Game On: Hornets @ Bulls

Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli, Quincy Pondexter, and Willie Green. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the perimeter rotation for the Hornets tonight. If I had told you one year ago that the Hornets would be relying on these four to go into a hostile environment against the Eastern Conference’s hottest (and perhaps best) team, would you have believed me? Would you have even wanted to know?

Chris Paul’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared, but he will be out tonight and it is likely that Ariza will miss the game as well with a strained groin. That means that the Hornets are going to have to find a way to slow down MVP candidate Derrick Rose and the often underrated Luol Deng without their two best perimeter defenders. It also means that the Hornets are going to have to find a way to create offense against the league’s second best defensive team without a playmaker. The five guys starting tonight average a combined 6.7 assists per game, and even if you throw Willie into that mix, you are still under 8 per game.

This Chicago defense is tough when it is able to get set, but it becomes nearly impossible to defeat when the opposing team can not generate constant ball movement. If the Hornets are hoping that they can just use West and Landry to bully the Bulls front line like they did to Cleveland last night, then they will be in for a long game. To be successful against this Bulls defense, teams need to do two things well; have great ball movement off of penetration and get to the free throw line. Witness Chicago’s loss just two weeks ago against Toronto where the Raptors had 43 field goals (29 of which were assisted) and took 34 free throws.

On the other end, it is going to be extremely tough for Jack to stay with Rose, as we have seen him exposed by point guard’s with half of Rose’s quickness and athleticism. It will be interesting to see if Monty decides to put Belinelli on him for stretches to counter the quickness and to better challenge Rose’s jump shot. The other tough matchup will be rookie Quincy Pondexter going up against Luol Deng, who is a savvy vet that seems to fly under the radar despite his considerable skills. Deng is steady and gets a lot of his points off of kick-outs by Rose. If Derrick Rose is breaking down the Hornets defense at will, Q-Pon might get caught peaking on occasion and leave Deng for some wide open looks. I wouldn’t be surprised if Willie Green gets most of the minutes at the 3 tonight, despite the fact that he will be giving up nearly six inches to Deng.

We can try to be as positive as possible heading into this game, but the truth is that this is just not a good matchup for the undermanned Hornets, and a victory here would probably be the most unlikely win of the season. Chicago is back at full strength and clicking right now, while the Hornets have been a MASH unit since the beginning of February and are without their leader. Perhaps the Bulls are mentally fatigued from their battle with Miami, perhaps the Hornets will dedicate this game to CP3 and will fire on all cylenders, and maybe Chicago takes this game too lightly- who knows? That’s why they play the game.

Other Notes and Observations:

– No timetable set for CP3’s return, although I am sure that he will be begging the staff to be back on the court when the Hornets return home to face the Mavericks on Wednesday night. Thanks to Dariusz for the banner, as he says the motivation behind it was to get CP3 better. Lets hope it works.

– West didn’t seem bothered at all by the ankle injury, but he is still not 100% and it is something to continue monitoring. Hopefully the Hornets are getting all these minor injuries out of the way and can head into the playoffs at 100%.

– D West does not play well at Chicago (just 10.6 PPG on less than 40% shooting) and the Hornets have not fared well there as a team, losing four of their last five while scoring less than 88 PPG as a team.

– Bulls have won 16 of their last 17 at home. While their defense has been great both at home and on the road, it is their offense that makes the difference at home, as they shoot 47% at home and 45% on the road, scoring nearly 4 more PPG at home as a team.

– Since coming to New Orleans, Jarrett Jack has played in 8 games where he has gotten 25+ minutes. In those games he is averaging 17 PPG, shooting 59% from the floor and 56% from three.

– After tonight, the Hornets only have 5 more road games left. Hornets will come home tonight and will not have to leave the comfort of their own beds until March 23rd. After a three game road trip, the Hornets will have another long stretch at home from March 28th- April 9th. Getting the 4 seed might not be doable, but this is a great chance for the Hornets to separate themselves from Memphis, Portland, and Denver. With the way the Lakers are playing, they are likely to eventually pass Dallas for the #2 seed, which means that New Orleans wants to do whatever it can to avoid that #7 seed.

Vegas Zone: The opening line before both teams played their games yesterday was Bulls -8. Surprisingly, after the Bulls big win and CP3’s concussion, the line only moved to 10. The Hornets have not been double digit underdogs in any game this year. The over/under is also a season-low for the Hornets at 179.5. Of course, whenever all of the facts point one way, the smart thing is to bet the other way. Hornets stay close and both defenses take a night off. Bulls 102 Hornets 99.

– And now, my favorite feature on Game On posts….. Cap…… That……. Pic!

89 responses to “Game On: Hornets @ Bulls”

  1. What was last week’s winning caption?

    Caption: I wish I could tell you that Al fought the good fight, and the Bulls let him be. I wish I could tell you that…

  2. Caption:

    “Joakim- Hey Al! Bradleys been staring at your but!!!
    GRAY- Wait, what this butt??
    Bradley- Stop it guys your embarassing me.”

  3. Can’t drop the soap in prison. Can’t drop a ball on the court. Poor Al’s about to be initiated.

  4. Caption: Harrington – “DAMMIT! I hate it when my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard”

  5. Aaron: (tapping Harrington) Al, I likes ya and I wants ya. Now, we can do this the easy way or the HARD way. The choice is yours

    Al: All right, all right.

    Joakim: DAMN!!

  6. If Ariza was playing, I would stick him on Rose. Chris or Jack could guard Bogans; Belinelli, Deng.

    Not that any of that matters now, but it sounds good in my head.

