Game On: Hornets @ Linsanity

Published: February 17, 2012

The Hornets visit New York and get the experience of Linsanity in the Garden first hand.  We give you the keys to a Hornets victory.

The Knicks are a hard team to read.  Their first 23 games or so were a disaster with solid  defense and worse offense.  Their last 7 games have been much better with great defense and solid offense.  Which set of data should I use?

Don’t be fooled, however.  Even with Jeremy Lin providing them with the vital ability to penetrate a team’s defensive perimeter, the Knicks aren’t an amazing offensive team.  It’s been their defense, anchored by Tyson Chandler, Iman Schumpert, and a few other defensive specialists that’s made this team rip off seven straight wins.

To break the Knicks’ defense, the Hornets need to do two on the offensive end:

  1. Take the ball to the rack.  Tyson Chandler is absolutely vital to the Knicks defense – as he was in Dallas last year, and with the Hornets before that.  He is, however, foul-prone at times and you take him out and their defense becomes much less impressive.  The Knicks as a whole are also one of the worst in the league at fouling – allowing a huge free throw rate for opponents.  The Hornets need to take advantage of that.
  2. Crash the boards.  Face it, the Hornets aren’t a great shooting team.  Going against a good defense, that’s going to become even harder.  However, if the Hornets use their length, they can grab offensive boards against the Knicks, who are mediocre on the glass.

To break the Knicks’ offense, the Hornets need to do three things on the defensive end:

  1. Pack the paint.  The Knicks aren’t great shooters, and rely heavily on the pick and roll to get easy shots at the basket by Chandler and Stoudemire, who are two of the best roll finishers in the league.  Go under every screen.  Jam the roll man and let them take long shots.
  2. Throw periodic full-court pressure at Jeremy Lin.  Lin’s big weakness is his turnovers.  Every once and a while, just to keep him off-balance, pressure him hard and see if you can get a few easy buckets.
  3. Don’t turn the ball over.  New York has a good number of speedsters and finishers at the rim.  Any sort of turnovers will result in easy points going away.  The Hornets can’t give up those easy points or they are doomed.

Enjoy the game!


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