Half-assed Preview: Hornets @ Jazz

It's a slow one this morning with the holidays and everything. No NBA games last night, and very little to add to our news page today. It's a pity, too, because tonight our guys are in Utah to play the Jazz, a meeting that should prove to be a good measuring stick for the Hornets. In fact, apart from the Spurs a couple weeks back, I'd say this is the toughest team we've faced so far. Sorry, Orlando.

Some quick notes ahead of game 14…

  • Utah have been playing pretty well for the most part, and they come into this one fresh as daisies having played their last game on Monday. They're 8-4 on the season, but haven't really beaten anyone glorious. Actually, none of the teams they've beaten have better than a .500 record right now.
  • That game they played on Monday was a 102-75 crucification of the visiting New Jersey Nets, who are still without Vince Carter. You might remember the Hornets only beating the VC-less Nets by a clutch Chris Paul basket back on Nov. 12th, although that one was played in Joisey.
  • Unless there's something exclusive to the print edition, it looks like the Times-Picayune blanked the Hornets today. Nothing but some brief notes about tonight's game over at NOLA.com. Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams for the first time this season and we get nothing? At least the Salt Lake Tribune knows what's up.
  • Actually, fantastic quote in that SLT article. Speaking about the whole CP-DWill rivalry, Jazz backup PG Jason Hart drops this gem…

    "If they have a link, it's because they are good players. You only have a link if they're both good players, or if one player is good and the other is bad."

    Dude's a genius.

  • Williams has been held out of practice the past few days as he recovers from surgery dealing with an ingrown toenail on Tuesday. All indications are he'll be ready to play tonight, though. So far this season he's averaging 17.8 points, 8.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 3.8 turnovers in 36.9 minutes per game, while shooting 48.1% from the floor.
  • Chris Paul's averages so far: 18.5 points, 10.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 3.5 turnovers in 35 minutes per game. He's shooting 48.7% from the floor.
  • Since those two guys were drafted, the Hornets are 1-5 against the Jazz.
  • Hilton Armstrong celebrates his 23rd birthday today. Yeah, I did say the same thing about two weeks ago, but I'm an idiot. This time I checked with his mom, so feel better.

    Hilton's still trying to live up to preseason expectations. With Tyson Chandler out against the Pacers on Wednesday, dude got a season-high 25 minutes of burn, but hardly made the most of them. He finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 5 fouls.

  • No word on whether Chandler will miss this one, too. Byron Scott's thoughts on Wednesday

    "I don't think anything is definite for Utah or the Clippers (on Saturday). I'm hoping he will be able to play. But again, we have to make sure that leg is strong. That's one thing, when he says that it feels weak, you're just waiting for something really bad to happen by playing him."

  • Expect Utah's Carlos Boozer to fuck us up in this one, especially if Chandler doesn't play. Boozer is being talked about as an early MVP candidate, averaging 24.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. His play is especially impressive when you consider what he's had to deal with away from the court.
  • Of course, the Jazz are way more than Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. They have another three guys in the starting lineup, and even more guys on the bench. Yah, really.
  • The Jazz are 5-1 at home this season, the lone loss coming on Nov 1st against the Rockets. Tracy McGrady burned the Jazz for 47 in that one. I studied the game tape and found that T-Mac made lots of shots, so I'd suggest the Hornets try do the same tonight. Someone tell Byron.
  • Let's do the relevant linkage right here: SLT Jazz blog | Utah Jazz Blog | Jazz team stats | AP game preview

This one gets tipping at around 9pm Central tonight. I'm not getting my hopes up for a win if Tyson sits out again. Even then we'll have to be firing on all cylinders to beat these guys at home. Should be an interesting matchup though. Something tells me these two teams are destined to meet in the Playoffs someday.

Leaving you with some funky video. This rivalry won't end anytime soon…

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