Scouting the NBA: Week Six — Lakers and Heat, Oh No…

Published: December 4, 2012
Hugo Laying Cutely on the Court

The New Orleans Hornets will face a slew of tough games this week starting with the reeling Los Angeles Lakers. They will then play Memphis at home, then Miami away. By the end of the week it will be December 11 and talk of Anthony Davis will start to heat up.

Regardless of the outcome of the matches the Hornets need to focus on establishing an identity something which has escaped them with their best players sidelined. Will they be able to matchup with some of these powerhouse teams? Only time will tell.

Wednesday 5th December vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

A team that trades for Dwight Howard is one that supposed to be feared right? Well it appears this is not the case when it concerns the Los Angles Lakers. This team is still a shining testament to the need for a point-guard that is at least capable of knocking down shots, defending the pick and roll and initiating the offense. With Steve Nash out the Lakers do not have a point-guard with these capabilities.

For the Hornets this is excellent news. They can matchup a little better with the Lakers and focus more on other areas. Double teaming in the post (which has become somewhat of a necessity for NOLA) will be prevalent throughout as Dwight continues his Free-Throw woes.

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Jodie Meeks

I feel very negatively about Dwight Howard. Outside of his over the top personality (which fits in LaLa Land) his on the court isn’t nearly as impressive as it once was. Kobe Bryant has a massive contract and he’s never leaving the Lakers organisation, because they are one in the same thing.

If we’re talking about a smart get, go after Meeks. While he may not be the defensive wing player we so desperately need, he is another shooter.

  • Best Matchup for the Lakers: Kobe Bryant vs. Roger Mason

It has to be the Bean. New Orleans has struggled to contain opposing guards no matter how competent they are. Austin Rivers, Greivis Vasquez, Roger Mason, Darius Miller and Al-Farouq Aminu have done a terrible job of containing their opposition from dribble penetration. Look for Kobe to excel.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Greivis Vasquez vs. Darius Morris
I expect to see New Orleans run multiple pick and roll sets with Vasquez and Robin Lopez. This will test Morris but also Dwight Howard, pulling the shot-blocker out from the paint. However, if Mike D’Antoni is smart he would put Ron Artest (or Metta World Peace) on him because Vasquez and Ron have virtually similar foot-speed.
  • Prediction: Hornets by 2
The Hornets are going to do something many think they can’t and that’s beating the Lakers. They’ll do it here because Los Angeles has no idea who they are.
Friday 7th December vs. Memphis Grizzlies — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST
  • Player of Interest: Rudy Gay

I tend to agree with co-writer Ryan Schwan and his assessment that Rudy Gay isn’t a guy worthy of his contract. However, a question for all of you: Would you take Rudy Gay or Eric Gordon right now? I know that if Gordon continues to be as fragile as a kid in a foster home then Rudy would be a better player for this team this season.

  • Best Matchup for the Grizzlies: Mike Conley Jr. vs. Greivis Vasquez

You guys and gals might think I pick on Vasquez too much, but it’s because I want this team built differently than you. I see Vasquez as an excellent back-up point guard, maybe even the 3rd guard in the rotation. He’s going to be outmatched by Conley because he’s having a career season. He has a PER of 21 right now, he’s shooting 46% from three and is posting a .211 WS per 48 (meaning he’s a big reason why Memphis are playing so darn well).

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Ryan Anderson vs. Zach Randolph

If the Hornets can contain Randolph on the boards, then I expect to see a heavy dose of Ryan Anderson 3-balls. Hopefully the Hornets can utilize the slow-footed Randolph and get him running on defense, something he’s not accustomed to.

  • Prediction: Grizzlies by 14

I don’t see the Hornets being able to keep pace with the red-hot Grizzlies. In fact, one could argue they’re more of a concern right now than the Heat.

Saturday 8th @ Miami Heat — Fox Sports New Orleans, NBA TV, 6.30pm CST

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Lebron James

Because Demps could do it and because Lebron would want to…

Okay maybe not.

  • Best Matchup for the Heat: Lebron James vs. Al-Farouq Aminu and anything Monty Williams throws on the court

For being labelled an “excellent defender” Aminu sure has had a tougher time this season. He’s losing his man consistently helping dribble penetration from guards and his confidence has diminished. If he had more competent back-court team mates, he might be able to do a better job at containing his man.

That trend does not appear to be ending any time soon, so as it continues so too will Aminu’s inability to stop scorers like Lebron James.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Robin Lopez on offense vs. Chris Bosh on defense
If Lopez can continue to hit the boards like he has then I would expect him to put up some nice numbers against Bosh. Don’t expect him to be able to contain Bosh on the other end though.
  • Prediction: Heat by 19

This one will get ugly fast. While the Heat don’t have the shot-blockers like the Thunder I still expect them to run away with this one early and not look back.

Motif of the Week

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

— Submission —

Like the WWE wrestler’s in a fake-submission hold the Hornets are going to have to tap out like the they did against the Thunder and other teams this past week. While it’s inspiring to see their effort the talent just isn’t there and you can only do so much.

