3-on-3: Previewing Nuggets at Hornets

Published: January 6, 2012

Charlie Yao from Roundball Mining Company joins us to answer a few key questions about tonight’s game. Update- Eric Gordon is estimated to be out 2-3 weeks, putting a real damper on the Hornets playoff hopes.

*Don’t forget about our live chat starting at 6:45 CT tonight and going on throughout the game.

1. Which matchup most favors the Nuggets?

Charlie Yao (Roundball Mining Company): I’m going with the bench. Both Andre Miller and Al Harrington are providing starter-like production as reserves and it’s helped the Nuggets maintain a high energy level throughout the game. The Hornets bench features a lot of young talent dealing with inconsistent playing time thanks to some unfortunate injuries. Denver’s had no problem getting shooting and scoring off the bench while New Orleans seems to be struggling there quite a bit.

Michael McNamara (Hornets24/7): I just don’t see how the Hornets can keep Ty Lawson from getting anywhere he wants in this game. Lawson is lightning quick and we have seen in the past that Jack is better at covering shooting guards, as is Vasquez. Look for Lawson to push the pace whenever possible and for him to get into the lane frequently when the Nuggets are in the half court.

Joe Gerrity: Last game I thought the Hornets lack of experience late in games might do them in. Same goes for this one.

2. Which matchup most favors the Hornets?

Charlie Yao (Roundball Mining Company): It’s definitely the front court matchups, especially at the Center position. Kaman and Okafor have the ability to dominate the boards against Denver’s middling rebounders. The Hornets are currently second in offensive rebound rate while the Nuggets are third-worst in the league. If they can defend and limit the Nuggets to one shot, the Hornets could have a lot of success and this is definitely an area of the game to watch closely.

Michael: I agree 100% withe Charlie here; the only way the Hornets win this game is if they control the boards. Denver is an efficient team on offense, while the Hornets are among the least efficient in the league. The formula for overcoming such a disparity us to finish the game with more attempts than your opponent.

Joe: It’s hard to disagree with Michael or Charlie. Hornest need to control the boards, and they need to finish strong when they get offensive boards under the basket.

3. Care to make some predictions about the game?

Charlie Yao (Roundball Mining Company): I don’t think the Hornets can score enough points if the game gets anywhere near Denver’s preferred pace. They’ll need to play very consistent defense and hopefully get Eric Gordon back to carry the load offensively. They’ll also have to shut down the Nuggets’ transition game and win the turnover battle.

Michael: The Hornets will play with Denver most of the game, but the Nuggets are capable of going on runs, while this Hornets team is not. I see a lot of back and forth between the two teams, but at some point Denver will go on a 16-4 type of run and pull away.

Joe: If the Hornets win this it’s going to be because they controlled the boards and were able to get hot from downtown, the latter being something they have struggled with so far this season.


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