Game On: Celtics at Hornets

Published: December 28, 2011

(update- Eric Gordon will not play because of a bruised right knee. I no longer expect a blowout, just a close win.)

The Hornets will look to continue in their quest to go undefeated tonight against a win-less Celtics team. Boston is missing Paul Pierce and coming off a loss last night against the Heat in which Ray Allen spent the majority of his time chasing around Dwayne Wade. You can bet that the veteran is not thrilled to now have to face off against the Hornets most deadly offensive weapon, Eric Gordon.

Most of the Hornets roster is going to be playing their first meaningful game as the home team in New Orleans.  The energy level will be high both on the court and in the stands, especially as we witness the first season opening home game for the Bee-Zanies. I expect great things from the Zanies this year in terms of bringing energy to the arena throughout, but especially early on in games where audible fan support has often been lacking in previous years. After watching their tryouts, I can’t imagine they will disappoint.

On the court, the Hornets welcome back Jarrett Jack, who looked great in the postseason and in relief of CP3 as a starter last year. He missed last game after being suspended for pleading no-contest to a reckless driving charge. Regardless of that error in judgment, we might be looking at the best Jarrett Jack the NBA has ever seen. He was focused in training camp and seemed eager to take on the leadership role that is essentially required of him.

Eric Gordon and the Hornets bigs should attack the rim early and often in search of getting Jermaine O’Neal into foul trouble. He’s been a foul-machine so far this year, and is admittedly frustrated with his inability to get into a rhythm. Without him on the floor the Celtics have a big hole in the rebounding and defense department. I’m not sure they can overcome losing him for a chunk of the game if he picks up a few early on.

You want a prediction? Fine! The Hornets win and win big. I expect to see a double digit victory fueled by crazy fans and a big performance by Belinelli from downtown. Last year he tore apart the Celtics and if they leave him open again this year, we will see the same result. They’re tired, reeling, and probably ready to take a day off and re-group at home.

I’ll even take it a step further since the Celtics have been starting off games so poorly this year and the crowd is going to be wild. If the Hornets can come out hot, they could put this thing away by the end of the first half and we could see the Celtics resting their veterans for the majority of the fourth quarter.

Optimistic? Sure, but that’s how I roll for game one at home. I already titled the recap– “Hornets Obliterate Celtics”.


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