Boston at New Orleans
New Orleans Arena
Boston: 104.7 points/100 possessions (13th)
New Orleans: 103.5 points/100 possessions (19th)
Boston: 97.5 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
New Orleans: 100.9 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)
Probable New Orleans starters: Christopher Emmanuel Paul (PG), Marco Stefano Belinelli (SG), Trevor Ariza (SF), David Moorer West (PF), Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi Okafor (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Hornets247
For the first time in our collective memories, the C’s are Accuscore underdogs tonight. And you know what, Accuscore? I’m not sure I blame you.
This is, needless to say, not a great matchup for the Celtics right now, especially not in a SEGABABA. They’ve lost four of six, all against worse teams than the Hornets, and they’ve been burned inside and out. Chris Paul is the last person Rajon Rondo wants to deal with on an injured whatever. Likewise, Nenad Krstic will have his undersized hands full with Emeka Okafor on the glass. Meanwhile, the last remaining C’s offensive threats (whichever one of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen has a half-decent game tonight) have the potential to be choked by Trevor Ariza and David West. Combine all this with, again, a SEGABABA, and start looking forward to some extra room on the C’s bandwagon.
Looking at it a different way, a win would be huge tonight.
WHAT THE HORNETS DO WELL
Defend almost everywhere. The one exception is at the rim, where they’re near the bottom of the league, but they manage to minimize attempts in that area because of Okafor’s presence. Credit Tavares “Monty” Williams and his excellent coaching in the aftermath of the Hornets quitting on Byron Scott last year. Monty’s also one of the increasing number of head coaches who were once under the tutelage of Doc Rivers; Doc coached Monty during their time in Orlando. Speaking of Doc and New Orleans, remember the highlight of the last Hornets game? It was this.
WHAT THE HORNETS DO POORLY
Make the right shots. The Hornets are fourth in the league at converting long twos, but 16th in three-point percentage. They can shoot, it would seem, but not where it counts. This is the result of the contributions of David West, who is Garnett-like in his tendency to hover just inside the three-point line at the elbow, and just about as deadly.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY
It’s misguided to name anyone other than Chris Paul here, because his success is inextricable from his team’s. Here’s what bugs me about the seemingly irreversible Derrick Rose MVP campaign: Derrick Rose is still not the best point guard in the NBA. Pretty much the only category in which he exceeds Chris Paul is in the number of shots he takes. Paul’s a more efficient scorer while taking barely any assisted shots, he’s a superior rebounder, and Rose can barely see Paul in the assists column, the specialty stat of their shared position. Rose is the best player on a much better team, and that’s obviously what people look for when handing out the award for the best player in the league. But Paul is the better player.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
Aaron Gray. This seems like a good time to remind people that former Celtics Hubber Zach Lowe coined my favorite NBA nickname, “The White Flag”, in reference to Aaron Gray. A nickname that underscores both a player’s role and physical appearance while using a minimum of words is deserving of recognition. Also, I have OSU over Gray’s Pitt Panthers in the NCAA final.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT
Lost in the recent failures of the starters to score or play defense has been some encouraging play from the bench, specifically Jeff Green. Would love to see him continue to fill it up. Other than that, it would be nice to see Rajon Rondo either score on or contain Chris Paul, because he couldn’t do either against Kyle Lowry. Rondo didn’t play in the last game against New Orleans, but he’s matched up pretty well against CP3 historically.
Call this a New Orleans jinx if it turns out to be wrong. NO 93, C’s 90.