Today on the NBA, we will see the Charlotte Bobcats travel to take on the New Orleans Hornets in an exciting contest. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on SSO-CHA (Charlotte) and Fox Sports New Orleans (New Orleans). Currently the odds for the game have the Hornets favored by 7 points, while the totals line is set at 181,5 points. Opening lines had the Hornets favored by 6,5 points, while the totals line was set at 181 points.
Game Analysis: Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers are back to the lineup and suddenly New Orleans is getting a blowout line on this game against Charlotte. I actually expect the Bobcats to be a tough matchup for the Hornets tonight. Coach Mike Dunlap has been surprising the league, especially with the aggressive way that Charlotte is now pressuring the ball handlers, including the use of full court pressure and different types of zone defense in some moments of their games. Their objective is clear: force turnovers and score easy transition points. The problem is that formula exposes a lot their defense, especially on the perimeter. If the opposing team passes the ball with a crisp ball movement, then they will get easy looks on the outside.
Indiana is struggling with their ball movement and so, they lost against the Bobcats because of that. Dallas is red hot from the outside and so, they had a big offensive game against Charlotte. Finally, on their last game against Phoenix, they were able to take advantage of the Bobcats aggressive defense as well. Charlotte had just 4 steals, while they had 10 and 13 on their first two games so immediately they would be in trouble. Phoenix dished 29 assists and they had great looks on the outside, something that allowed them to shoot 12-27 3pts. Besides that Phoenix also shot 10-22 FG from 16-23 feet! They had 1.16 PPP on spot ups and 1.14 PPP on cuts! The Suns came to this game with their lesson well learnt, while I expect the Hornets to be very far from being able to do what Phoenix did.
In fact, New Orleans is struggling badly in the half court due to lack of ball movement. Their last game against Philadelphia was a historic one, as they failed to score over 20 points in all quarters of the game, something that led to a 62 total points in a franchise low. It was a horrible offensive performance from them, as they have issues with their half court defense, as they had shown against the Bulls as well by having only 13 assists, while showing zero offensive flow. With Philadelphia shutting down the Hornets' transition game, Greivis Vasquez was pressured to commit errors and Philadelphia's great perimeter defense gave them no chances! With Jrue Holliday defending Greivis Vasquez, the Hornets showed zero offense, in one of the worst offensive games I've ever watched from a NBA team!
So, New Orleans may struggle once again tonight. Greivis Vasquez if pressured can be prone to commit turnovers, while Austin Rivers may be back, but he isn't a good ball handler. But even if the Hornets are able to rotate the ball properly, they have another problem: they are horrible from the outside, if we exclude Ryan Anderson! New Orleans shot 4-17, 5-14, 5-18 and 4-19 3pts on their first four games, on a combined of 18-68 (26%) 3pts! The Hornets have been good on offensive rebounding, but Charlotte has been efficient on this area by being #6 on the league by allowing 1.07 PPP (Points Per Possession) per game! These offensive struggles from New Orleans lead me to think that the Bobcats have a shot of making this game competitive.
Charlotte's offense relies in their guards attacking the rim with Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions and the Hornets have the slow footed Greivis Vasquez and the inexperienced rookie Austin Rivers to defend them, therefore the Bobcats will have a good offensive edge on this area. Let's remember that Charlotte isn't the same team from last season, as they are showing a lot of fighting spirit this season! As Byron Mullens stated, if the Bobcats were down 16 last season, the night was over. But they made up all 16 points to tie the game with 11 minutes left on their last game against Phoenix!
I expect this game to be a close game and so, I'll be taking Charlotte in here.
Free Pick: Take Charlotte +7 in here (Single Dime Play)