« New Orleans Hornets 2012-13 Power Rankings – Week 14
Game On: Suns @ Hornets
The Suns make their only trip to New Orleans tonight in the Hornets’ lone home game within a 19 day stretch.
When looking at the box score from the Hornets and Suns’ first meeting in Phoenix back in late November, it may be tough at first glance to understand how the Hornets lost. New Orleans shot 51% overall, 50% from beyond the arc (13-26), and went 15-18 from the free throw line; Phoenix shot 49% overall, 44% from long range (11-25), and went 12-19 from the line. The Hornets totaled 52 rebounds as a team, 10 more than the Suns. It’d be easy to point to the production from the back court – players not named Greivis made just 5 out of their 23 combined attempts – but they scored 17 points on those shots, so even that production wasn’t that harmful.
The main reason that New Orleans lost, plain and simple, was the number of shots taken by each team. The Suns attempted 90 shots in their overtime win, 12 more than the 78 that the Hornets got off. The reason for this was offensive rebounding (Phoenix held a 10-6 edge, leading to a 13-6 advantage in second chance points) and turnovers (18 for New Orleans, 8 more than their opponent which turned into a 7 point deficit in points off of turnovers).
With the results of that game in mind, let’s take a look at the Hornets’ three keys to victory tonight.
1) Attack the offensive glass. The Hornets accumulating only 6 second chance points in their first game against the Suns is pretty much inexcusable. The Suns have the 4th lowest defensive rebound rate in the league and allow the 7th most second chance points in the league to their opponents. The Hornets rank 13th in the NBA in offensive rebound rate, but they should be able to crash the offensive glass like a top-1o team tonight. Look for Robin Lopez to have a big impact here; though he has been especially weak on the defensive glass, he is the only player on the team with an offensive rebound rate over 10% (11.6% to be exact).
2) Remain disciplined on defense. The Hornets and Suns are very similar when it comes to fouls and free throw shooting. Both teams are in the bottom-10 in free throw rate, right around .24 free throw attempts per field goal attempt. Both teams commit about 20.5 fouls per game, also in the bottom half of the league. The team that exhibits more discipline on the defensive side and avoids unnecessary fouls should have an edge, as New Orleans and Phoenix both shoot over 75% from the free throw line.
3) Work for open three point looks. In a very strange stat, Phoenix’s opponents take the third lowest amount of three pointers per game (16.5), but they convert at the second highest rate in the NBA (38.5%). I’d have to dig a whole lot deeper to even start to understand why this is happening, but for now, it seems like the Hornets should take advantage and take a healthy amount of threes tonight. In particular, Luis Scola doesn’t typically like going out to play defense on the perimeter, so Anderson should get a decent amount of clean looks.
Tonight is the Hornets’ only home game between now and Ash Wednesday, so let’s get to the arena and cheer the team on to victory!