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Bobcats @ Hornets preview: 3-on-3 style

Who: New Orleans Hornets vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Hornets Home Game

When: 8:00 PM ET

Where: Live at New Orleans Arena

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
New Orleans 21-45 99.1 (28) 103.2 (16) 89.9 (30)
Charlotte 7-59 93.8 (30) 108.9 (30) 92.4 (19)

Previous Meetings:
20120312 – 73-71 Charlotte –Boxscore

20120416 – 75-67 New Orleans- Boxscore

New Orleans: Eric Gordon (OUT); Anthony Davis (QUESTIONABLE); Austin Rivers (QUESTIONABLE)
Charlotte: Gerald Henderson (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Hornets Bobcats
PG Grevis Vasquez Kemba Walker
SG Xavier Henry Ramon Sessions
SF Al-Farouq Aminu Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Anthony Davis Byron Mullens
C Robin Lopez Brendan Haywood
6th Man Ryan Anderson Ben Gordon

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network1- STATS: Bobcats are ranked 4th in PACE (97); Hornets rank 28th (92). Bobcats are top-10 in offensive efficiency (102); Hornets are 27th (91). Bobcats are 29th is defensive efficiency (112); Hornets lead the league (91). Some distinct differences in style between these two teams, but which category is the most important of the three listed above for tonight’s game?

Spencer: Defensive efficiency. Safe to say that New Orleans will make it difficult for Charlotte to play at the pace they like to, unless, of course, the Bobcats are able to cause numerous turnovers in the half court. So, actually turnovers should depict the tempo of the game and swing the advantage on way or the other.

Joe Gerrity (Hornets247.com): Offensive efficiency. The Hornets struggled hard on Wednesday to put the ball in the basket against a pretty good 76ers defense, but it was more the lack of offense than a testament to the defensive ability of Philadelphia.  Tonight we’ll see whether or not the Hornets are capable of making easy shots and converting opportunities into buckets. If they can’t, it will be a long night for New Orleans fans regardless of how good the Bees are on defense.

Brett: Defensive efficiency, just because of the massive disparity between the two teams.  If the Bobcats can improve their standing with a matchup against the Hornets’ struggling offense, it would certainly help, as the teams continues to struggle to score consistently.

2- INJURIES: Bobcats will be without their starting SG Gerald Henderson and the Hornets enter tonight without their most dynamic scorer, Eric Gordon, out, number one pick Anthony Davis questionable and other lottery pick Austin Rivers questionable. Assuming that New Orleans is without at least two of their three injured players, which team has more of a hill to climb to make up for the losses tonight?

Spencer: Hornets. We’re talking about a team that’s already struggling badly on the offensive end and without Gordon and either Davis or Rivers, that’s taking away another very large scoring punch for this team. This is assuming Hornets are missing one of those two rookies, of course.

Joe: Well, the Hornets will have both Rivers and Davis back, and they’ve yet to actually play Gordon this year, so it’s looking like Charlotte has more of a hill to climb. That said, neither Rivers nor Davis really provide a go-to offensive option like Gordon. Until he’s back in the lineup the Hornets will struggle to put points on the board.

Brett: There’s a big difference in the impact of who the missing second player would be:  Anthony Davis is already an impact player, and Austin Rivers is an undersized combo-guard who needs to work on his game and his physique…But with their starting two guard already out, the Hornets have more to overcome with injuries.

3- PICK IT: Last season’s tilt between these two teams in New Orleans ended with Biyombo meeting Al-Farouq Aminu at the rim with an amazing block to seal the win for Charlotte. These two rosters look very different now, though. Who wins tonight and why?

Spencer: Hornets. I’m afraid that New Orleans is going to make it very difficult for Charlotte to play fast and get easy buckets and the Bobcats will make NOLA look far more superior than they actually are on the offensive end.

Joe: The Hornets are going to come out looking to prove to the hometown crowd that last game was a fluke, and the return of Davis and Gordon should give them just enough of a mental boost to come away with a victory.

Brett: I’m going with the Hornets, though if Rivers doesn’t play, I’m not sure what shooting guard to expect to bury the Bobcats with 3s.  Oh, right – Ryan Anderson can handle that.  Let’s see which 3-point shooting big man has the bigger night – Anderson or Mullens.  If Mullens holds his own, that will be a big step.