It’s easy to be pessimistic, but this is the reality we’re faced with. We have three playoff teams this week and while I predict we’ll be the Lakers if we don’t it’ll be a long week until the Washington Wizards visit.

I think we’re all waiting for Gordon and Davis to return to finally see what this team can do when healthy.

Last Sentence: The bigger they are the harder they fall.


  1. Durtnificent

    December 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Love the bold prediction of us over LA. I would never pick the Lakers over us because my fandom wouldn’t allow me. The Grizzle/Hornets game will be interesting, and I’m going to go on a limb and say Ryno and Jason Smith will be able to annoy Z-Bo enough to keep it closer then 14. If “The Jinx” is used on Rivers, then I’ll predict a win. Lol. Miami? I guess I will be awaiting the homework assignment for that one. (I’m not that bold.)

  2. Ray

    December 4, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Wow..nothing like an upbeat piece on the hornets..should we even bother showing up at all this week or just throw in the towel now? Any reasons for the fan to go to the games or even watch the games on TV? There’s nothing the hornets can do to have a chance at even keeping the games close?

    • Michael McNamara

      December 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      This season is not just about wins and losses. Like Gerry V. We can still improve in the game within the game. Expect 45-55 losses this year but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t watch those games and enjoy them/ learn from them

      • LLHOPS

        December 4, 2012 at 6:56 pm

        If we get 37 wins this season I’ll be very surprised. But you are right, these early games can be very informative. Watching players and combinations work/struggle helps us see where this team is headed. Sometimes the games are a complete blowout but even then you can tell who is trying to improve and who is thinking about the after game party.

    • James Grayson

      December 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      I just predicted us to beat the Lakers. I’d say that’s a reason to show up… Also we have one of the toughest schedules to start the season sir. Please be patient. Grab a beer and watch the Hornets!

      • Ray

        December 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

        My biggest problem with this post is the idea that our motif for this week should be “submission”. That’s never something you want associated with your team or the fans for that matter.

        Maybe it’s just me but when I read an article on scouting the other teams, I’m looking for info on their weakness’s vs our strengths and what we can and should be doing to exploit those to have a chance to win.Especially from you guys here on this site.

        My apologies if I may have taken it out of context

  3. BRhornet

    December 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Hornets 87 Lakers 91
    Hornets 108 Grizzlies 99
    Hornets 92 Heat 110
    have an idea for a new Jason Smith nickname. “Jason Basketball”

  4. Thomas

    December 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Hack a Howard!!!

  5. mojart

    December 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    • Jason Calmes

      December 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Did you not see the story up at the top of the page?

      We call this “old news.”

      • mojart

        December 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

        this is final…..pelicans…really….

  6. Josh

    December 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    This is a tough week for the Bees with these three teams, and I don’t see us winning any of the games.

    Also, what will the site’s name be changed to with the Pelicans now the name of the team? Will it be Pelicans247?

    • Josh

      December 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      I mean next year, not now.

  7. Ben

    December 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      • Ron

        December 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        Stupid name for a bad team… Not the way to build a franchise.

      • Will

        December 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

        Lakers, Knicks, Red Sox, White Sox, Bills, Texans, Browns, Ducks, Crimson Tide, Green Wave, Nittany Lions, Bearcats, Utah Jazz, Utes, Maple Leafs, Wizards, Athletics, Thunder, Canadiens.

        How Pelicans get slammed and these don’t amazes me.

        This guy blows. Pelicans blows away these team names for me, yet no one sarcastically slams the any of these names. Imagine a world where the Laker mystique didn’t exist and a new owner trying to name his team that now. ESPN would tear it to shreds. He also bashes Krewe and Brass; he’s just trying to move up the ESPN ladder Bayless style. I’ll be just as happy rooting for the Pels as the Hornets, and soon, just like the nicknames I listed, nobody will care about the name.

    • Jason Calmes

      December 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      How about commenting on this topic here and that topic there?

  8. MZURK

    December 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    A solid post. Lakers got beat again today. This time in OT. They’re only 1 – 5 on the road, so in theory, this should be very winnable. I have my doubts however.

    Memphis – We could get destroyed. Best case scenario is, if we play at 100%, we can keep the score respectable. Memphis just doesn’t get enougugh credit for it’s D, and Zach just doesn’t get enough credit for anything. The BEAST had 38 pts and 22 rebs in today’s game. Quincy is quietly having a solid season as the 6th man for possibly the NBA’s top team right now.

    Jodie Meeks could be solid as a pickup. He actually plays solid defense in addition to his 3-point shooting.

    Pelicans … ugh.

  9. mojart

    December 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    if the wizards can defeat the heat…i don’t see why the hornets can’t defeat these team….for me hornets win in overtime 100-97….:)

  10. Fred

    December 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    They need to start the rebranding on the basketball court all the distractions of rebranding of team colours and logo will not assist where it matters in the bank for this team to succeed. There’s a reason Hornets throwback caps are the most popular in the league,

  11. Fred

    December 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I agree with everyone else Lakers are our best chance of a win on this leg of games….i’m most interested to see how we match up with Grizzlies

  12. Pingback: Hornets Lose to Heat by 16 After Poor Second Quarter | New Orleans Hornets |

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