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Five Game 5 matchups: Real and imagined

Five mostly mental matchups to keep an eye on as the Hornets make their way to South Beach for (hopefully) the last time.

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Justise Winslow vs. Hornets Fans

Games 1 & 2 seemed like a perfect marriage of on-court karma and trolling anthropomorphized to the form of Heat rookie Justise Winslow. Yes, Winslow is a good rookie, and there's a decent chance he could end up a REAL good pro. But the Hornets had just come off a year in which they were an utterly atrocious shooting team (see: Bismack Biyombo, Lance Stephenson, MKG) and Clifford made it clear to the front office he wanted "size and skill."

Now, should the franchise have just rolled with the good fortune of Winslow falling to #9 in last year's draft and pounced? Maybe...arguably...probably. But within the context of a team filled with raw super-athletes, yet lacking refined offensive skill, (and having at the time a non-injured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at a similar position), it's understandable why the organization decided to pass on Justise. It hurts me to make the case for what the club did with that pick, a decision lacking in opportunism as much as it did creativity, but hell, Cho's more of a free agency / trade kind of guy anyways.

Long live the Tank.

Jeremy Lin and Kemba Walker vs. Their Bodies

Kemba played just over 40 minutes in Game 4, while Lin played just under 34. A game by the way, in which there dribble drives utterly carried the Hornets offense from the second quarter on, a category (drives) in which they rank third and fourth in the playoffs respectively:

(P.S. Check out Lin's PTS%, aka percentage of points scored per drive!)

With such a quick turnaround for Game 5, it'll be essentially impossible for them to carry this kind of offensive load without totally Harden-ing it at the other end of the floor. Full beach-esque relaxation hopefully has been in order for these two, with their co-creator Nic Batum out with a foot once again.

Young Whiteside vs. The Zebras

Hassan Whiteside would be an interesting free agent option for the Hornets this upcoming offseason if he wasn't totally insufferable. He is exactly what the Hornets (and probably every other team) need(s) in terms of skill set: a devastating rim protector while posing a legitimate offensive threat. However, similar to just about every teammate I ever had growing up, he allows the officiating to dictate his play, rendering him essentially useless, seemingly incompetent, and never lacking in petulance.

Role Players vs. The Road

Lin + Kaminsky point totals at home / on the road - 58 / 24

Richardson + Winslow point totals at home / on the road - 40 / 17

Conventional wisdom states that star power travels while role playing does not (basketball role playing, just to be clear). Given that two of the last three are in Miami, Charlotte will need someone to come up just big enough to negate this advantage, or cross all their collective appendages in hopes that the Heat's "others" simply cool their jets.

Marvin Williams vs. The Rim

The struggle is officially real. Our beloved Marv is an ice-cold 6-29 from the field this series (an actual improvement from the first two games). There were a handful of contests this year in which Marvin was the Hornets second best player, and it's a bummer to see such a likable guy kind of wilt in the spotlight. Maybe the most believable explanation is the Heat actually have the personnel (Johnson, Deng, Winslow) to match up with Williams, and the mission statement of the Miami defensive scheme thus far has been to take away the Hornets sixth-ranked 3 point shooting. The Hornets will need Marvin to take a page out of the book Michael Kidd-Gilchrist recently handed down to Courtney Lee, and effect the game through his defense, rebounding, and these: