Friday, December 14, 2007
Ron Hitley over at Hornets247.com has done a lot to help me get going as a blogger, and we've decided that we work so well together that I'm going to close down The New Orleans Hornets Fan and join him over at Hornets247. That way all you Hornets fans can get our dubiously insightful information from a single source.
So, I hope to see you over there, and thanks for having taken the time to read me here.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
- Ron Hitley's over at Hornets247. It was also his first game in New Orleans, and everyone should send him a housewarming present. I understand he likes beer. Lots and lots of beer.
- My own take at MVN. Warning! I hear I'm bitter. But I do say a few things that are interesting. At least, I think they are interesting.
- A nice graphic over at the 3 Shades of blue that collects the Power Rankings from most of the major sites. It's nice to have it in one place.
The next game is against Memphis on Friday, and those awesome guys at 3 Shades of Blue asked me to submit a synopsis of how the Hornets have been playing for their Game Preview. If you get a chance, you should go check it out. My own Game Preview should be up sometime tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
- I have a new post at MVN about the Hornets December Schedule
- CP3 has a new Website - and it's looking pretty sharp. It even mentions something called CP3TV. Yes please.
- Dave Berri over at the Wages of Wins again promotes CP3 - pointing out he's infinitely cooler than Deron Williams. I never tire of hearing that, though Jazz fans apparently do judging by the comments.
Opponent: Detroit Pistons(12-5)
Relevant Opposing Blogger: Motoring
The Pistons bang into New Orleans tonight after pounding the Hawks into submission last night in Atlanta. They are on a roll at the moment, having won four straight, but are going to come up against one of their toughest challenges to date. Really. If there is any team in the league that has faced an easier schedule than the Hornets(and maybe Celtics) it's these Pistons. So far, the only tests they've faced are Orlando and Utah. They got 0-5 Golden State before SJax came back and Cleveland without Lebron, and the only two other teams with decent records they've faced were the Lakers and New Jersey.
Here's hoping for a tough game, with both teams trying to see what sort of mettle they have. Or better yet, a blowout, with Rasheed Wallace foaming at the mouth in the locker room at half time.
PG: Chauncey Billups vs. Chris Paul
The Detroit PG gets to say hello to the new model tonight, as CP3 takes on former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups. Mr. Big Shot is still a good PG, but Paul is outstripping him at pretty much everything at this point; He's a better rebounder, assist-man, ballhawk, scorer and shooter. In fact, the car analogy continues to hold - like an older vehicle compared to a modern one, the only thing Billups has on Paul is size and weight. That's not likely to be enough.
SG: Rip Hamilton vs. Morris Peterson
The Piston's Iron Man isn't proving to be so Iron this year, shooting well below average in every category in only 34 minutes a game. At least his assists are up. He's still a little better than Morris, though this isn't the advantage it used to be: Morris is playing very well in his limited minutes.
SF: Tayshaun Prince vs. Peja Stojakovic
Tyson Chandler's High School team mate is having one of his best years shooting the ball. He's filling it up on that corner 3-ball, and Peja is going to have to close on him fast to disrupt him. of course, the same can be said for Peja - so the advantage is actually in defense. Prince is still a good one-on-one defender with long arms to harass ball handling. His defense gives him the edge unless Peja gets hot.
PF: Antonio McDyess vs. David West
The exceptional part of McDyess's game vanished with the soundness of his kneecap a few years back, but he's still a solid veteran PF who gets along with sound fundamentals and veteran wile. West has never been accused of being a freak athelete, but his skills are excellent, and far outstrip McDyess on the offensive end. Both of them are about equal on Defense.
C: Rasheed Wallace v Tyson Chandler
Wallace is treated like a big star, but he's offensively mediocre, takes way too many long-range shots, rebounds poorly, and whines like a two year old. Other than the one half-season he played hard after being traded to the Pistons, Wallace has always under-achieved. Tyson Chandler is playing aggressively again now that his knee is feeling better. He'll outhustle and out-bang Wallace in the post, and his defense is on par with the Piston Center. The only thing to worry about is if Chandler riles up Wallace, and Rasheed decides this is one of the ten games this year he's going to play hard in.
