HOW HARD COULD
Game Time Start: 7:00 PM EST
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: M. Callahan, L. Richardson, H. Workman
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, New Orleans Notes
Television: FOX Sports Indiana / FOX Sports New Orleans
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WWL 105.3 FM, WODT 1280 AM
NBA Feeds:*NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
*NBA League Pass Broadband (subscription req'd)
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Season Records: (W-L) 5-7 Home: 3-1
3-6 Away: 1-2
Upcoming Games: Nov 23 Nov 27 Nov 30 Dec 01 vs at at at 8:00pm 10:00pm 10:00pm 10:00pm
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: LOPEZ ANDERSON AMINU RIVERS VASQUEZ
Danny Granger - left knee tendinosis (out)
Anthony Davis - stress reaction left ankle (doubtful)
Eric Gordon - sore right knee (out)
Minimally Relevant Video:
Gothic Ginobili: Small Market Mondays #3: 808s and Bobcats
Buon giorno, friends! I'm in an absolutely ecstatic mood this morning, because two of
my absolute favorite NBA-related things happened this week. First, the Pacers broke
yet another record by showing those rambunctious big market Canadian rapscallions
that there actually is another facet to this wonderful game called "defense". But that
wasn't even the biggest news this week (and honestly, with the sheer number of
records the Pacers break, when is it?) -- there was also a blockbuster trade which
shocked both the championship picture and our entire beloved league to its very core!
To summarize the trade that fantasy GMs across Arkansas are still talking about in
hushed whispers, the Bobcats shipped out legendary sharpshooter Matt Carroll for
2003 NCAA champion Hakim Warrick. Yeah, I know. You've probably been completely
over-exposed to all the various in-and-outs of the Hakim Warrick/Matt Carroll trade.
Happens. But kindly lend me your ears for a second, as I've fired up ye olde Synergy
Sports machine to help you understand it even better. In case you're unfamiliar with
Synergy, it's some sort of computer-internet wizardry where you type in a player's
name and it tells you all these fantastical things about numbers and "statistics" and
liberal mumbo-jumbo like that. Now friends, I have to give you a disclaimer: math
isn't exactly my strong suit. But you're going to have to bear with me here.
The first thing that stood out to me is Warrick's career 49.4% shooting percentage --
that means if he take 10 shots then there is a very good chance that he'll make at
least 2 of them. Cowabunga! However, something else caught my eye: when taking
the opposing defender to the rack off his patented bicycle kick slide-dribble spin move,
Hakim Warrick scores a sizzling 2.7 points per possession! On the other hand, Matt
Carroll is a very respectable 38.4% three point shooter over his career. But you need
to unskew those numbers, compadres! Because that's his three pointer percentage,
you need to multiply it by 3 to get his "true" shooting percentage, which comes out to
a super rad 109.7% true shooting rate! WOW! And how can we forget about his
defense? In Matt Carroll's career as a lockdown defender, opponents who suffer from
fatal cardiomyopathy while taking a shot against Carroll have shot 0-50 against him,
and rumor has it that at least five of them tragically passed away after being faced
with Carroll's bruising defense back in his no-good hooligan high school days.
In the end, it's a style change for both teams, but one of those rare win-win
blockbusters that everyone can feel happy about. Phenomenal trade.
At the Hive: Where the Commish was Needed Badly
In what is a recurring theme in the "Gordon-less" era of the Hornets, the team couldn't
close out their opponent or complete their comeback because they lacked thet proverbial
"end of shot clock" player. We have that, in theory. Problem is, he's (hopefully) rehabbing
his busted knees in LA.
After Anthony Davis converted two and-1s on consecutive possessions (one of them an
awkward floater), the Hornets were able to creep to within two. Sadly, it was right around
this time that the Hornets needed Gordon. The offense sputtered, and the team needed
someone who could easily break down the defense create good scoring opportunities for
Vasquez wasn't going to be that guy -- he usually needs 2-3 screens just to get to the free
throw line extended. Even still, he has to time his motion so that the second screen hits
the defender exactly right to free him. Mason and Aminu certainly weren't going to be
those guys. Neither of those players has any discernible weapons in half court sets.
