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.

13 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.

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".

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!

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?

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

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

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