There has got to be a point guard in the D league that can run an offense. The drop off when Vasquez has to come out of the game is amazing. Brian Roberts has a nice 18 foot shot but he cannot run an offense. Dell has got to make a move to upgrade the backcourt. Where is Jarret Jack when we need him? I know that Dell felt he had to make the Jack trade last year to free up salary cap space for the Lopez signing but that trade is killing the Hornets right now.
« Beneath the Screen: 3-Point Defense
Game On: Hornets @ Suns
The Hornets delve into the Valley of the Suns tonight to try to end their five game losing streak
I am just going to say it right up front- If the Hornets don’t get a W tonight, it might be a long time before we can put good old number 4 in the wins column. You look at the schedule and it is just brutal, with the wise men who created it only blessing us with one gift before Christmas. No, not myrrh or frankincense, I am speaking of the Washington Wizards. Other than that game, I fully expect the Hornets to be the underdogs in the other 16 games, including tonight against the Suns. But unlike some of those other games, (see: @Miami, @LAC, @SA, and @OKC) this one is winnable. For the Hornets to kick this losing streak, they have to accomplish the following:
Keys to the Game:
1. Shoot from Deep
You think the Hornets three-point defense is bad? Check this out, the Suns are allowing teams to shoot 42% from three against them. Give the green light to Anderson, Mason, and maybe even Brian Roberts in this game, because they are sure to get open looks. And even if we do miss, the Suns do a terrible job of grabbing offensive rebounds (giving up nearly 30% of all shots missed) so creating second chances off of long rebounds is a viable alternative as well.
2. Put Austin Rivers in a position to win his match-up
Doing that might mean taking him out of the starting lineup tonight, as there is simply not anybody he can physically match up with. The Suns start Dragic, Dudley, and Beasley at the 1-2-3 positions. Dragic is too fast and crafty for Rivers and Dudley or Beasley would be nightmare match-ups physically. Plus, with Anderson starting, you have no firepower coming off the bench. Give Rivers the keys to the car offensively on the second unit and let him cover guys like Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair on the other end.
3. Win the Turnover Battle
This has been something Phoenix has been doing all year, but the Hornets have to flip the script tonight. When you consider the pace that they play at, the fact that Dragic is only averaging only 2 turnovers per game is remarkable. His turnover percentage (13.1%) is near the top of the league for starting point guards, but the Hornets have to create some pressure tonight, or at the very least, hold their own turnovers to a minimum. Turnovers allow Phoenix to play the game at their pace, which is a necessity for them because they aren’t efficient in the half court. Limit the turnovers, win the game.