Ryan Anderson has shown a propensity to drive well to the rim following a shot fake after
a flash to the three point line. Sadly, this really isn't a dependable "end of the shot clock"
In all honesty, Anthony Davis was our best bet at creating a shot 1-on-1. He could take
either Udoh or Sanders on dribble drives off the high post.
What we saw however was Vasquez struggling to find space to drive. He would find a
slivervof space (trailed by a stalking Udoh) where he flipped a high arcing layup that
looked more like a pass to a wide open Anderson below than a shot attempt. Anderson
saved the day with a two handed push tip to cut the lead to 2 again. This was after Ellis
hit a 22 foot two point jumper, a win for the defense -- it's a 22 foot two point jumper,
it's early in the shot clock, Ellis was making 33% of his shots from that range for the
season and has been historically around that percentage for his career, and he was up
to that point in the game, 1-4 from that range.
Of course, Ellis went on to make another contested fade-away to the left, one footed,
swishing it right through the rim. It was as if Ellis had suddenly activated the "closer"
signature style (in NBA 2K) where his 17-23 foot shot attribute was supposed to be 70
but sky rocketed to 95.
The Hornets would only score 3 more points -- Ryan Anderson's fadeaway cut the deficit
to 2. More importantly, had Gordon been playing, we wouldn't have needed Anderson to
create his own shot after the jumper from Ellis. Gordon could have answered right back.
What can we pickup from this game?
1.) Vasquez for all his ability to run an offense and to orchestrate a fastbreak cannot
defend quick PGs. (Way to go Sherlock!). I think that was painfully obvious from the
start, but it was made more apparent in the last 2 games. Russell Westbrook and
Brandon Jennings were able to consistently get to the basket and wreak havoc.
2.) Hornets will have a hard time playing against good 3 PT shooting teams. OKC and
MIL rank highly in 3 PT% with OKC clocking in at 3rd with 41% and MIL at 13th with
36.2%. Here is a breakdown of our last 8 opponents 3PT eFG% (rank), their average
3PTA, their actual 3PTA against us and the game result.
As you can see, in all 8 games, we forced our opponents to shoot more than their
average amount of 3s. The point margin against teams that are above average in eFG?
A whopping -9.5. Against teams that are below average? +3.25. Considering the fact
that most (if not all) of the top tier teams - namely MIA, NYK, OKC, SAS, LAC, MEM and
MIL - are all above average in 3 PT eFG, then I think this is a strategy that will make us
lose a LOT of games against top tier teams, and it's pretty clear that this is not a
strategy that should be in place when we decide to be contenders.
3.) The Anderson/Davis tandem? It can work. I especially love the Vasquez/Anderson/
Davis Screen-the-Screener action late in the 4th (especially if you replace Vasquez with
Gordon). If I remember correctly, Anderson would get a down screen from Davis from
the left baseline (facing the basket) and immediately set a screen for Vasquez. This play
actually resulted in a quite a few scoring opportunities. It resulted in a good drive for
Vasquez (ending in a wide open Anderson tipping the ball), it resulted in an and-1 basket
for Davis at the baseline (after a screen), and it also ended with a 3 PT for Anderson. If
Davis can bulk up without sacrificing precious agility, speed and leaping ability, hat duo
will have more success than any other big man combination we have.
4.) Anthony Davis is more polished offensively than defensively. I'll be completely honest
- I'm underwhelmed by Davis' defensive contributions. He hasn't been the patrol man that
I expected him to be. I expected our D with AD on the court to be stifling -- defenders
track their assignments, they know where to go, and offensive players are funneled into
the waiting embrace of Anthony Davis' pterodactyl arms. Sadly, this has not been the case.
Anthony Davis has been more role player than leader on the defensive end. He's late on
rotations, he gets caugh...CONTINUE READING AT AT THE HIVE