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Game #21: Hornets vs. Heat 3-on-3 Preview


Miami Heat vs Charlotte Hornets

Wed Dec 9, 7:00 PM EST – SUN, FSSE

Line: MIA -1.5, O/U: 192.0

Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, NC

Recent Matchups

Ranks

  • 102.2 ORTG (13)
  • 96.0 DRTG (2)
  • 95.9 Pace (27)
  • 76.3 DRB% (17)
  • 0.541 TS% (9)

Latest Results

Ranks

  • 103.9 ORTG (7)
  • 99.3 DRTG (7)
  • 98.5 Pace (18)
  • 79.5 DRB% (3)
  • 0.538 TS% (12)

Latest Results

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network Tonight presents an opportunity for the Hornets to propel themselves to second in the Eastern Conference with a win. Yes, second. Behind only Lebron James and the Cavs. Welcome to the East of 2015-16, where seemingly thirteen of the fifteen teams are going to compete for a playoff spot.

1- Cody Zeller is averaging 14.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and shooting 52% in 25.8 minutes per in three games since starting in the place of Al Jefferson. The Hornets are also playing much faster, with a 100.7 PACE. Want some sugar on top? Charlotte has posted a Defensive Efficiency Rating of 97.1 in those three games.

Is it time for the front office to start making trade calls for Al Jefferson?

Spencer Percy (@QCHspencer): To me, the Hornets should have been making calls about Al Jefferson since last season. The way this team has played without Big Al carrying the offensive load and now with him out only moves the needle further on that.

That said, Charlotte is a better team with Jefferson on the roster. I’m not smart enough to figure out how to consistently use him when he does return, but that’s going to be one of the greatest obstacles for Clifford to overcome this season. How many minutes from Big Al give this team the best chance to win?

Greg Pietras (@Handles_Messiah): Not that they shouldn’t take or make calls, but I’m not sure the return they’d get on Al would justify letting him go.

Give more minutes to Zeller? Sure. But this team’s depth has been a strength, and giving up some of that for a low first-rounder or a deep-bench piece probably isn’t worth it. I’m fine with tapering Jefferson’s minutes as the year moves along, then letting him go in the offseason (or re-signing him to a contract and role in line with his current play). But I’d rather have Al around, just in case, than play Tyler Hansbrough big minutes if the injury bug hits.

David Norwood (@dnorwood90): I don’t think so. They’re going to need his big body in the playoffs since it’s a possibility they may have to face Whiteside, Gasol or Mozgov. If anything, just do like how Miami do with Whiteside when teams go small, bench him and go with your small lineup.

2- What’s the most important matchup in this game tonight and which player comes out on top?

Spencer: Batum vs. Wade. This one is going to be fun to watch. Batum has done a very nice job recently of depending on his passing and rebounding to impact the game the most since his shooting numbers have dipped. Miami is a really good defensive team, so Batum will likely have to rediscover his shot against Wade.

On the other end, it’s pretty simple against Wade. Guard without fouling. He’s one of the best in the league with his head-fake and draws fouls consistently with this move. Batum’s length allows him to play off of Wade a bit and bait him into contested three’s and mid-range jumpers, but let D-Wade get to the rim and Charlotte is in for a long night.

Greg: Wade and Batum. They may not be defending each other all night, but each brings an offensive versatility that makes them the hearts of their teams. Wade will likely score more, but I think Batum will have the bigger impact.

David: I’d say Batum against Wade. It seems like when Wade plays well it elevates the play of their team, take Wade out, it could make it more difficult for them to win.

3- A win tonight would propel Charlotte into the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Do the Hornets get it done and improve to 10-3 in The Hive?

Spencer: I think the result of this game is going to depend a lot on the pace. Miami will attempt to make this a half-court game, taking the Hornets out of their new run-and-gun style. When Kemba, Batum or Lamb rebound the ball they should be looking to push it.

Hornets, 95-93.

Greg: I think Charlotte has a good chance in this one. Miami’s been dominant at home and shakier on the road, with away losses to Cleveland, Indiana and Detroit. Miami’s defense has also cooled off after a scorching start — over their last ten games, Charlotte has actually posted a better defensive efficiency. If the Hornets can hit their threes and keep Hassan Whiteside from dominating the boards, I think they come out with a 98-94 win.

David: Yes, consistency is key.