3-on-3: Previewing Jazz @ Hornets

Published: February 13, 2012

The Hornets could head into tonight’s game against Utah with only eight active players.

Henry will likely see bigger minutes tonight as the Hornets continue to battle injuries

Emeka Okafor is questionable because of a bum knee, and Chris Kaman continues to be questionable because of a ankle sprain. As a result, the Hornets could head into tonight’s contest with the league minimum eight active players. It’s times like this when the team could really use an in-state D-League team like Hugh Weber and I talked about a while ago.

As it stands, if Okafor and Kaman can’t go, then it’s Ayon next to Aminu up top, with Ariza, Belli, and Vasquez behind them. Monty talked about playing more zone to keep guys out of foul trouble, but he seems to fear that the team is too inexperienced as a unit to handle it.


1. Which matchup most favors the Jazz?

Michael McNamara: Due to injuries, the Utah front line have a massive advantage in this matchup. The first time these two met, Kaman and Smith came off the bench to give the Hornets 30 points and 14 rebounds, but neither of those guys will be in action tonight, and Carl Landry is out as well. That leaves ‘Mek and Goose all alone to deal with Milsap, Jefferson, Kanter, and Favors. Advantage: Jazz

James Grayson: I hate to agree with Michael but this one is in the front-court. Though remember it’s probably going to come from depth more than anything. If Emeka isn’t good to go then Aminu will start next to Gustavo. After that there’s a lot left to be desired.

Joe: It sounds crazy since the starting lineup could include Ayon and Aminu up top, but it’s actually the bench that would really have it taken to them if Okafor and Kaman don’t go.

2. Which matchup most favors the Hornets?

McNamara: Reluctantly I will say small forward, only because there is really no other possible option. Ariza has had a couple of standout games as of late and maybe he can be the Ariza we saw in the Detroit game when he went off for 26. If he doesn’t win his matchup against Gordon Hayward and Josh Howard, the Hornets will be in for a long night.

Grayson: Definitely the Hornets have the matchup on the jerseys. I mean taking the whole, “Utah really does love their Jazz” thing and redesign of their logo, the Hornets win this one 10 times out of 10.

Joe: I remember when this question was really relevant. You know– when we used to be favored in matchups.

3. Care to make some predictions about the game?

McNamara: I feel like I can just cut and paste the following into this section for every game: Hornets will be competative for three quarters, then get crushed in the fourth. Utah is on the second night of a back-to-back after an impressive win against Memphis last night, so perhaps they will run out of gas as well. But I wouldn’t bet on it. An ugly game that will make those in attendance who are single even more depressed going into V-Day. Jazz 91 Hornets 82.

Grayson: Jazz will have their way with the Hornets, especially if New Orleans can only put 8 players in uniform. The Jazz are a fringe playoff team with a lot of solid NBA players. Expect big games from just about every Utah player. Jazz 88, Hornets 73.

Joe: It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Hornets pull off an upset here, even at home, even if the crowd is fired up, even if Okafor plays. I’d be happy to see them within 10 by the end of the third quarter. I won’t be happy if the reason it’s close is because a sore Okafor plays 30 and Ariza sees 40. If this thing gets out of hand, Monty needs to rest his guys as much as possible. There’s a long, hard road trip coming up, and it’s going to feel four times as long without the vets able to contribute throughout.


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