The Pistons have several good Bench Players in Jason Maxiell(finally getting mintes), Jarvis Hayes(Finally found his shot) and Nazr Mohammed. Even Flip Murray has his moments. The Hornets have a collection of streaky, up-and-down players who of late hurt the team more than they help. I keep hoping they'll return to the same form they showed in the first half-dozen games, but that seems more and more unlikely all the time.
Hornets win, 99-93
Monday, December 3, 2007
What do I want to say?
We got two more wins and now sit at 4th in the Western Conference, and what's best is Chandler is looking like his knee has finally recovered. Before the Atlanta-Dallas games, he didn't really go up and get those rebounds. He's exploding off the floor again. Peja is also continuing to expand his game from being a spot up shooter. He's getting in the mix for rebounds, running the floor and dribbling a little bit. It's great to see.
The bench, though, not so good. Bobby is apparently playing with a strained groin - which explains his output, but the rest of the 2nd squad is not doing so much. West can't keep playing 40+ minutes a game.
At least Byron is playing Pargo exactly the way he should be playing him. He puts him in, once he's made any combination of turnovers and misses that adds up to 4, he's pulled. With a streaky player like him, that's best. Limit his damage on his bad nights, and let him roll on his good ones.
Oh - and according to one of the comments over on Ron Hitley's blog, Michael Thompson, the Hornets Director of Communications, is leaving the Hornets for the Charlotte Bobcats. I wish him the best, he was instrumental in setting up Ron and I with the Bloggerview with Chad Shinn, and I can't thank him enough.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Opponent: Atlanta Hawks(6-8)
Relevant Opposing Blogger: Impending Firestorm, Hawks Basketblog
The Hornets roll into Atlanta tonight for the first of a pair of back to back games. The Hawks take the court winners of 3 of their last 4 games, while the Hornets arrive losers of 3 of their last four games. Yeah, that's great.
The Hawks are a young team, with an average age of 25.1, and most of its starting line-up is still astonished they're legally allowed to drink now. The Hawks starters are Al Horford(21), Josh Smith(21), Marvin Williams(21), Joe Johnson(26), and Anthony Johnson(33, replacing Acie Law, 21). Even their primary bench guys, Josh Childress(24), Zaza Pachulia(23), Tyronn Lue(30), and Salim Stoudamire(25) are pretty young. As can be expected for young teams, they aren't that interested in passing and running an offense, posting a very low 18.9 assists a game, yet still averaging a mid-range number of turnovers. As a result, their shooting percentages aren't that high, particularly from 3, where they shoot an abysmal 31%.
On the flip side, all these youngsters are very athletic, and as a whole, they draw a good number of fouls, and can defend fairly well. It'll be interesting to watch the methodical Hornets try to pick apart this group of athletic thoroughbreds.
PG: Anthony Johnson vs. Chris Paul
Anthony is a wily veteran who can run a team and score a little. Last year he had some injury issues, but he seems healthy at this point in the season and will do fairly well at the point. At least, he'd do well if he wasn't going against Paul. And because I can't resist: Any Atlanta fans reading this? You could have had Chris Paul. He even said he wanted to play in Atlanta. Go Billy Knight!
SG: Joe Johnson vs. Morris Peterson
Johnson is a pure scorer who doesn't provide much else on the floor beyond points. But he is exceptional at producing those points. His three point shot isn't falling as much this year, but I'm fairly suspicious that it's just a momentary dip that sometimes occurs for good shooters. Joe is also capable of driving to the hole and dishing, witness his 5 assists a game. Morris can shoot and defend, but doesn't have the complete offensive game.
