Scouting the NBA: Week Five — Rematch Week For The Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets are finally home and the boys had a rough time on the road. Let’s see if they can get revenge against recent opponents. 

In last week’s Scouting the NBA piece I went two of five in my predictions. I don’t think anyone saw the Hornets pulling out the Clippers win, but boy was it fun saying goodbye to Blake Griffin and his measly 4 points. You’d think Jason Smith was the All-Star with his 17 points on 8 shots (!) – Yeah, wow.

Anyway, I thought since this was Rematch Week, we’d freshen things up a bit. I know routines can kind of be boring so we’ll look at all the games, make predictions, but I’m going to throw in some videos and some statistics that might interest you.

Let’s break bread Hornets style.

Wednesday 28th November vs. Utah – Fox Sports New Orleans 7pm CST

The New Orleans Hornets beat the Jazz in the first week of their NBA season. Since then things have soured as the team has faced a barrage of very good teams exploiting clear weaknesses. After an uplifting victory against the Clippers the Hornets return looking to outplay and out tune the Jazz.

  • What the Jazz need to do this time: Inside-Out Game

It’s easy as the rules to tic-tac-toe. Get the ball down low to Milsap or Jefferson, wait for the double-team, kick-out and find the shooters. There was a slight adjustment I saw by the Hornets on Monday, they didn’t double the post as much. When they didn’t it was very effective.

The post player couldn’t create and had no easy option to kick out. Rather than doubling every time Monty Williams needs to trust his big-guys to contain some of these post players because not all of them are Hakeem Olajuwon.

  • What the Hornets need to do this time: Rebound the ball

The first time these teams met the Jazz outrebounded the Hornets 44-42 but grabbed 16 of their own misses. New Orleans needs to put an emphasis here because Utah is a tall and big team. One of the concerning things I’ve noticed is a poor effort on the defensive boards at times. This must be a point of emphasis heading into the game.

  • Prediction: Jazz by 6

I’m not sure why I’m predicting the Jazz to win but it has a lot to do with injuries to us and recovering from a long road trip. I’m hoping that this team can be healthy by late December, maybe even the New Year and that includes a healthy Eric Gordon.

Stat-One: Robin Lopez takes 64% of the Hornets post-ups. He’s 0.78 PPP (Point’s Per Possesion) on this type of shot, below-average in the NBA.

Saturday December 1st vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

That butt-kicking last time out against the Thunder sure wasn’t fun. I said that Rivers would break out in the game, but Martin’s defensive deficiencies were covered up by excellent in-the-paint defense by Oklahoma City.

If Monty Williams is the good coach we all think he is then making adjustments for this game should be his priority to contain the shooters. If the Thunder are content with putting the ball down low to Ibaka then so be it, beat us one-on-one there.

If the Thunder run the pick and roll, contest shots in the paint, but don’t hedge off the ball too much.

  • What the Thunder need to do this time: Get Russell Westbrook’s scoring involved

Last time the Thunder used Westbrook as a sort of facilitator. He did an excellent job. However, Russell only shot 3 for 11 in that game so look for OKC to get him going scoring wise. Doing so will make Hornet defenders leave their opponents even more wide open than they really are.

  • What the Hornets need to do this time: Close out shooters

I really wish it was that simple, but it’s a lot more complex than that. But for the sake of simplicity the Hornets really need to do a better job of locating shooters on the floor and not give too much help. We’ve seen it countless times this season where Al-Farouq Aminu, Roger Mason, Austin Rivers and other wing-defenders hedge too far off their opponent. When they help they get there, leaving the man they were originally guarding wide open.

It’s been destructive and there must be ways for the Hornets to limit the penetration without having their defenders help so much help on defense.

  • Prediction: Thunder by 12

It may be more competitive, but only because the starters will be subbed out with 4 minutes to go.

Stat-Two: The Hornets are 29th in the league in Pick-and-roll defense giving up 0.94 points per-possession.

Monday December 3rd vs. Milwaukee Bucks – Fox Sports New Orleans & NBA TV, 7pm CST

It’s time for revenge and this time we have the home-floor advantage. Well, it’s the regular season so it doesn’t matter too much. Either way this would be a great game for the Hornets to have to close out the week. The Bucks are still experimenting with their lineups and Ersan Ilyasova continues to be the bane of my Fantasy Team.

Hopefully we can play some defense in this one and control the tempo.

  • What the Bucks need to do this time: Push the ball up the floor

Last time Milwaukee did an excellent job of controlling the tempo. The Hornets are one of the slowest teams in the league as they prefer to operate out of the half-court. It’s an oddity that escapes me for a team lacking in creative guards and finesse low-post offensive big-men.

Regardless I fully expect the Bucks to continue their ferocious pace and if they can find their shooters like they did last time they won’t have an issue scoring the ball.

  • What the Hornets need to do this time: Play defense

Giving up 117 points in a game is not something that Coach Monty Williams wants on his resume. Not only did the Hornets let the games pace get out of hand, they just couldn’t control the penetration or close out on the shooters. While that may sound like the plot-line to a Wild-West Porno it’s was an even more horrific scene the first time these teams met.

Anthony Davis could be out for this game too so New Orleans is going to have to battle hard and expect big things from Anderson, Vasquez and either Rivers, Lopez or Aminu.

  • Prediction: Hornets by 3

I am crazy because it’s likely that the Hornets will still be without their number one pick in this year’s draft, Anthony Davis. I think though that New Orleans can pull this one out by slowing the tempo and by utilizing Austin Rivers in a more effective manner.

Stat-Three: The Hornets are29th in the league in defending the 3-point line – they are 9th in the league in giving up points in the paint (39.4)

Videos For Your Delight

Just before we get to the Motif of the Week let’s look at some of the great moments in our opponents recent history.

  • Jazz

  • Thunder

  • Bucks

Motif of the Week

mo·tif/mōˈtēf/ Noun: A distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.

— Home Cookin’ —

It’s time for some home cookin’

The Hornets return and just in time for a nice road-stand. Not just this week but also next week too. Don’t fill up on too much Gumbo boys we need you playing with a bounce in your step.

Remember to check out the Podcast too, we’ve got Jason Smith coming on and it’s the 100th one so we really would love for you to tune in. Spread the word!

Also you can follow me on twitter at @jsgrayson for Gameday Coverage and discussion for all things Hornets.

Final Sentence: Drastic Times Calls for Drastic Dimes. 

5 responses to “Scouting the NBA: Week Five — Rematch Week For The Hornets”

  1. Blake Griffin about Jason Smith:

    “I just don’t like him as a person. Playing hard is something different to be unfair. You know what I’m talking about. Matt’s reaction was just a consequence of taunts him inside the game. He should know that tomorrow is a different day and we’ll meet again,” Griffin said. “I didn’t a good presentation and I wasn’t who I used to be. You know, our team must defend with more intensity. They had a lot of freedom to attack in the floor. Especially with Anderson and Vasquez. They shouldn’t have the breadth they had. This is something about how we need to improve”.

  2. Jason Smith is proving he belongs and he is earning a bigger pay check…. Some of us knew he could do it if he wanted it… But this guy Blake “what’s his name” thinks he is an All Star after winning a Slam Dunk Contest… LOL… We are much toucher in the post with Smith and Lopez plus we can rack up points…

    By comparison, last game Okafor racked up 4 points for the Wizards..

  3. Solid writeup.

    You mentioned that we are 9th in the league in giving up points in the paint (39.4). I wonder whether this is partly a function of it simply being so easy to get open shots on the perimeter that teams don’t feel like they have to work on getting the ball down low against us. Still, 9th is 9th, which is solid.

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