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3-on-3: Previewing Trailblazers @ Hornets
Our writers tackle three questions about today’s game versus the Trailblazers.
1. Which matchup most favors the Trailblazers?
Jake Madison: LaMarcus Aldridge against anyone who guards him. Aldridge is just too athletic for Kaman and Smith, too tall for Landry and too experienced for Ayon to guard.
Michael McNamara: I actually think Portland will showcase their advantage at shooting guard in this game, as Wesley Matthews and Jamal Crawford will prove to be a headache for whomever covers them in the Hornets backcourt. The Hornets crowd the paint, forcing teams to beat them from deep, and I think Matthews and Crawford will be happy to do just that.
Joe Gerrity: Have to agree with Jake here. Aldridge is a matchup problem down low for the Hornets the likes of which they’ve yet to face so far this year.
2. Which matchup most favors the Hornets?
Jake: Jarrett Jack and Greivis Vasquez at point guard–provided they stop turning the ball over. Jack has been leading this team the whole season and Vasquez can provided a spark off the bench. Raymond Felton is fine and all, but he’s not elite and Jack can take him.
Michael: Outisde of the previously mentioned Crawford, and perhaps Batum if he shows up today, Portland really doesn’t have anything that scares you coming off the bench. The Hornets backup bigs should be able to control the boards and provide a spark when both teams go to their reserves. Hopefully it will be enough for a victory on MLK day.
Joe: Home court is big. The Blazers have so far struggled on the road this season. At home they’re 6-1, but on the road they’re only 1-4. The Hornets will need us (the crowd) to show up big today and give them the boost they need to beat a team that on paper is superior.
3. Care to make some predictions about the game?
Jake: I’m going to go out on a limb and say Ayon gets his first start today! Monty has shown he’s not afraid to mix up his rotations and I think he does it again today. As for today’s result, the Hornets will finally get it together in the fourth quarter and grind out a win.
Michael: I think the Hornets will post 20+ turnovers in this game, as the long and athletic Blazers will get into passing lanes and swarm the mistake prone Hornets. This will lead to some easy buckets and a game that gets out of hand rather quickly But on a positive note, more time for Guuuuuuuuussstaaaaavvvvooooooo!!!!
Joe: If the Hornets can get hot from behind the three point line and keep Aldridge from going off, they have a solid chance to win this one. That’s going to be tough. They will also need to stay solid on defense and avoid giving up easy runs like they’ve been susceptible to so far this season. Also, Gustavo will be awesome no matter what happens.