From Celtics point view: Get it to: Jason Terry The Hornets 2nd unit is rather thin in the backcourt – Roger Mason, Brian Roberts and Terrel Harris. I’m expecting JET to play with a chip on his shoulder, especially since the LeBron James dunk is still an issue. Gotta stop: Anthony Davis Can KG’s strained adductor (he’s definitely playing) keep up with the young Anthony Davis? The #1 overall draft pick is averaging 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in his last six games. New Orleans is an average offensive team, but they excel in transition and on the offensive glass. The Wild Card: Greivis Vasquez The best point guard you’ve never heard of is averaging a season best 17.8 ppg and 46% shooting in March. He’s not the fastest guy on the floor, but he somehow manages to get into the paint for lay-ups and runners. He’s also good for 9 assists and 4 rebounds per game. Do not sleep on Greivis.
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Game On: Celtics @ Hornets
The Hornets welcome the Celtics to the New Orleans Arena tonight and I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing an angry Boston team. Shorthanded on Monday, the Celtics had a 17 point lead over the Miami Heat before blowing it and losing by 2 points. The national media story lines will be about how they play after that loss and the return of Kevin Garnett (most likely at least) from injury. We’ll still hear plenty about the Rivers/Rivers match up, but that’s not as interesting since Austin is out.
After their win on January 16th, New Orleans is going for a season sweep on the Celtics. While tanking–or close losses–seems to be the flavor du jour, I, personally, think beating the Celtics sounds pretty sweet. So that’s what I’d like to see tonight.
3 Things I’m Watching
Aggresive Anthony Davis
If the scariest man alive plays tonight the Davis/Garnett matchup is drool worthy. All season I’ve expected Davis to rely on his mid range game against physical bigs and everytime he’s matched up with one he’s played aggressively. I love it. Davis is going to get knocked around tonight but I’m hoping this only makes him angry and he continues to go inside.
Eric Gordon’s Shots
Whether it’s due to injury, conditioning, or whatever, Gordon hasn’t been the player we thought he’d be–even in his limited amount of games this season. Tonight I’m going to play close attention to his shot locations. Is he settling for mid range jumpers later in the game? Or is he driving to the basket? I’m also going to be watching where his missed shots hit the rim. If they are hitting the front that’s usually a sign of tired legs. Basically, I’m going to try and do some detective work from the stands to see what’s really up with Gordon.
The Pick and Roll Timing
The Hornets rank in the bottom third of FG% for shots taken at the rim. Part of this is due to the roll man’s timing when running the pick and roll. There is a fine line between starting your roll to the basket early and setting a bad screen. The Hornets tend to fall on the wrong end of this, especially Robin Lopez. Davis at times is guilty of it too. By starting the roll slightly early they make the pass much harder. By rolling too late the defense has time to rotate.