Game On: Warriors @ Hornets

Published: January 5, 2011

Hello all!  I’m back from my long vacation, having watched two dozen six-foot long nurse sharks feed on fish guts from three feet away, snorkeled multiple times in crystal clear water over fish-filled reefs, gone 100 feet underwater in a submarine, walked on two Volcano craters, clambered down into a pair of lava tubes, went to a Luau, saw what my boys insist are the “Best Fire Dancers the World has Ever Known”, ate Poy and cleared the Hoover Dam of Caeser’s Legion.  And only one of those isn’t true – and it’s probably not the one you think it is.

So, after my long Hiatus, I spent the past two days watching lots of the basketball I missed while away and tonight I get to see it live again.  Yay!  McNamara and I may even be able to get a new Podcast up for those of you who are waiting in the next day or so.  And you are all waiting, right?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Anyways, I was poking around on site I love) and found this and wanted to share.  I love Chris Paul, and he’s a genuinely nice guy off the court, but this is a perfect depiction of the way he plays basketball.  I thought about editing it and putting his face on the guy on the left, but decided to go with the original.

On to the game Preview!

Matchup: Warriors(13-21) @ Hornets(21-14)

Off Efficiency: Warriors 103.5(14th), Hornets 102.0(19th)
Def Efficiency: Warriors 108.6(28th), Hornets 99.1(5th)

Somehow, the Golden State Warriors have escaped my notice most of this season.  Usually when I write a game preview about a team I have a pretty good idea already about the team’s weaknesses or strengths, but I find myself starting out this preview without any clue about what is going on in the Bay Area except that Monta Ellis has scored a bunch of points and that David Lee missed some games with teeth stuck in his elbow.  I guess that’s what happens when a bad team has no notable rookies on the floor and continues to be a generally bad team.

Anyways, I’ve spent a while studying my favorite stats sites and perusing the GSW blogs, and here’s what I feel is a pretty solid take on their team:

The Warriors are a donut team as usual, with the vast majority of its scoring originating from its two guards, Ellis and Curry.  Both of those guards are only slightly better than average as scorers, however, as Ellis is only a middling shooter and doesn’t capitalize on his free throws and Curry capitalizes on his free throws, but almost never gets to take any.  In the end, neither player scores more points per shot than David West does and both are much more turnover prone than the Hornets forward.  Would any of you be comfortable with two David West’s as the Hornets top offensive options?

Still, unlike the Hornets, the Warriors do end up as a solid offensive team since none of their primary offensive options are outright terrible.(Hello Ariza!  ‘Lo Willie!  And, uh, Howdy Thornton?)

Where the Warriors break down, as has always been the case for the last few years, is defensively.  They allow a large number of shots within 10 feet of the basket and don’t contest them well, generating easy points for opponents.  They also force a very small number of shots in the 16-23 foot range compared to the rest of the league, allowing their opponents to avoid the least efficient shot in basketball.  To top it off, despite strong contributions from David Lee, the Warriors are the sixth worst rebounding team in basketball and despite forcing a good number of turnovers, don’t force enough to balance their own turnover woes.

In short, they can be scored on, and they aren’t so good offensively they can’t be stopped by the Hornets strong defense.  It seems to me the game will come down to wether the Hornets hit the open shots they will be bound to see.


Warriors: Both Biedrins and Lee have struggled with injuries recently, but it is likely they will play tonight.
Hornets: None

Positional Analysis

PG: Stephen Curry v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
I still feel Stephen Curry is a shooting guard.  He’s an amazing shooter with a decent handle, but without much in the way of passing skills.  Paul will be able to run the team with little resistance from Curry, as well, so while I expect these two players to score at a roughly equal clip, Paul is going crush the Warriors and generate tons of open shots.

SG: Monta Ellis v Marco Belinelli
Advantage: Warriors
In past years, Ellis shot 20 times and got 20 points, which is awful.  Now he shoots 20 times and gets 25 points, which makes him no longer a liability.  I doubt Belinelli will have the footspeed to keep up with Ellis(few do) so Ellis will score a good bit.  However, on the other side, this is an undisciplined defensive team – the sort Belinelli usually shines against.  He may make this not as big of an advantage as you’d think.

SF: Dorell Wright v Trevor Ariza
Advantage: Warriors
Wright is a solid all-around player.  He’s not the most efficent scorer, but he gets nice numbers of blocks, steals, rebounds, and isn’t a bad passer.  He can also knock down a jumpshot.  Ariza will also knock down a couple jumpshots a game.  Too bad he has to take about eighty-four.

PF: Vladimir Radmonovic v David West
Advantage: Hornets
Radmonovic has rediscovered his shooting touch from three this year, but otherwise, he’s nearly useless.  I do worry that West won’t chase him out to the three point line enough and we’ll give up some easy shots, but West should make up for it on the other end abusing VladRad in the post.

C: David Lee v Emeka Okafor
Advantage: Hornets
Amundson has been filling in for the injured Biedrins and Lee.  It’s possible both Lee and Biedrins may start the game, but not likely.  Either way, Lee has been a disappointment so far for the Warriors after the first couple weeks as he’s struggled with injury.  While his rebounding numbers remain good, his efficiency has dropped off dramatically – probably because he’s playing with two combo guards who feel the pick and roll is a really a pick and shoot.  Lee was remarkable finishing the pick and roll, but he’s not getting much opportunity here.  If he wasn’t struggling with a bad back, this would probably be even, but for now Okafor has the advantage.

Reggie Williams, Andris Biedrens, Rodney Carney, Louis Amundson, Ekpe Udoh
Willie Green, Jason Smith, Jarret Jack, Marcus Thornton, Pondexter?
Advantage: Warriors
The Hornets bench has been slowly failing.  While Jack has picked up his game a little, Thornton, Green and Smith have not been making shots of late, and Monty doesn’t really trust anyone else yet.  Hell, we all know he barely trusts Thornton.  The Warriors on the other hand have a really solid sub in Reggie Williams, who is their most efficient scorer and second best shooter.  Biedrens can still control the boards and run the floor, and Amundson and Carney aren’t bad.  If the Hornets second unit let these guys get out and attack, they could be in trouble.  They have to hold the fort defensively.

Enjoy the Game!


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