SF: Marvin Williams vs. Peja Stojakovic
Marvin has been making a concerted effort to take it to the hole this year, and has only taken three shots from deep all season. Instead, he's been drawing more fouls, taking closer shots, and his shooting percentage has climbed to a very solid 49%. Peja, on the other hand, stays on the perimeter and takes more long-distance shots than ever, hitting 47% of his threes. If he wants to hit that man, he can stay there, but happily he's also been a lot more effective recently when run off the three point line, hitting shots off two dribbles, or posting up and hitting a gorgeous fadeaway. These two players are very close, if very different.
PF: Josh Smith vs. David West
Without question, Smith is the better defender. Despite playing a gambling style that usually hurts a team more than it helps, he's so athletic that it's worth it, generating 2 steals and 4 blocks a game. Also without question is that West is a better offensive player than Smith. Smith forces his offense, and as a result turns the ball over a ton and shoots an awful 36% from the floor. He's also taking 2 threes a game, while hitting 19% from that distance. Fire away, Josh.
West, on the other hand, plays mediocre fundamental defense, but has multiple options on offense and is very efficient there. Because West is a little more dependable overall, I give him the edge by a hair.
C: Al Horford vs. Tyson Chandler
Horford has looked very good as a rookie. He rebounds well, defends well, and hits a high percentage of the shots he takes, unless they are free throws. Tyson Chandler can be described in the exact same way, and it's almost eerie how similar their stat lines are. Of course, Tyson's stats have been dragged down because of his semi-hobbled state. If the three days off have helped and it's healthy-knee Tyson taking the court, he's going to get back to his 13 rebounds a game and his advantage will be greater.
Advantage: Who the Hell knows?
Childress is a very efficient scorer off the bench, who does a lot of little things well. Zaza is ok. The rest of the Hawks bench is suspect. The entire Hornets bench is suspect right now. Some games, they look fantastic, other games they look like crap. We'll see.
I think the Hornets felt pretty embarassed by their loss to the Timberwolves, and will come to Atlanta ready to play. They also have been playing very well on the road so I'm going to call this one for the Hornets, 96-88.
For more on the Hawks game and the Dallas game I probably won't have time to preview tomorrow, go take a look at Ron Hitley's latest post. Have a good trip, Ron.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Peja Stojakovic scored 17 on 50% shooting, West had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Chris Paul went for 31 points and 11 assists. Normally, you'd think that would win us the game. But no, this one was never even close. I'd like to blame it on the Hornets 3-point shooting, following up on my post over at MVN,(go read it, it's cool and got numbers and stuff) because they only hit 7-22 shots(31%) from deep, but that wasn't it.
The Hornets just played like they should win that game. Marko Jaric was hitting every shot he took - and they left him wide open four times? They didn't even run at the guy. And while I'm sure it was shocking to see Antoine Walker actually hitting shots, it would still make sense to try and stop him. In all, the defense was just poor, and the 2nd unit was more focused on jacking up bad shots than anything else. When the Hornets woke up in the second half and made their run, it was too late.
I do have to give the Wolves credit though - the seemed to smell the fact that the Hornets were playing lazy and amped up their defense. They pressured the ball handlers, disrupted the Hornets offense, and contested everything inside. Kudos to them. With that said, they can go to hell.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
That game against Orlando was not pleasant - Tyson going down brought to mind all the injuries the Hornets have suffered over the last few years, but there was one thing from that game that wasn't just encouraging, it was almost inspiring. Peja looked like the Peja of old - the guy didn't just spot up, he was driving, posting up, fading away, drilling shots off the dribble, defending hard and getting his hands into the passing lanes. We may have lost that game, but Peja did everything he could to get us back into it. Ron Hitley didn't feel that bad after the game either, once it was confirmed that Tyson wasn't serious hurt.
So, on to tonight's game!
Opponent: Indiana Pacers(4-7)
Relevant Opposing Blogger: Indy Cornrows
The dastardly Indiana Pacers lope into New Orleans tonight to take on the wonderful New Orleans Hornets, hopefully tired and demoralized after being destroyed by the Lakers last night in Indy. If there is any team in the league that is as inconsistent as this Pacers team, I'm yet to see them. In their 4 wins this season, they have won by an average of 10 points. In their 7 losses, they've lost by an average of 13.
Part of the problem is they are relying a lot on Jamaal Tinsley and Mike Dunleavy. Both of these players have shown a sad lack of drive over their careers. When they're focused on a game, they're pretty good, but most of the time they just float. Hopefully they'll be on cruise control tonight.
Injuries have hit both teams. The Pacers are missing Ike Diogu, a promising young power forward who tore his calf earlier in the year, and shooting guard Marquis Daniels, who has continued his stretch of injuries from last year. He's listed as day to day. The Hornets, of course, could have Paul and/or Chandler in the lineup tonight. Or not. I'm guessing Byron will try to make them sit, but we'll see, neither of those guys like to watch games.
PG: Jamaal Tinsley vs. Jannero Pargo
Tinsley is a decent passer, but a terrible defender and shooter.(38%) He's slow, and most of the time disinterested. Pargo is a relentless gunner, though when he remembers he's playing point, he does alright as a passer. Still, I hold him somewhat responsible for the loss in Orlando because he forgot his role in the fourth quarter and jacked up crap from all over the floor, missing a lot of it. Anyways, how sad is this for Indiana? I consider our 3rd string PG to be as good as their starter.
SG: Mike Dunleavy vs. Morris Peterson
Dunleavy may score and rebound more than Morris, but his shooting touch has also been very poor this season. Peterson has been shooting career highs of 49% FG and 42%3pt this season, and last game he was all over the floor, getting tips, deflections, boxing out. He was an animal. Dunleavy will never be accused of being an animal or energy guy. Or even an effort guy.
SF: Danny Granger vs. Peja Stojakovic
I'm trying to not get too excited about what I saw last game from Peja, because he's still working his way into shape and has been fairly inconsistent this season. Granger, however, is having his best year, leading the Pacers in scoring with 18 a game and providing some nice energy defense. He's a good young player, and in some ways the way he fell to 17 in his draft reminds me of a former Hornets 18 pick . . .
PF: Jermaine O'Neal vs. David West
Non-All-Star David West, who takes on multiple All-Star Jermaine O'Neal. This may be unexpected based on O'Neals reputation, but so far, he's having a terrible season. For a big man that plays near the basket, O'Neal has always been a very inefficient, even poor, scorer, but this year he's hitting rock bottom. He's shooting 38%, is fouling and turning the ball over a lot, and even his rebounding is down. Apparently, his surgically repaired knee is still not at full strength, and that's slowing him down. Good. West, who had a bad game against Orlando, will be sure to make him chase him all over the court and make that knee ache even more.
C: Troy Murphy vs. Hilton Armstrong
The Hornets big man looked great in the preseason. He's not looked great in the regular season. He's turning the ball over an amazing 27.9% of the times he touches the ball, and he looks almost lost out there at times. I feel for the guy, and I hope he breaks out tonight given extended playing time. Troy Murphy shouldn't give him a lot of trouble in the post, since he prefers to hit the spot up jumpshot from about 18 feet. That will give Hilton the freedom to use his strength - athleticism - to roam the paint and close on Troy when necessary, and won't require him to battle a much bigger player under the basket - which is his weakness. Still, Murphy is a proven scorer and rebounder. Hilton's going to have to play well to neutralize him.
With Hilton and Pargo being pressed into starter's roles, the Hornets no longer have an advantage here. The Pacers have two good players that come off the bench in Jeff Foster and Shawne Williams, but the rest of the backup unit is poor at best. Other than Bobby, none of the Hornets backups are currently playing well enough to match the other one, but we at least have Bowen, Butler, Ely and Wright who won't hurt us much. The Pacer bench doesn't go that deep.
Enjoy the game, and Thanksgiving tomorrow as well!