The Hornets lost a relatively close game to the New York Knicks last night that saw Kristaps Porzingis explode for 29 points and 11 rebounds while the Hornets couldn't make a shot without it leaving Kemba Walker or Jeremy Lamb's hands. All things considered, the Knicks are exceeding expectations and might well be a decent team.
The Hornets' opponent tonight, however, is not so good. They've won only two of their 11 games this season, though they did win against a healthy Atlanta Hawks squad last night.
The thing is, it's not like the Nets aren't talented. Their starting lineup of Jarrett Jack, Joe Johnson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez is a bit helter-skelter, but it's solid. Still, the Nets have the ninth-worst defense in the league, which is no surprise considering the Nets' frontline consists of, well, matadors. Their offense isn't any better. The Nets currently have the second-worst offense in the league.
Is this an easy win? It depends on how you define easy, but if the Hornets show up to play tonight they should manage to come away with one.
Things to watch for
Paging Al Jefferson
Jefferson's had a rough go his last five games, where he's shot 45.6 percent from the field for 11.6 points per game. Against Brook Lopez, however, Jefferson should be able to have his way. Lopez isn't a particularly bad individual defender, but he's not quick enough to stay with a slimmer Big Al. Instead of posting up on the left block, look for Jefferson to start his moves a little further out. Lopez has the size advantage, but Jefferson can get around him with speed, quick pivots, and an assortment of fakes.
Grab an umbrella, it's raining threes
The Nets have allowed opponents to shoot 26 3-point attempts per game this season, which is tied for sixth-most in the NBA. That wouldn't be a problem if the Nets were contesting them effectively. Unfortunately, opponents shoot 37.5 percent from behind the arc against Brooklyn.
The Hornets are shooting the sixth-most 3-point attempts of any team in the league. They're shooting 35.2 percent from behind the arc.
Grab an umbrella. Seriously, go get one right now. I'll wait.
The Batum versus Johnson matchup
These two have played each other nine times before tonight, and the results have been fairly lopsided in Johnson's favour. To be fair, Johnson has rarely guarded Batum, though Batum has often been assigned to Johnson in the past.
Batum's been on fire lately aside from last night's game, and I imagine his averages of 8.4 points per game on 40.8 percent shooting against Johnson will be a thing of the past. In contrast, Johnson's averages of 19.7 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting might not be realistic for him tonight.
Both are competitors who take pride in individual matchups, so keep an eye on these two. We might see more iso ball than we're comfortable with.