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Game On: Hornets @ Kings
I have wrote about it, tweeted about it, and talked about it numerous times on the podcast – tonight’s game is huge when it comes to lottery implications. But as much as some of us think about the May 21st Lottery, that is the furthest thing from the minds of Hornets players. They are trying to finish the season strong so that they can prove to Dell, or in some guys’ cases the other 29 GM’s, that they are deserving of a major role on a team next season.
The Hornets will be without Eric Gordon for tonight since it is the second game in a back-to-back. Monty has started Brian Roberts in Gordon’s place recently, but he could also go with Roger Mason or even Xavier Henry, who has gotten some significant minutes lately. Either way, they will be going against a red hot Sacramento Kings team. Since the All-Star break, the Kings have the second highest offensive rating in the NBA and they have beaten some elite teams at home. If the Hornets are going to win this game, they will have to accomplish the following:
Keys to Victory
1. Pound the Glass
The Kings are the 2nd worst defensive rebounding team in the league, as they allow their opponents to retain nearly 30% of their missed shots. Anderson, Davis, Lopez, and Lou Amunson are all fantastic offensive rebounders, so I fully expect to see plenty of second chance opportunities for the Hornets tonight – if they even need them. Sacramento gives up a field goal percentage of 47% (26th in the league), so there might not be as many rebounding opportunities as usual.
2. Get to the Line
Not only does Sacramento foul a lot, but they apparently foul the wrong guys. They are 27th in the league defensively with regard to FT attempts per FG attempt, and teams shoot 78.4% against them, which ranks them last in the league. It really is a team effort when it comes to fouling – guards, bigs, wings, they all get into the act. Gordon is out tonight, so the Hornets lose their best attacking guard, but Davis and Anderson should still be able to attack the paint and get to the line at will tonight.
3. Contest Every Perimeter Shot
It sounds simple, but Memphis has been the only team to actually do this to Sacramento over the last month or so. They had the luxury of not having to double DeMarcus Cousins because they had Marc Gasol, and that forced the Kings perimeter shooters to take contested shots. The result was a FG% of under 36% and the worst offensive game the Kings have had since the break. Let Cousins get his buckets, but dont leave the shooters.