3-on-3: Previewing 76ers at Hornets

Published: January 4, 2012

Two writers from Philadunkia.com join us to preview tonight’s game against the 76ers.

We’ll also have a live chat starting half an hour before the Hornets game and continuing throughout, and additional coverage from the morning shootaround.

In other Hornets news, the team is following through on their promise to the community to start a midnight basketball league in coordination with the City’s Save Our Sons Campaign. They will discuss the launch at a press conference tomorrow afternoon with Mayor Landrieu and Hugh Weber. We’ll be there to cover the event and will get you the details.

For those of you not in New Orleans, violence and crime has seemingly been a bit on the rise lately in some areas. It’s nice to see that the Hornets are using their resources to help combat it. This is one of those issues that requires everyone to do their part to truly make a difference. If you see something, say something…or something.

For now though, let’s talk Hornets-76ers.

1. Which matchup most favors the 76ers?

Tom Sunnergren (Philadunkia.com): Hard to say. The Hornets aren’t exactly a juggernaut, but they did well enough in the Paul trade that nothing really jumps off the page as an enormous area of advantage for the 7-6. What I would say is this: NO seems constructed to play at a much more deliberate pace than Philly, so if the Sixers can manage to force turnovers and run, they should be able to notch their first win of 2012.

Carey Smith (Philadunkia.com): Assuming Trevor Ariza (groin) plays, the match-up that most favors the Sixers will be Andre Iguodala vs. Ariza. If Ariza were 100% healthy, I think that this would be a fun mono-y-mono battle to watch (Iguodala would still win however.), but with Ariza hobbled and AI9 playing out of his mind right now (52 % on FGA; 66% on 3PA) this match-up swings heavily in favor of the Sixers.

Joe Gerrity: The mental game. The Hornets have really struggled in crucial moments so far this season. Too many times in game-defining possessions they’ve had stupid turnovers or failed to get quality looks, especially out of timeouts. If Gordon winds up playing, he gives the Hornets that guy who can take the ball off a timeout and get a bucket, but he’s played all of one game with the rest of his team. He’s bound to be behind where some other people are in terms of anticipating the movement of teammates.

2. What matchup most favors the Hornets?

Tom Sunnergren (Philadunkia.com): Despite the inexplicable (and probably unreal) rise of Spencer Hawes, after watching LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick Favors, and David Lee have their way with the Sixers in the first week of the season, I’m expecting the Landry-Okafor-Kaman trifecta to do the same. On the offensive end, if anyone is expecting Turner or Iguodala to have a breakout game, keep waiting. Something tells me Trevor Ariza won’t let that happen on his watch.

Carey Smith (Philadunkia.com): The match-up that most favors the Hornets will be whichever New Orleans guard is being defended by Louis Williams. When Williams is in the game, I’m not sure if he’ll be on Eric Gordon or Jarrett Jack, but it doesn’t matter, the NOH guard with #23 between him and the basket will be smiling ear-to-ear. I am sure that the NOH’s scouting report indicated that Williams is one of the weakest defenders on the team and thus either Gordon or Jack will have the green light whenever Louis is on the court. The NOH bigs should have decent night as well.

Joe: Whoever the 76ers stick Lou Williams on vs Lou Williams. He’s too small and not quite talented enough to guard Eric Gordon, Jarrett Jack, or Greivis Vasquez. Unfortunately for the Hornets he’s also too quick to be guarded consistently be any of them. Williams should be able to get open shots, but a key for the 76ers will be hiding him enough on defense that he isn’t giving up more than he’s getting.

3. Care to make a few predictions about the game?

Tom Sunnergren (Philadunkia.com): Spencer Hawes gets another double-double, Lou Williams continues his hot streak, and the Sixers play it fast and loose for a 103-97 win.

Carey Smith (Philadunkia.com):
Even if Gordon and Trevor Ariza were both 100% healthy, I think the Hornets would have a very tough time winning this game. With both of them laboring and the 76ers coming off their best all-around game (107-79 win @ GSW) of the very young season, I think the Sixers win this one going away. Look for Louis Williams to stay hot, AI9 to have another solid game and for Elton Brand to finally get back on track. Also I’ll be interested to see how the suddenly very reliable Spencer Hawes (12 & 12.5 per night) fares against the tandem of Okafor and Kaman.

Joe: The Hornets will win the battle up top. I’d also wager that they find their three point stroke again in front of the home crowd. If Gordon plays well and Ariza starts/Aminu fills in admirably, the Hornets can win. Otherwise it’s going to be tough.


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