Tip Off: 5:00 PM (PST)
New Orleans Golden State
PG – Jarrett Jack Nate Robinson
SG – Marco Belinelli Klay Thompson
SF – Trevor Ariza Dorell Wright
PF – Gustavo Ayon David Lee
C – Chris Kaman Andris Biedrins
Scope the opposition: Get your Hornets fix at Hornets247.
Preview: After a disappointing home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night, the Golden State Warriors have now lost four games in a row and have only been victorious once since trading away Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh over to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Dubs will be looking to bounce back tonight when they travel to take on a New Orleans Hornets team that has lost four of their past five games, but are coming off a win against the New Jersey Nets on last Saturday.
The New Orleans Hornets have an offensive efficiency rating of 97.0 (28th in the NBA) and convert 44.1 percent of their shots from the floor (17th in the league).
In other words, the offense is bad. The Hornets struggle to put up points for a multitude of reasons, but the biggest one is their inability to get easy baskets.
On the season, New Orleans scores 8.8 (!) fast break points per game (last in the association) and 40.6 points in the paint (17th in the NBA) on average. Given the personnel on the roster, one would assume that the team would preach getting up and down the floor to score early and not face the pressure to execute in the half court, but such is not the case.
Instead, NOLA plays at the slowest pace in the league, preferring instead to position themselves to be a ball control offense that’s methodic in its offensive execution. This can work out well if say your starting point guard is Steve Nash, Deron Williams or say Chris Paul (you know, only three of the best point guards in the NBA); but otherwise failure is inevitable. Indeed, the Hornets are a jump shooting team that rely on curl screens, pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops to create open looks. This means that New Orleans’ scoring night becomes extremely dependant of their ability to make midrange shots; which is probably the case for most NBA teams, except this one does not have a lot of very good shot-makers.
Chris Kaman is a good post up option that can help the team get quality looks at the basket, but he cannot be relied upon to carry the offense for long stretches. In addition, the Hornets cough up the ball 15.3 times per game (tied for 19th in the league), which obviously is not a good recipe for a potent offense.
Put it all together, and well the offense is rather unimpressive.
On the other side of the ball, the Hornets have a 102.4 defensive efficiency rating (18th in the NBA) and allow opponents to shoot 44.9 percent from the floor (16th in the league).
On defense, New Orleans likes to pack the paint and force teams to take tough contested shots by racing out to close out on shooters after shutting off driving lanes. Things can get complicated mind you when opponents are able to make shots from deep as it forces defenders to leave the paint area to get out to shooters. This will be particularly pertinent tonight as the Golden State Warriors have been known to get hot from 3-point range and make it rain.
The Hornets’ strategy will probably be to converge on David Lee on the interior and then force him to kick the ball out, but should his teammates convert with any regularity, it will allow the Dubs to get driving lanes to get to the basket. In addition, if the Warriors are connecting from deep, New Orleans may well allow the Florida product to operate on the low block against single coverage without giving too much help.
Also worth noting, Golden State will probably go to their zone defense at some point in the second quarter and force New Orleans to make jump shots. Should the Hornets miss with any type of consistency, it could well result in some transition opportunities for the Dubs given that NO surrenders 14 fast break points per game (19th in the association).
Expect a low scoring game where the Warriors make a few plays late to get a win.
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