Game Tips at 8:00 P.M. EST
Detroit Pistons: 7-15 (2-10 road)
New Orleans Hornets: 13-7 (8-2 home, -6.3)
The Hornets are a team in transition. Owner George Shinn is (kharmically) out, and the NBA is in. Given the Hornets' recent attendance woes, it's possible that this could be the least watched game of the NBA season.
New Orleans, however, has been winning ball games. Chris Paul is his usual, hyper-efficient self. His PER of 27.0 leads the league by a wide margin, and he is shooting 49% from the three point line. Suffices to say, Detroit's back court will have its hands full.
David West is having a nice season as well, matching his statistical output from last year, but in fewer minutes. Curiously, he is doing so in spite of a free throw shooting slump. The career 84% shooter is hitting 71% from the stripe this year.
To say the Hornets are weak on the wings would be a profound understatement. Trevor Ariza, while providing some defense, is a blank on offense, and is joined by Willie Green and Marco Belinelli. That's just brutal, and represents a compelling answer to the question of how a team with Chris Paul and David West on it can be 21st in offensive efficiency.
Keys to the Game:
Hone in on Chris Paul: Normally, I'm an advocate for playing man to man. If you give professional ballplayers the chance to beat you on wide open shots, they will oblige. But Paul both initiates and provides the shots. Teams have had some success making him give up the ball to guys that are not David West. That's how you beat this team.
Hone in on Emeka Okafor: The bench scenario re: bigs is even worse for New Orleans than the wings.
Hone in on David West: Might as well cover all the bases.
Question of the Game:
Can the Pistons keep it competitive? You can't like seeing a fourth quarter meltdown on the front end of a back-to-back.
Linky 4 Thinky: