Hornets Beat: 15 Games Left »
Game On: Warriors @ Hornets
New Orleans kicks off their second to last homestand tonight against Golden State, the first of seven consecutive home games for the Hornets.
Both the Hornets and Warriors will be playing just 24 hours after each team’s previous game, although both teams experienced far different results. While the New Orleans fell in a close game in Minnesota, Golden State thoroughly punished the Rockets in Houston, winning by 30. Despite the large margin of victory, both Curry and Thompson played 45 & 42 minutes in the game respectively (and Jack, Lee, & Bogut played between 31-35), so none of the team’s key players received a chance to rest during the fourth quarter of that blowout. In a game in which both of the competing teams may display some tired legs, Golden State should benefit from their traditional up-tempo style (6th in the NBA in pace) in the form of better endurance than New Orleans (29th in the NBA in pace). The Warriors’ net rating with no days of rest (0.8) is nearly identical to its overall net rating (0.9), whereas the Hornets’ net rating with zero days of rest is noticeably worse (-7.1) than its overall net rating (-4.6). With this point in mind, let’s break down the three keys to the game.
Three Keys to the Game
- Contain the Warriors’ guards. With Gordon out due to the back-to-back and Rivers’ vastly improved on-ball defense out as well, the Hornets will have to rely on the likes of Vasquez, Roberts, and Mason to defend Curry, Jack, and Thompson. I have a hunch that this will not go very well. All three shoot very well from beyond the arc, and all but Thompson typically do a good job of getting into the paint. If the New Orleans guards can’t keep Golden State’s perimeter players from getting wherever they want on offense, the game could quickly get out of hand.
- Don’t give them second chances. The Warriors are one of the worst teams in the NBA on the offensive glass with an offensive rebound rate of 25.5%. They have been even worse since Bogut came back, posting a 22.7% offensive rebound rate through 10 games in March. Given Golden State’s strong ability to score, allowing them to get second chances when they do miss is a surefire recipe for disaster.
- Beware the Curry/Jack/Thompson/Lee/Bogut lineup. This five-man unit has been wrecking opponents since Bogut returned to action, posting a net rating of +16.0, 14th best in the NBA among five-man lineups with at least 100 minutes played. The group defends at a similar rate as the team’s season average, but pours in points, scoring nearly 120 per 100 possessions. If the Hornets are not at the top of their game when this group is on the court, they could fall behind in a hurry.
Tip-off is at 7 PM tonight in the New Orleans Arena. Whether you’re rooting for victory or for the tank to keep cruising along, go out and watch the team play!