Posted by: Kingsguru21 | December 8, 2009

Kings at New Orleans Hornets

Since this is New Orleans, and since I put music on for the road, and since it’s New Orleans, and since it’s New Orleans, Nawlinz, what? what!

Yeah. Think how it felt to write that; whatever that is.

Chris Paul is back. We remember last time. Last time it didn’t end so well in Nawlinz, and last time was last time.

Last time had Chris Paul and Kevin Martin playing in the same game at the same times. This time Kevin Martin isn’t playing (and hopefully not wearing that god awful ugly ass coat he was wearing against Miami), and what not.

Yeah.

The Hornets play at the 16th fastest pace in the NBA (slightly below average in otherwords), have an offensive rating of 18th, and a defensive rating of 24th.

The Kings, likewise, play at the 8th fastest pace, have the 7th best offensive rating, and the 25th best defensive rating.

My belief, as fucked up as this is, is that the Kings have to show me they are a 500 team before I believe that they are. So far, they’ve taken advantage of their softish schedule, and that’s all good fine & dandy. I really believe that for a team to be a real surprise over the course of the season, they have to win a lot of games early on before other teams catch up to them. When that happens other teams notice the surprise team, and surprisingly, the surprise team wins less. If the Kings had the good fortune of having a crappy schedule early on, they might be in line to win more games. Which, in bringing this back to about the Hornets and tonight’s game, that’s exactly why I don’t think the Kings will win.

When the Hornets didn’t have Chris Paul, the Hornets needed Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison to play absolutely well. David West had to carry the Hornets offensively. Emeka Okafor had to play out of his mind. Now, with Chris Paul, the Hornets can settle back into roles, and how the Hornets perform, for better or worse, is anybody’s guess. I simply don’t know and can’t answer that. (Nor, will I attempt to.) I do think Chris Paul will always be impossible to handle because he’s, umm, Chris Paul.

The Key Matchup of the game is Spencer Hawes/Jason Thompson vs Emeka Okafor/David West. If Hawes & JT can play as well as they are capable, the Kings stand a great chance of winning. If they can’t, the Kings will likely get blown out.

Regardless of what Tyreke Evans does, this game still revolves around Spence & JT’s ability to put their stamp on the game. This is a great opportunity for both to show why the organization has so much faith in them. It’s been a bit of a rough stretch for each over the past few games against Phoenix and Miami.

So, a suggestion on watching both players. Spencer Hawes starting the season shooting 0-13 from 3-ball land. Since, he’s 7-15. That’s a bit over 46%. If Hawes was shooting 46% on the season (and he’s not I’m aware), he’d be around 11th in the NBA in 3 pt shooting. If Hawes continues to shoot a 45% clip for the reason of the season, we might see a 40% from 3 year from Hawes on perhaps 100 attempts. I’ll take that every time.

With JT, since West & Okafor are not as athletic as Miami or Phoenix, you have to put him on the move. One os his great asset’s is his non-stop energy and movement. Putting JT on the move to figure out a way to score on West one on one may be the way to help him get back on track. if the Kings can put pressure on West & Okafor (with Hawes shooting a few 3’s and with JT hitting from mid-range), this should give the G’s (particularly Tyreke and Beno) more opportunities to exploit driving lanes and finding players like Donte Greene, Andres Nocioni and Omri Casspi for shots.

My recipe for success: Get Hawes 10-15 shots with 3-5 of them coming from 3, get JT 10-15 shots from mid-range in, and get Tyreke 15-25 shots mostly on the inside where he can punish Chris Paul inside. Donte Greene and Andres Nocioni need to exploit their matchup’s inside/outside where they can and take advantage of whatever doubling Evans in particular receives. Assuming Evans passes well out of the double team’s, the Kings will get plenty of shot’s they want.

One theme that hurt the Kings badly against Miami was their lack of ball movement, and, more importantly, player movement. There was a lot of standing around (similar to when Kevin Martin was on the court), and I think some of it was youth and inexperience. I expect that.

On the other hand, you’re not going to beat New Orleans on the road by standing around and watching Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans try to beat their guys 1 on 1. The Kings simply aren’t good enough to play that way.

So, yeah. If you want Hornets perspective, Hornets 247 and At the Hive are as good bets as any out there.

Game is at 5pm PST. TV is CSNCA and Radio is 1140. Enjoy!

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