Game On: Hornets @ Pacers

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Published: November 21, 2012

The Hornets kick off a four-game road trip by going against the toughest defense in the league on the back end of a back to back.  Oh, and no Anthony Davis.

What a difference a week makes.  After a couple horrible shellackings by top-tier teams everything seems a little more half-empty than half-full at this point.  Still, despite the Pacers having the best defense in the league, (allowing 98 points per 100 possessions) this game is winnable even without the Hornets star rookie, who is out with a hurt ankle.

The Pacers may be entering this game with a furious defense that contests shots better than any other, but their offense has been awful, as they are sporting the third worst offensive efficiency and averaging only 96.5 points per 100 possessions.   What’s more, the Hornets have been being cut apart by teams sinking shots from the perimeter – and while Indiana takes a lot of shots from that range, they only hit 30.1% of those shots, good for fourth lowest in the league.

The Pacers will also struggle to take advantage of another major Hornets weakness:  They are the worst team in the league at forcing turnovers.  Their defense is predicated on tough contests, forcing mid-range jumpers, limiting fouling, and cleaning the boards.  They simply do not, however, get steals.  That’s a relief for this Hornets squad which gives out more turnovers than a bakery.

On the flip side, the Pacers best offensive ability is their offensive rebound rate, and like I said earlier, teams only produce an eFG% of 43.3% against them.  That’s brutal.  The Hornets have been terribly vulnerable on the boards and struggle to make shots at the best of times.  It could get ugly.  Expect a slugfest.

Matchup to Watch:  David West vs Ryan Anderson

This one fascinates me.  Two legitimate stretch fours going head to head.  Which will prevail – the stretchier four in Anderson, or the more skilled ball-handler in David West?  Old vs. New.  It’ll be fun to watch.

Player to Watch: Roy Hibbert

Fresh off a massive new contract signing, Hibbert is the key to the Pacers.  In wins, he averages 13.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.8 blocks and 1.6 turnovesr.  In losses he averages 6.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.6 blocks and 2.6 turnovers.  If Hibbert is going off, the Hornets are in trouble.

Prediction: 82-75 Pacers.

16 comments
Will
Will

I really would have liked to see Rivers in at the end of the game. I get that you want a vet and more consistent perimeter threat like Mason on the floor in crunch time, but Rivers could at least create a little on his own when the plays fell apart. This was a frustrating loss but I, in general, feel that we played well.

xman20002000
xman20002000

Will just as Schwan is a talented sports writer we played a competitive game.. But looking at Mason I am reminded one of the team's regrets was not resigning Green... We need a SG to come off the bench or start for that matter... We the potential in Rivers but he is not there yet although he is the best passer we have in the back court.. And he appears to be getting efficient in his decision making.. He has probably watch film on every back player in the history of the game... He grew up like the Mannings and Oliver Luck... in the game... But Xavier Henry is going to have earn minutes from Roger Mason.. and what is he doing where Coach won't play him.... We needed defense on the perimeter and considering Paul George ran up almost 40 points....

LLHOPS
LLHOPS

Unlike the Knicks game, at least they played with passion tonight - like they cared. Tough loss when you cannot defend the 3. The Hornets perimeter play on defense is terrible. Listening to the game on TV, I thought David Wesley was going to suit up and "run through Paul George".

504ever
504ever

Agreed. Against the Knicks we had three quarters with point totals in the teens (16 or 17). Tonight there was only one (18 points). That is an improvement that occurred on the second night of a back to back, and both games saw the Hornets without Davis and, of course, Gordon. We didn't get the win, but we were tied after four quarters in spite of everything. That's a step in the right direction!

xman20002000
xman20002000

Come on man.. against the Knicks we got played.. Melo was in the zone laughing at what we were bring on him.. He was acting like he was on the playground.. Trust we were not ready for talent on that level... It's his team and he wasn't about to let the Hornets come in the Garden and easily walk away with a win... We will have to play them plus Amare' is injured... WE aint ready for PRIME TIME... yet

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

How many players defended by Aminu destroyed by the Hornets in recent games? Paul George? Carmelo? Harden? Durant? Aminu sucks! Dell Demps, please! Bring me a team!

xman20002000
xman20002000

Some of us forget this is a veteran team who are a contender in the East... I am really surprised we were that competitive.. Lopez scored 21 points and Aminu is developing also.. I really wanted to see Aminu, EG and Kaman play together last season but the latter was injured.. Notwithstanding, the Pacers were without its superstar in Danny Granger... Just look at how this team is constructed... answering how could they let Collison go but look at the players on this team.. Their veteran player is DWest and ours is Roger Mason, Jr. Now everyone knows we are young but we hung in there with a team that's projected to compete, in the East, with the Heat... But we need to make a move... We now have an owner... so we really don't have to stick with these players... We can bring in 2 or 3 players with this current roster... or move expiring contracts.. Paul George had 37 points.. and he aint Kobe or Lebron... So we have a problem that is Coach's problem... It's on Monty Williams.. But I would give Eric Gordon to Charlott for Ben Gordon if they wanted him... The following is available and the author of this post is an excellent sports reporter... http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/FreeAgents-12-13/nba-free-agents-2012-2013

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Did you read what you just wrote? He might suck, but that little argument does nothing to show it. Try again. And what better defender can we get in trade right now? And who else on the team would have done better on those guys? And Dell Demps did not pick up his option for next season. Do you want to make a point or just whine? There are other places for the latter, Lucas.

mojart
mojart

lucas...calm down......our team fight til the end....ball is round...our time will come...sometimes it bounces our way....sometimes not....pacers just outplayed us tonight

mojart
mojart

tough lose......3 pointers made by the opponent killed the hornets again.....

mateor
mateor

Jason Smith taking one FGA a minute is untenable...and other news.

usufruct
usufruct

What's up with wwl? Why aren't they broadcasting this game?

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

105.3 is broadcasting it, as always.

usufruct
usufruct

Was trying to listen on tune in radio but it was blacked out on wwl. I guess the nba prohibits streaming radio.

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith

It's on FSNO, 678 if you have DirectTV, 38 if you have COX.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

I predict another brutal loss. Our team is very, very bad.

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