Game On: Davis @ Lillard

Published: December 16, 2012

That’s right.  Five years ago, it was Portland vs Hornets as the up-and-coming teams in the West.  Today, both teams cellar-dwell and their respective first picks of the draft are locked in battle for Rookie of the Year.  Game on!

Portland is a very top-heavy team, with five legitimate NBA rotation players.  Behind them, they have no one they trust.  That means that Aldridge, Lillard, Wes Matthews and Nic Batum all average more than 37 minutes a game, Hickson gets 28 minutes, and no one else reaches twenty.  Tonight, that will have to change, as Wes Matthews is questionable for the game – which  means longer minutes for career journeyman and Hornet for a Minute Sasha Pavlovic.  That can’t do anything but help the Hornets as they look to break their losing streak.

For a few years, the Trailblazers have been a poor defensive team, and this year is no different, as they give up the 22nd highest number of points per posession in the league.  Their offense, this year, is merely average, as the team has struggled to be anything but average in any phase in the game.  The Blazers are 16th in effective FG%, 12th in Turnover rate, 16th in offensive rebound rate, and 17th in free throw rate.

Defensively, the Blazers have generated a high number of steals – but allowed the third highest field goal percentage in the league to go along with allowing the 6th highest number of free throws.  If you move the ball and attack off the dribble, this team will let you get the shots you want.  Unless you turn it over.  Gulp.

Keys to the Game

  • Be physical with Aldridge.  For whatever reason, this season LaMarcus has reverted to his tendency to float to the perimeter, resulting in a dramatic decline in his efficiency as he trades close shots and free throws for long twos.  Make him want to take long jumpers, and the Hornets will benefit.  The Blazers big man is actually the least efficient scorer on the team who averages more than 4 shots a game.
  • Attack Portland in the Paint.  The Trailblazers allow the 4th highest number of shots at the rim in the league to go along with fouling freely near the basket.  Force the issue.  If Lopez or Davis are having a big game scoring at the rim, the Hornets have a good chance to pull this game out.
  • Stay home on the three point line.  The Blazers take the 4th highest number of three pointers in the league, and though they are average at hitting them, those extra points are what keep them in games.  Considering the Hornets three-point defense this year, I tremble.


Wes Matthews is questionable for tonight’s game.  Jason Smith is out.  So is Eric Gordon.   Surprise!

Enjoy the game.



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