Warriors (23-15) vs Hornets(13-26)
Tip-Off: 5:00PM PST, 8:00 EST
TV: CSN Bay Area, League Pass | Radio: KNBR 680
Blog Buddy: At the Hive
Previous Meeting - Warriors 103, Hornets 96 - Box Score
Unlike the previous game, the Warriors are on a losing streak and the Hornets have been winning. The big change for New Orleans has been the return of Eric Gordon. Since his return the Hornets have a solid winning record, and he's completely changed the Hornet offense. Anthony Davis has continued to improve, and Vasquez has been extremely solid at the point for them.
Hornets are 7-3 in their last 10 games, Warriors are 5-5. Over that period Greivis Vasquez has averaged 17.1 points and 9.5 assists, while Eric Gordon has averaged 16.9 points, and Ryan Anderson 13.5. Anderson is taking almost 7 3-point attempts per game.
At 26, Vasquez is having by far the best year of his 3-year career. Of the 47 players drafted in '10-11 still in the league, the 28th pick is seventh in per-game scoring, 1st in per-game assists, 16th in steals, 16th in rebounding per game, and 8th in 3P%. In short, he's playing better this year than either John Wall or Jeremy Lin, and getting none of the recognition for it.
Keys to the Game
Perimeter Defense - Ryan Anderson can get hot from 3, and so can Xavier Henry. In both cases, the key is to play them fairly tightly, since neither is a major threat off a drive. Expect to see Kent Bazemore in to defend the perimeter at times tonight, spelling Klay Thompson.
Rebounding - Like the Dubs, New Orleans is a gang-rebounding team, albeit a less effectively. Robin Lopez is their 4th-leading rebounder (5.7rpg), after Davis (7.8), Al-Farouk Aminu (7.1), and Anderson (6.9). Keeping Aminu and Anderson off the glass may be particularly key. Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and even Bazemore could give the Warriors a real lift here.
Taking care of the ball - it's not just turnovers, it's bad early shots and letting rebounds slip through their hands, too. If the Dubs turn it over less than the Hornets, the game will probably belong to Golden State - otherwise, it's anyone's call. Particularly if Stephen Curry is out again, the PG play will be crucial to this game. Hopefully he'll play, and if not Jarrett Jack will have a game closer to last night's than to the Miami fiasco.