-range shots.  Granger is having a down year, but is still better than anything the Hornets has at the wing, and though the other three aren’t big producers, they are still a better rotation offensively than what the Hornets put out there.

Big Men

Pacers: Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Foster, Josh McRoberts
Hornets: Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry, Aaron Gray, Jason Smith
Advantage: Hornets
Offensively Hibbert is not all he’s cracked up to be.  When a “post-scorer” is managing 1.142 points per shot, that’s an indication you should happily let him catch in the post and shoot.  Defensively, his size is pretty nice, however, and he’s a decent rebounder.   I’d still take Okafor over him, though.  Hansbrough had a nice stretch after entering the starting line-up, but has cooled off considerably since then, and over the last five he’s been downright bad, shooting sub-40% from the field.  His numbers this year are solid due to his ability to draw free-throws, but in the battle of undersized power-forwards, Landry’s just got more scoring talent to work with.  As for the back-up bigs, Foster is still a great rebounder/fouler, and McRoberts is very nicely efficient in his limited minutes off the bench.  I’d take that pair any day over Gray and Smith.

It’ll be fun to see Collison blitzing downcourt, but let’s hope we don’t lose on a tip-in at the buzzer like the last meeting we had with this team.


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