Game On: Hornets @ Heat

Published: October 26, 2012

The Hornets travel to Miami to face off against the Heat tonight at 7 PM central time on ESPN2 in their final preseason tune-up.

Tonight’s Hornets at Heat game will serve as both teams’ final preseason game and last chance to prepare for the regular season. For the Hornets, Eric Gordon and Jason Smith will sit again, and Austin Rivers will be a gametime decision. Here is what I’ll be keeping a very close eye on throughout the game tonight (that we can finally watch on cable!).

Three Things to Watch

1) Turnovers. The Hornets are coming off of a horrendous 24 turnover night in a home loss to Houston, and have had trouble taking care of the ball all preseason. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they’ll be facing a Miami team that ranked third in the NBA in opponents’ turnover rate last season, forcing them on 15.8% of their opponents’ possessions. This game will be a good final tune-up before opening night, as it should be a stiff test for the team’s ball handlers.

2) The Small Forward position.  At least three of us here at Hornets247 are all aboard the “Darius Miller for starting SF” bandwagon, as he has simply played better than every other available option in the preseason thus far. I don’t think anyone expects him to be a game-changer, but he could fill a similar role for the Hornets offensively as Kawhi Leonard does for the Spurs in his ability to shoot the 3 while minimizing his turnover rate. What I’ll be looking for from Miller tonight is how he holds up against the slightly above average Miami Heat wings. No one expects him to stop LeBron or Wade, but if he can show signs of some defensive potential despite his lack of plus athleticism, it would be very encouraging.

3) Player Rotations. Being that this is the final preseason game, conventional wisdom would lead me to believe that Coach Williams will give extended time to the lineups that he expects to use most frequently. As a result, I’m going to pay close attention not so much to how many minutes each player gets, but instead who is on the court together. Will we see an Anderson/Davis/Lopez lineup? Will Anderson and Davis play together for an extended period of time? It will be very interesting to see how everything plays out.



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