Game On: Grizzlies @ Hornets

Published: April 1, 2011

Matchup: Grizzlies(42-33) @ New Orleans Hornets(43-32)

Caption me!

Off Efficiency: Grizzlies 104.5 (15th), Hornets 103.9(19th)
Def Efficiency: Grizzlies 102.9(11th), Hornets 101.7(7th)

Pace: Grizzlies 94.5 (15th), Hornets 90.9 (29th)

The Hornets have two games left against the Grizzlies in the closing eight games, and they are both must-win contests. Tonight is the easier of the two, since it’s a Friday home game in front of what is expected to be a large, but not sell-out crowd. As of now there are around 350 “hits” still available, which can be anywhere from 1-8 seats. Don’t have tickets yet? Make that happen.

It’s a beautiful day here in New Orleans, so Buzzfest and the beer garden should be bumping. When that happens, it leads to a riled up crowd, which makes the Hornets and their 25-11 home record all the more deadly.

Here are the Western Conference Standings-

As you can see, the Hornets are still mired in a tough fight to the finish, with uncertainty still running rampant about whether or not they can even make the postseason (they will). There’s also lots of talk about which seed would be ideal, but with so much ball left to play, the best course of action according to Monty Williams is to win every game. I have to imagine that might change in the last few games of the season, when things are a little more clear.

As for the game tonight, the Grizzlies are bad outside scorers, so the Hornets main goal should be to keep them from penetrating. They take only 11.3 threes per game, and for good reason– their shooting percentage from deep is a mere 32.8 percent, third to last in the league. New Orleans is 11th in the league in three-point shooting percentage allowed, but as we all know, they can at times struggle to locate open shooters on the perimeter.

With Rudy Gay out, Memphis should struggle to get inside against the Hornets, but they could still be able to win if Okafor and Landry can’t stop Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol from getting easy buckets inside. The Grizz hit a huge percentage of their shots from that range, and it’s unclear if Landry has the size to prevent them from having their way inside. If Carl struggles early, it will almost certainly mean big minutes for Aaron Gray.

On defense Memphis has let opponents knock down the long ball at a 37.2 percent clip, 25th in the league, so the Hornets should have a good number of opportunities to hit the crowd pleasing shot. If Belinelli can find his range early, the Hornets should be able to make this a long night for the Grizz defense, as that will open up the inside for Paul.

As for CP3, it really looked like he was moving like his old self in Wednesday’s game, but his shot was noticeably off again. Paul is only 8/25 (32%) in his past two games, but has averaged 10.5 assists vs only 1.5 turnovers, to go along with six boards and three steals over the two game stretch against Western Conference playoff teams.

Notes From the Arena

  • Joe will be on the Daily Dime Chat for most of the evening. Stop by and say hi if you have a minute. Let people know that there are TONS of Hornets fans out there.
  • A few days ago I wrote an article about how the New Orleans Hornets win the championship, but I feel like I was way too negative. Sorry about that, but the D-West injury got me down. This team still plays great defense, and if somehow Landry and Okafor can stay out of foul trouble for the majority of the postseason, there really is a better chance than I gave them to get out of the first round.

Enjoy the game! No chat today, but I’ll try to get one for the next home game if I can swing it.

Sorry the post was so late getting up today. I wrote it earlier, thought I pressed publish, and then ran out the door to a meeting. Apparently it didn’t publish. Anyway, the meeting is certainly related to this site. If it works out, you’ll be the first to know the good news.


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