  7. yeaaaahhhhh…..don’t have any expectations for this game. Just hope we stay competative through all 4 qtrs. If we do pull out a W that will be great and also very good for moral knowing we beat a very very hot team without CP or Ariza.

  8. Pictures like that are reason #4080 why Aaron Gray disgusts me. Anyway, Hornets are getting speared tonight. Bulls are heading to the Eastern Conference Finals and no one can stop them. Fact.

    Aaron- “No! That’s a bad bee!”
    Brad- “Ewww! I’m allergic!”

  10. Pondexter explodes for 40, Jack 30 points 21 assists, and Belinelli 9-9 for 3. Yep, I see us winning this game under these circumstances…

  11. Caption:

    Noah — “Daaaaayuuum! How do your cakes have more wrinkles than your head?”

    Gray — “Cake?!? Can I have a piece??”

  12. It’s unlikely that Marco will get many touches, and few if any from three point land, if Jackemup starts at point. Marco works hard for open looks but it gets very disheartening when Jack makes no effort to spot and feed him.

  13. Qpon gonna go off 2nite watch. Jack is gonna get burned by Drose tho. This might jus be me but i think we shud pick up another guard to fill CP3’s void. Aubrey Coleman, Pargo? jus my thoughts but a FA or D League player for maybe a ten day contract. Does anyone know how our PG rotation is looking tonite?

    • Here’s one for you…
      Noah is an idiot punk.
      He gets paid tons of money without ever having to have earned it.
      He never plays a full season due to injuries.
      He flops around, running in and out and all around making everybody think he is fast.
      Well, fast he is but he’s an emotional idiot.
      He never has had the numbers everybody seems to think he has.

  14. Noah: DAMMMMMNNNN LOOK AT THAT ASS… Go ahead Aaron tap that shit

    Lindsay Hunter in Corner: “ooooo yyaaaa thatll work… give it to me (looking at the strange object in corner of picture)

  15. Caption: It’s #bootyappreciationday on Twitter and the Bulls bench clearly appreciate the Harrington booty.

    • I was wondering the same thing! Also, is it really true that Okafor has been plagued by injuries for most of his career? I thought he was famously durable and just came off of a league-leading streak of games played. I hate how these other broadcast crews don’t know as much about the hornets as they do their own team! It’s positively epidemic, too. (Imagine sarcasm font for the last bit)

      • lol i thought Emeka had one of the longest active streaks of games played before that oblique injury too? These announcers sound silly

  16. Hmmm so far the Chicago announcers have stated that Okafor’s health has been an ongoing issue since coming into the league, despite having consecutively played nearly 3 full seasons worth of games, and that West is struggling this year…


  17. If we are at full strength and CP3 is playing well, I think we are a very similar team to Chicago. I think we match up fairly well.

  18. We should be winning. Refs gave Bulls the ball after it clearly went off Deng, and they scored. Then, we score later on and they say it’s a shot clock violation even though the ball was out of Landry’s hand before the light went on. 4 points given to Bulls by the zebras.

  19. Hahaha Rose just tried to pull off a highlight dunk, but then realized he couldn’t get high enough.

  20. That was great! Noah goes up for a dunk and the crowd gets excited!!! blocked by west. Next play, Rose does some fancy dribble crowd goes ‘WOW’, blocked by 3 hornets!! great D. keep it up.

  21. 8 points given to Bulls by refs. Random 3 second in the lane call on Landry right before West lays the ball up for the easy 2. This is getting ridiculous.

  22. My ears are bleeding! “With Chris Paul, they are more of a fast-breaking team, with Jarett Jack, the Hornets are more of a half-court team.” Sheesh.

  23. So now the Hornets are a fast break team with CP but a half court team with Jack… So say the announcers…

  24. this win would be so huge, after they just beat the heat and we got no cp or ariza god i want it toooo much

  25. If only I could figure out how to synch up the Hornets radio broadcast with the internet feed I’m watching.

    • These announcers are making me inappropriately mad. I know our tv team has similar issues of homerism, but I really think that our radio guys are awesome. Knowledgeable, reasonably unbiased, and they don’t just spew noise.

      • I’m from Chicago. I’m a Bulls and Hornets fan and I’ve stated this for the past two years on this blog. I’ve also stated facts about the Bulls as I have about the Hornets, the Heat, the Lakers and so on. Now once again, are you a 5 percenter or is calling people gawd mainstream slang?

  26. comeon green.. you could have gotten a better shot than that jumpshot. drive it and get a foul, the game is on the line!

  27. ya if green would have lost that i would have lost it, it is what it is. we played good game without cp and ariza

  28. Jack: 23pts 4 reb 3 ast…5 TO’s 8-19 FG’S. Eh not bad. He definitely did his part in leaving us in this game.

    Green: 3-13 FG’s 6 pts
    West: 4-17 FG’s 11 pts
    If these two hit at least near their averages, this game would’ve been ours.

    Good game by Belinelli. It’s nice for him to have found his rhythm again. We definitely need his production going forward.

    • True, but these guys aren’t expected to get their averages against a rigorous Chicago defense, especially without CP3 creating for them.

  29. Tonight I believe we saw why a large dose of Jarrett Jack at the point is like liver and onions. A little goes a long way. Jack is a scorer first and foremost. With the ball in his hands it usually stays there. He can get to the line, but its at the expense of a stagnant offense. Some of the few times he tried to creat , turnovers and ill-timed passes were often the result. Still the pollenators almost won this thang! That’s without CP3, Ariza. And, with West seemingly having lost his coordinates for the basket. Beli was gassed by the end of the game and kind of disappeared from the offense. But, like I said gritty effort by NOLA.

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