Tonight we welcome Anthony Davis and the Pelicans to the Hive. This marks game three of a seven game home stand that ends March 16 against the Magic.
All in all, the Hornets have done a great job defending the Hive this year. If the season ended today, their 22-9 record is the best home winning percentage to end a season since the 2010 season. Tonight needs to be more of the same.
The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a close loss for the Hornets. They left the oddest named arena in the NBA in disbelief after Anthony Davis had an alley-oop in the last two seconds for the win. Also causing issues for the Hornets in that game was Ryan Anderson. Off the bench, he had 32 points on 12-of-19 from the field including 6-of-8 from three.
The second and final matchup between these two teams should have a much different feel for very obvious reasons: the two teams taking the court will be drastically different. The Pelicans will be without two starters from the first match-up, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, and without reserve Alexis Ajinca. It is also worth noting that Norris Cole is listed as questionable. On to the Hornets side of the ball, Jeremy Lamb, Big Al Jefferson, and Courtney Lee (obviously) were not able to play in the first meeting. Lamb’s toe injury forced Troy Daniels to see considerable minutes. It is worth noting that Troy Daniels had a -15 plus/minus in just 15 minutes of play. Troy Daniels will see little, if any at all, minutes with Lee and Lamb both ready to roll. Al Jefferson is also coming off arguably his best game since returning to the lineup nine games ago. Even though it seems odd for a player just 2 years removed from being named Third Team All-NBA, Al seems to be relishing his role off the bench. The Hornets are 19-9 this season with Big Al on the floor.
Last meeting, Ryan Anderson torched the Hornets. This time around, I would not count on Ryan Anderson dropping 32 points on 6-of-8 from downtown again. His season average 3-point percentage is 37.6 percent. Lower is his 3-point percentage on the road, 32.6 percent. Look for him to have a much lower impact tonight.
These are games that playoff teams win. The Pelicans are 7-23 on the road. They allow the 7th most points per game in the league and allow the fifth highest 3-point percent to opposing teams. Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum need to take full advantage of that loose perimeter defense.
This game is a must-win (kidding). Go Hornets!