Can someone start a name the Hornets final record thread? First person to name the final record wins? I've got 26-56.
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Game On: Pistons @ Hornets
Detroit comes to New Orleans in a battle of two teams in the bottom third of the NBA standings.
Just 18 days after the two teams’ only other meeting of the season, the Pistons will again face off against the Hornets tonight. New Orleans achieved a decisive victory in Detroit just a few days before the All-Star break, winning 105-86 behind 31 points from Ryan Anderson. It sounds simple, but the Hornets won that game purely because they shot the ball much better than the Pistons, going 49.4% from the field on 83 field goal attempts (10-21 from beyond the arc) compared to just 35.8% shooting on 83 shots (5-19 from 3-point range) for Detroit. The Hornets cannot just rely on out-shooting the Pistons to beat them again, so let’s take a look at the three keys to victory in tonight’s game.
INJURY UPDATE: The Hornets announced this afternoon that Jason Smith will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a torn labrum, and will have surgery next week. Anthony Davis will also miss tonight’s game with the shoulder injury that he suffered against Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
Three Keys to the Game
- Avoid careless mistakes. The Pistons are among the league’s five worst teams at forcing turnovers, and giving Prince and Daye’s minutes to Calderon and Singler will only make that number even worse. Detroit doesn’t pressure the ball well at all, so when teams turn the ball over against them, it is usually due to their own lack of concentration or effort. As long as the Hornets stay disciplined and don’t try to force passes into tight spaces, they should be able to easily limit their turnovers tonight.
- Defend the three-point line. Don’t be misled by the Pistons’ 34% three-point percentage since the start of 2013 – this team can knock down long-range shots. With Calderon, Knight, and Singler all starting, the Pistons have three players who all have three-point range, and they can add a fourth if Villanueva comes in as a stretch four. This Pistons team is below average offensively, scoring just over 100 points per 100 possessions, but getting hot from beyond the arc may be the team’s best way to provide a temporary solution to those scoring woes.
- Keep them out of the paint. My initial assumption was that with Drummond sidelined, the Pistons wouldn’t be as dangerous in the paint as their 3rd-ranked points in the paint per game average makes them seem. As it turns out, I was wrong. Over the past month (during which Drummond has been out), Detroit has actually averaged over three more points in the paint per game (49.4) than their season-to-date average (46.1), which would put them ahead of every NBA team except for Denver. The addition of Calderon to the team’s offense has likely been a huge factor, as his ability to attack the rim as well as his elite passing skills both are pivotal to getting close range looks. Make Calderon uncomfortable and bring a second defender when Monroe has the ball in the low post, and good things should happen.
Tip-off is at 7 PM; pregame concert and other festivities in Champions Square. Head down to the New Orleans Arena tonight for a good time and to cheer on the boys in teal and gold!