« New Orleans Hornets 2012-13 Power Rankings – Week 1
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Game On: 76ers at Hornets
After an extended layoff, a New Orleans team plays host to a Philadelphia team for the second time in three days.
The Spurs without Ginobili, the Bulls without Derrick Rose, and now the 76ers without Andrew Bynum. The Hornets’ early season schedule has benefited from the misfortune of others, and they took advantage on Saturday night. Of course, New Orleans has been playing without their best guard as well, which makes their 2-1 record to this point even more impressive. Unfortunately, the Hornets will also be without both Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers tonight. Davis is still recovering from concussion-related symptoms, and Rivers sprained his left index finger in practice yesterday.
The Philadelphia 76ers come to town with a record of 1-2, winning their season opener against the Nuggets before dropping two straight to the surprisingly undefeated Knicks. Without Bynum, Philly has been led by the play of Jrue Holiday at point, Dorell Wright on the wing, and Spencer Hawes down low. Additionally, Thaddeus Young has been solid, and with Jason Richardson ailing from a sore ankle, expect Evan Turner to play a major role tonight as well. Player matchups aside, here are my three overall keys to victory tonight.
3 Keys to Victory
1) Defensive rebounding – The Hornets have had a tough time on the defensive glass thus far, ranking 24th in defensive rebound rate. The 76ers, on the other hand, are 9th in offensive rebound rate, an impressive number given the fact that they are without their all-star center. To get the win tonight, New Orleans will have to keep Philadelphia off of the offensive glass. Keep an eye on how effective the Hornets big men are at finding their man when a shot goes up and boxing them out.
2) The Turnover Battle – The 76ers have had some trouble taking care of the ball to this point, as their 16.8% turnover rate ranks 22nd in the league, while the Hornets come in ranked 18th. Given the fact that both teams are among the bottom five in pace through the first week of the season (both were in the bottom seven last year as well), every possession becomes that much more important. Whoever coughs the ball up less should have a good chance to come out on top.
3) Knock down 3s – Remarkably, the Hornets have averaged 17.3 second chance points over their first three games, second best in the NBA, despite the league’s 3rd slowest pace and a 17th-ranked offensive rebound rate. In order to sustain that type of efficiency off of their own misses, New Orleans would likely need to vastly improve its offensive rebounding. I expect that those second chance scoring numbers will decline, meaning the Hornets will have to make up for that scoring elsewhere; I look to their 25th-ranked 3-point attempts per game and their 21st ranked 3-point percentage as a place where that can happen. Look for Ryan Anderson to give the 76ers fits, since Thaddeus Young is the only player on Philly’s roster who should even have a chance of successfully defending him. Anderson is a solid two inches taller than Young, which should allow Ryan to shoot over Thaddeus regularly.
What do you think the Hornets need to do to ensure victory in tonight’s contest?