Game On: Hornets @ Heat

The Hornets travel to Miami to face off against the Heat tonight at 7 PM central time on ESPN2 in their final preseason tune-up.

Tonight’s Hornets at Heat game will serve as both teams’ final preseason game and last chance to prepare for the regular season. For the Hornets, Eric Gordon and Jason Smith will sit again, and Austin Rivers will be a gametime decision. Here is what I’ll be keeping a very close eye on throughout the game tonight (that we can finally watch on cable!).

Three Things to Watch

1) Turnovers. The Hornets are coming off of a horrendous 24 turnover night in a home loss to Houston, and have had trouble taking care of the ball all preseason. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they’ll be facing a Miami team that ranked third in the NBA in opponents’ turnover rate last season, forcing them on 15.8% of their opponents’ possessions. This game will be a good final tune-up before opening night, as it should be a stiff test for the team’s ball handlers.

2) The Small Forward position.  At least three of us here at Hornets247 are all aboard the “Darius Miller for starting SF” bandwagon, as he has simply played better than every other available option in the preseason thus far. I don’t think anyone expects him to be a game-changer, but he could fill a similar role for the Hornets offensively as Kawhi Leonard does for the Spurs in his ability to shoot the 3 while minimizing his turnover rate. What I’ll be looking for from Miller tonight is how he holds up against the slightly above average Miami Heat wings. No one expects him to stop LeBron or Wade, but if he can show signs of some defensive potential despite his lack of plus athleticism, it would be very encouraging.

3) Player Rotations. Being that this is the final preseason game, conventional wisdom would lead me to believe that Coach Williams will give extended time to the lineups that he expects to use most frequently. As a result, I’m going to pay close attention not so much to how many minutes each player gets, but instead who is on the court together. Will we see an Anderson/Davis/Lopez lineup? Will Anderson and Davis play together for an extended period of time? It will be very interesting to see how everything plays out.


23 responses to “Game On: Hornets @ Heat”

  1. i hope Vasquez starts playing better in the regular season. Seems like for every good play he makes, he make 3 bad ones. Handling the ball way to much. Thinking to much, guess that will get better when he trust everyone to be where they are supposed to be. The Houston guards would just go right around him at will. I thought Vasquez would have improved from over last year, but that doesn’t seem to be the case; at least not yet.

  2. on positive notes. Anderson looked like he found his shooting rhythm. Lopez looks like he will hold his own. and I’m going to really enjoy watching Davis play and improve, and eventually dominate.

  3. Once you said how Miller could fill in like Leonard you officially had me that he should be starting. Having Aminu on the bench could be good too, Rivers/Mason/Aminu/Anderson/Smith is a nice bench lineup. Starting with Vasquez/Gordon/Miller/Davis/Lopez could potentially give Davis and Lopez an easier time in the post cause of the mid-range 3 point threat from the 1 to the 3. I like this! Once we cut down the turnovers, we will be a threat! Geaux Hornets! Hoop Dat!

  4. Half time and I’m pretty happy so far. Aminu looks super aggressive. Also, rivers floater is a killer. Davis is davis, and the rotation is really smooth.

    • Lopez has played much better this preseason than advertised. He is still limited, but appears to be playing within those limits so far. I wonder if he will get more floor time in the season than any of us anticipated …

      • He is a solid paint-clogger and paired with Davis there isn’t going to be a lot of out rebounding us.

  5. As someone who doubted the Lopez signing, he’s been terrific in preseason. I’d pay 6m happily what he’s given us

  6. That was an impressive win–especially with the minutes James, Bosh and Wade logged. AD, Anderson, and (yes for real) Aminu & Lopez were very hungry tonight. Nearly everyone contributed solidly. If we can learn a few things about what works from this game, it could really help team chemistry and execution. I think it will already help our confidence.

  7. There were news reports about Lopez being injured in Phoenix. That explains his limited minutes and production. We are looking at a healthy Lopez now. Theres a reason the rebounding numbers are so good. Also I dont know why everybody is coming downon Gordon like it is up to him to be playing. Thats the coaches decision! There were alot of turnovers tonight but it was a FANTASTIC effort from every Hornet that played. Cant wait until Wednesday Night at the Hive!

    • I dont know why everybody is coming downon Gordon like it is up to him to be playing.

      Because it is up to him whether he sucks it up and says he feels fine (like AR did with the ankle) or whether he wimps out and goes pudding.

    • Too early to say. If, though, he is as injury prone, there’s still one big difference: AR was back out on the court even though his joint was certainly still a bit tender, unlike the $58.4M pudding.

  8. If you read anything that was posted about Gordon, you will see that he says it feels fine but it’s up to “them” meaning the coaching staff keeping him out as a precautionary measure and conditioning. Also, there is no way you can compare a guy who had arthroscopic surgury on a knee to someone who had an ankle sprain that turned out not to be that bad. Its preseason going into a 82 game season; Not the playoffs. Relax!

  9. First we need to commend Coach for doing a good job of preparing this group of young bucks post CP3… But the Unibrow is the real deal being compared to Tim Duncan but I think he will be a much better ball handler.. so what does that mean..

    And if you saw the game they were impressive…… once they get accustomed to each other we have something… EG will add another dynamic allowing Rivers time to play but also watch coming off the bench… And the good thing he isn’t another rookie nor is the returning Jason Smith… Plus once Miller learns the offense things will get better..

    But if Davis starts having Miller in there might add to his transition… but a coaching call..

  10. We’ll see what happens during the season. Im definitely have no ill feelings towards Gordon. If healthy he will be worth the money.

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