In the past two games, both their defensive intensity and their shooting efficiency has dipped. Who would have thought that the absence of Cody Zeller was that important? One of the most worrisome trends over the last two games is Marvin Williams’ shooting slump. He is only hitting his field goals at a 32.5% clip right now. Marvin is the unsung hero of this team.
He is an underrated stretch 4 and his presence on the court opens many more driving lanes for Kemba, but if he is not able to capitalize on his shots, the defense will start sagging off in pick and rolls which may limit Kemba’s ability to drive.
The defeat against the Pelicans can be excused because it was a trap game. It was against a Pelican team that is playing inspired basketball with the return of Jrue Holiday. The loss to Memphis, however, was a goose egg. The Hornets trailed by as many 26 points.
To add insult to injury, Kaminsky left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury after putting up 23 points. Despite the two game losing streak, the Hornets are still the third best team in the Eastern Conference with an 8-5 record.
San Antonio keeps rolling
The San Antonio Spurs are the NBA poster child for how to run a small market team. They have continuity, great coaching, and amazing draft selections. In time, hopefully, the Hornets can imitate their strategy.
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Right now, we have a good coach in Steve Clifford and are laying down the foundations for continuity. However, we are still behind in the drafting process. Mr. San Antonio aka Tim Duncan retired last year, but the Spurs seemed poised for another successful season. The Spurs are led this year by Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge to a smaller extent.
Kawhi has fully developed into a two-way player. He is still the best perimeter defender in the game and now he is taking on a greater offensive role. This Spurs team is still fundamentally sound, but now they play more iso-ball with Kawhi as the focal point of the offense. It shows in his stat-line (24.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 3 mpg). The Spurs are 11-3 and are currently on a 6 game winning streak.
The last time these two teams played, the Hornets were led by Jeremy Lin‘s heroics (29 points). For the Hornets to get a win today, they will need for Nic Batum to tire Kawhi out. Expect these two to go head-to-head. If Nic can win this matchup and lock Kawhi up on the defensive end, then the Hornets might have just enough fire power to come out on top.