Friday, October 29, 2010

Regular Season Game 2: Hosting the Hornets

Ever since they took us to 7 games in the 2008 Western Conference Semi-Finals, the Hornets have kind of been in a downward spiral...  That being said, there's not a night we can really afford to take off, especially since we're looking for homecourt advantage this year.

PG Tony Parker Chris Paul
SG Manu Ginobili Marco Belinelli
SF Richard Jefferson Trevor Ariza
PF DeJuan Blair David West
C Tim Duncan Emeka Okafor
Bench George Hill Jerryd Bayless

Gary Neal Marcus Thornton

James Anderson Willie Green

Bobby Simmons Jason Smith

Antonio McDyess D.J. Mbenga

Well, we know that Bonner is out for 10-14 days, and with Splitter still sidelined until Monday, this means we have to run small, which works out okay since West and Okafor isn't exactly the biggest frontline you'll run into.  It'll be interesting to see how Blair fares against this kind of front line.  I don't relish having to play small ball with Bobby Simmons manning the 4 in the reserve squad, so I expect Blair to get a lot more burn, and McDyess ultimately to get the brunt of the minutes freed up by Bonner.  While McDyess doesn't have the floor stretching capabilities of Bonner, he's been hitting those midrange jumpers at a fair clip, so I'm not too concerned except with trying to contain the Hornets' guards.  Paul, Thornton, and Bayless are all fairly good at penetrating the defense, with how Collison worked us over last time, we really need to tighten up on denying penetration by the Hornets' backcourt.

Essentially this comes back to a duel once again between Parker and Paul, but the big difference is that I think Tony has a lot more help than CP3 does.  That being said, we cannot dismiss shooters like Belinelli, Green, and Peja, while shots may not have been falling, we can't give them open threes.  Since Timmeh is our only real shot-blocker, the defense needs to tighten up a little.  I expect Blair to continue to play aggressively, hopefully forcing the opposing frontcourt into foul trouble.  While Okafor didn't take a single shot in his first game of the season, I don't expect that trend to continue, and he is a decent back-to-the-basket threat.  I don't know that he'll have his way like Roy Hibbert did, he'll still be a force to be reckoned with.  While I don't necessarily consider Okafor a go-to option, and I didn't watch the game against Milwaukee game, I'm a little confused as to why they don't go to him more.  Then again, I haven't watched enough of Okafor to say otherwise.  David West naturally will be something of a handful, so it will be interesting to see how Blair matches with a more versatile PF this season as opposed to an athletic energy guy like Josh McRoberts.

I get the hunch that Ariza will be put on Manu, but either way, whoever ends up having the off-guard (be it Belinelli or Thornton or Green) needs to really attack the basket.  Word is that Monty Williams is starting Belinelli because his defense is supposedly better than Marcus Thornton's which is saying a lot about Thornton, because Belinelli's defense is pretty atrocious.  So, I'm guessing it's going to be RJ and Anderson who will have those players on them, which means, attack, attack, attack.  While with CP3 anything is possible, this is another game we theoretically should win.  Of course, the question then potentially comes down to playing the Big 3 extended minutes or going for the kill.  I hope it doesn't come to that, but again, CP3 is just that good.  Without major shotblocking/altering on defense, the perimeter players are going to have to go at it much more aggressively.

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